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Carrington College Blog

Alumni Spotlight: Amanda Garcia

September 21, 2016
Amanda at Graduation

Amanda Garcia always wanted to work in health care but life kind of got in the way for a while. Last year, the single mom decided to make a change.

Amanda put a variety of restaurant industry customer service jobs behind her and followed her dream. On July 15, 2016, Amanda walked the stage as a graduate of Carrington College’s Medical Assisting program [1].

“I’d been in the restaurant industry since I was 15½, but I’d always wanted to work in health care. I used to help my grandma a lot when she was sick. I was also injured in a really bad car accident, so I spent a lot of time in the hospital. I saw what health care professionals did for people; I wanted a profession where I could help people too.”

Time For Change

Amanda with her daughter Ariana

Amanda admits that she liked to hang out with her friends and she’s always been a very social person, but at 26, she realized that it was time to change her focus. She wanted to make her daughter Ariana, her work and school the priority. She says knew it was time to grow up. She needed a career[2], not just a job.

“As a single mom I wanted to make sure that I could get to a position where I could give my daughter what she deserves. I also wanted a career that I’d enjoy. I used to dread going into work every single day. It was not something I wanted to do any more…and now I love what I do! I love being able to help other people – that’s my joy! I love that!”

Better Communication

Amanda learned a lot at school, but she said the most interesting thing was learning how to communicate professionally. She learned how she should communicate with physicians, patients and colleagues about things she needed to be familiar with in the field, not just medical terminology and procedures.

“It was challenging, it was different, but it really prepared me and I enjoy learning new things. They teach you how to be professional. We all think we’re professional, I thought I was a great communicator after years in customer service, but I wasn’t as good as I thought I was.”

Amanda learned that she’s able to adapt to different people and situations quickly. She says the medical assisting training drew out her personality, making her comfortable with her co-workers and bosses. Being able to communicate how she feels clearly, in a professional way, was very important for her. Going back to school helped her highlight a personal weakness and strengthen it.

“I did really well in school, but I wish I’d had more time to go into more detail. To be able to delve deeper in certain areas. If I could change anything I’d like to have studied more, done more reading, but it’s hard as a single mom.”

Amanda with Graduating Classmates

Do Your Research – Read Up

When Amanda started the program at Carrington, there were no real surprises. She said her Enrollment Services Representative did a great job of telling her what to expect – the workload, the pace of the program and more. But she has some good advice if you’re considering going back to school for a career in health care.

“I wish that I’d read up more on the medical field before starting the program. Fortunately it was a good fit for me, I love what I do now, but it doesn’t fit everyone. You have to know what to expect in the job, so do your research and make sure your personality is a good fit for health care before you enroll. 

Anyone can go to school, anyone can learn, but you have to make sure this is what you want to do with your life. Are you good with people? Can you handle the rude, the grumpy? Because you’ll see those as well as the nice, grateful people. If becoming a medical assistant is what you want, go at it full-force; don’t give up on it.”

Straight To Work

Amanda with Blue and Goldie

Amanda finished her externship at a cosmetic surgery office in early May and started work shortly after at Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Burlingame, CA. Andrea, her Career Services Advisor at Carrington College’s San Jose campus, told Amanda about the role.

A few days after her externship Amanda went to see Andrea; they spent two and a half hours going through the application process. Within a week Amanda got invited for an interview and she was hired on the spot! Amanda went through a month long training program before starting full-time in June. She is currently working in a specialty area – general and vascular surgery – and says that she has found a special interest in wound patients.

“I’m working with bariatric patients, with patients who have poor circulation in their legs, with wound care. I’m working with people of all ages which is nice. You see some crazy stuff in the wound department, let me tell you. It’s actually really awesome to see things like that. You’d never think you could see a wound so big on somebody’s head!”

Strong Support

Amanda and Ariana live in Hayward, CA, with Amanda’s fiancé, Angel. It’s only 20 miles from work, but the commute is about an hour each way. Amanda knows how lucky she is to have so much support from Angel and her parents.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to stay with my parents and not work during the day; I could concentrate on Ariana, and go to school at night with my mom watching my daughter. I couldn’t have done the morning class, so I was pleased that Carrington offered the night classes – honestly that was what sold me.”

The Garcia Family

Plans For The Future

Amanda has a solid career plan and she’s already thinking about what’s next! She sees medical assisting as a stepping stone to help her progress; by the time she’s 30, she wants to be a registered nurse [3].

“When you’re new to the field, you really don’t know what you’re getting yourself in to. Knowing the terminology, getting familiar with the procedures, handling patients…being a medical assistant is such an amazing opportunity to learn, and watch what your colleagues do. You can see whether you want to progress to be a licensed vocational nurse, or a registered nurse, or a nurse practitioner. When I turn 30 I want to be a registered nurse for sure.”

Amanda knows that means a return to school, and that’s something she’s comfortable with.

“I would definitely go back to Carrington. It was an amazing opportunity – they all know what they’re doing there. I totally loved all my instructors, they were so helpful, very knowledgeable, just amazing. I still keep in touch with some of them.”

Now she’s super busy with a full-time job, a two hour commute, a fiancé, and a four year old daughter…but what would Amanda do if she got an unexpected afternoon off?

“Definitely go get a pedicure! I mean it’s hard being a full-time mom, a full-time employee, and a full-time girlfriend/fiancé – I have no time for myself! So I’d definitely try to enjoy a little “me time” for a few hours, even though I’d probably end up just running errands!”


[1] For comprehensive consumer information, visit

[2] Individuals seeking to enter this career field may be subject to screenings such as, but not limited to, criminal background checks and drug/alcohol testing prior to externship, to attain occupational licensure/certification or employment, and throughout their careers.

[3] Individuals seeking to enter this career field may be subject to screenings such as, but not limited to, criminal background checks and drug/alcohol testing prior to externship, to attain occupational licensure/certification or employment, and throughout their careers.