Alumni Spotlight – Meet Steve Prescott
We’re very proud of our alumni at Carrington College California Online. We’ll be using ‘The Connection’ to introduce you to a few of them from time to time, allowing them to share their stories and hopefully inspire you with their success.
Steve Prescott graduated from our Health Information Technology (HIT) degree program in early April of this year, having started the program on July 4th, 2010. What a great date to begin a new phase of life!
Steve spent 20 years as a truck driver taking big rigs all across the great state of California before he decided to move his life and career in a new direction.
“I couldn’t do the trucking anymore, I have some disabilities that prevent me from doing it, so I decided to make a career change. Since I was a little boy I’ve always been fascinated with medicine; my dad always used to say I was either talking about medicine and doctors, or pointing at big rigs! He could see what I was going to go for as I got older, and he was dead on! It’s kind of funny.”
Steve considers himself to be pretty good with figures and he enjoys mathematics. He thought his fascination with the medical field combined with those skills and interests would make the HIT program a good fit for him. Health information technology professionals take responsibility for organizing and maintaining accurate patient medical records, so it was a great choice for a detail-oriented individual like Steve who was looking for a medical career that doesn’t require working with bed pans!
“The course fit with what I like; you know doing paperwork, billing, coding, keeping track of stuff – it was right up my alley. I like working with facts and figures, so it was a perfect fit for me.”
Before starting his Carrington College California Online program, Steve had signed up with another college to study computer technology. However that course wasn’t working out for him, so he made another bold decision to make a change.
“I couldn’t grasp what they were trying to teach me; and some of the classes that went along with the course were ridiculous! In my opinion they had nothing to do with what I wanted to learn – religious classes and things like that. It was very frustrating so I looked at other options.”
Steve had seen some Carrington advertising on TV, so we were one of several colleges that he called when he decided to switch his studies.
“I live in Oakdale, CA, and I liked the fact that Carrington had some local campuses, even though I was going to do an online degree. So they were one of the schools I decided to contact, and they called me back first. I figured first come first served! I told the Enrollment Services Rep, a lady named Raven, that I liked working with facts and figures, and asked what course would suit me best? She immediately said HIT. It was a good fit from that point, and we went from there.”
Steve decided that an online program would suit him best because it’s quieter at home and he thought he would work better without the distractions that can come in a classroom.
“I felt it would be easier to communicate online, and I knew I could go over something again and again if I needed to because it’s right there on my computer. I thought that would be easier for me, and it was.”
The experience of studying online was pretty much what Steve expected it to be; the communication with instructors and other students took a little getting used to, but in the end he came to enjoy it.
“The discussion threads were pretty cool, I enjoyed that. I learned quite a bit from other students too, just from the different experiences they had. The majority of the instructors were quick in coming back to me, and very thorough. Sometimes I had to be pointed in another direction for specific questions, but I had an Academic Advisor I could access too. I had a few issues from time to time, but nothing serious, and I never had a question that went unanswered.”
Having spent 20 months as an online student Steve would recommend online degree programs to students who like their peace and quiet, people who are happy to just put themselves in a room with a computer. But you do need to have your own drive, determination, and self-control to stay on track.
“Online is the best way to go if you like working in a quiet environment. If you’re more into people, and the stimulus of learning around others, then I would suggest that you’d be better off in a classroom. It very much depends on the individual.
I’ve always felt, being a little older, that I had an advantage doing things on my own, at my own pace. I’m really a stickler for getting things done on time; I never missed any deadlines, the work was always done. Online was a great environment for me.”
The most valuable thing that Steve learned about himself while studying a degree with Carrington College California Online was the need for patience. He admits that there were a few times where he thought – ‘why am I doing this?’
“Having the patience to learn something new was important; as well as the realization that you can’t just absorb something in a couple of days, it’s going to take time. I still revisit my school work to try to re-absorb it. I discovered that I needed to have the patience to let it all come to me to gain a better understanding of it.
I sometimes get migraines, and there were a few times when I questioned what I was doing and considered throwing in the towel, but I would speak with my mom and she would motivate me and get me back into it. Having a support network is important.”
Steve appears to be happy with the direction his life is now taking after 20 years as a truck driver. He has ticked off 2 of the 3 careers that interested him when he was younger, and he’s also working on the 3rd, albeit as a hobby rather than a career choice…
“I’ve been fascinated by 3 things in life – big rigs, medicine, and flying big jet aircraft! I’ve driven trucks, I will soon be working in the healthcare field, and I have flight simulation as a hobby! I’ve got a set-up upstairs in a bedroom that looks like an aircraft cockpit – it’s a fun hobby to have, and it relieves stress!”
Steve’s plan is to continue his education with an online bachelor’s degree in Health Care Management at DeVry University, a 20 month program he aims to start in July. Once he gets certified by the State of California, Steve hopes to get out and start looking for work to gain some experience in the field while he pursues his bachelor’s.
“I’m open to where I work, I’ve no pre-conceived ideas of whether it’ll be a hospital or a billing company. I’ll go with what I find. I know I’ll have to start at the ground level, but I’ll see what’s available locally in Stockton or Modesto once I get going on the bachelor’s. Hopefully somebody will give me an opportunity!”
Thanks for your time Steve, good luck with your continuing education and your future career. And keep landing those jets in your simulator – you never know when that may come in handy on a real flight!
For comprehensive consumer information on our online Health Information Technology program, please visit carrington.edu/online/health-information-technology-degree/
Program availability varies by location.