She enjoyed that program so much she’s now working on an associate degree in the same subject at Carrington College California Online, hoping to graduate later this summer.
Kitty had considered continuing her education, researching different colleges on and off, for about 8 years before she finally committed to the HCA program in December 2010.
“I had been a certified Home Health Assistant and a certified Nursing Assistant for 20 years, but I got laid off in August 2010. It was time a for a career change; I’ll be 53 in August and I’m not getting any younger, so I figured it was as good a time as any to go back to school.
I felt that I wasn’t getting anywhere doing home healthcare and working in skilled nursing facilities. It was a dead end job and the pay was bad.”
The opportunity to make a change in her life was too good for Kitty to pass up, as she hadn’t really been happy in her job for a while. In a funny way, getting laid off was just what she needed to convince her to take that positive step forward.
“I came across Carrington online, so I completed the inquiry form and Cora, an Enrollment Services Representative, came back to me. She represented the school well, and I was quite impressed. I also inquired with another school, but their advisor just rubbed me the wrong way and put me off.”
Once she had made her decision, Kitty spoke with a number of people who were amazed, even shocked, by her decision to go back to school at the age of 50+.
“For me age is not a factor; it’s about perseverance and your determination to better yourself – If I can do it, anybody can. I wanted to get into an area in the medical field where I would be appreciated for my work, where I might get a pay rise or a bonus once in a while, where I could better myself.”
As an online student Kitty sometimes misses the classroom environment, but she admits that it’s nice to have a change of pace. She does go back to the Citrus Heights campus from time to time to take advantage of their resources; a benefit of being a Carrington Online student who lives near a campus.
“I pretty much work at home most of the time, but I do go to the Tutoring Center at the campus if I need a little face-face help. I do like working independently, keeping my own schedule, but just like the campus program, you have to get your assignments in on time. It’s just a different way of working.”
Something that Kitty finds to be consistent in both her online and offline Carrington experience is how caring the instructors are.
“They don’t treat you like a statistic, they treat you like a human being; they let you know that they really care about your future success. If you get a little off track they’ll give you a pep talk and remind you that they’re there for you.
I had one instructor at Citrus Heights, her name was Kath Tobin; occasionally she’d say we should call her ‘Mrs. T’. She would say ‘the T stands for Tough Love.’ She gave us a lot of tough love, but she was adamant that we succeed.”
Kitty has yet to find a job, although at the time of writing she has a couple of interviews lined up. She is hopeful that she’ll find a position related to Health Care Administration to help her build her experience while she finishes her studies.
She’d eventually like to find a role that will take her back to the San Francisco Bay Area. Kitty was born and raised in San Mateo County, before moving to Idaho after her junior year in high school. She stayed in Idaho for 17 years before she moved back to the Bay Area in 1993, moving up to Sacramento in 2000.
“I’m looking for jobs in the Bay Area as well as here in Sacramento; I’d like to build up some money to be able to move back down there. I wouldn’t mind working in a sports therapy clinic, as I’ve worked with physical therapists and occupational therapists before, but I can’t afford to be too picky at the moment.”
From our conversation, I got the impression that Kitty would love to work for the San Francisco Giants, as she does seem to enjoy sports.
“I wouldn’t mind doing that; my dad would absolutely love it! My dad still lives up in Idaho; he got mad a few years back when he discovered I was sat a couple of rows behind the Giants dug-out at Candlestick Park for a sold-out Giants – Dodgers rivalry game. He had to watch on ESPN! He’d love it if I worked for them!”
Having been a student at a Carrington campus and online, we asked Kitty what advice she would give to new students just starting out.
“Carrington College California has been wonderful for me; so much so that I’ve just helped my neighbor get into the Massage Therapy certificate program at the Sacramento campus. I called up Cora, my advisor, and she helped my neighbor get into that program. I was really happy to be able to help her follow her dream.
I told her that the courses are really fun; the instructors care and are willing to help. They really go out of their way and want to see you succeed. But you have to apply yourself; you have to get into the courses to get the most out of them. You need to share your thoughts, insights and stories with your instructors and other students, so you can learn things that might not be in the books.”
Thank you for your time Kitty. Good luck with the remainder of your program, and good luck with those Giants!
For comprehensive consumer information on our online Health Care Administration program, please visit carrington.edu/online/health-care-administration-degree/