Voices from our Medical Assistant Program’s Students

After researching medical assistant schools, Valerie Hopkins found Harris’s externship program to be the deciding factor

Below are excerpts from a letter written by Valerie Harris, a Professional Medical Assistant student at the Voorhees campus of Harris School of Business

“I am one voice of several hundred voices of middle aged women who are facing similar circumstances and realities as mine, due to the effects of our economy. I have decided to take a step into the unknown, a “career change.” My story, or shall I say a new chapter in my life, was terrifying as I had not been in a classroom setting for more than 15 years. I have always been a hard worker and would take on new challenges with no fear, but this “career change” seemed to pose a serious challenge for me.

“Before finding Harris’s medical assistant program, I have had the opportunity of owning my own business, working for executives, and have been blessed to work at one of the top financial marketing companies in the world, so a career change should not be so difficult, but it was.

“I had to let go of the ‘what I used to do’ mentality and switch to a totally new thought process: I started thinking about something that was familiar—compassion—and something that came naturally to me—helping people. However, where did this role fit? I have had this role for years as I care for an elderly parent, and I had provided customer service to clients at my previous employer. The combination of the two is a great fit with medical assistance. I thought that looking at medical assistant schools would be perfect. So what was there to fear?

“To get started, I decided to do research about accredited medical assistant programs in the South Jersey area. One day while at Virtua Career Center I saw a pamphlet for Harris School of Business. I called, and came in for a tour and was impressed by the curriculum, open window environment, student ratio, professional appearance, and cleanliness of the school. The deciding factor for me was the excellent externship program they offer. I’ll never forget Mr. Santos of Career Services who delivered a greeting on the first day of orientation that simply spelled: Professional. I was impressed with his no nonsense approach. Also, it was encouraging to see that the school has a newsletter to showcase their students’ achievements and provide the success stories of their graduates.”

Medical Assistant Programs: Curriculum, Resume Writing, Externships

“The curriculum at Harris School of Business prepares the students for that ‘career change.’ After completing a session on resume writing and interviewing skills, the mock interviews with career services encouraged me, and it was gratifying to know that I had passed the first interview successfully: You’re hired! I look forward to receiving my professional title that I am working so hard to accomplish and feel so passionate about. I am excited to say I plan to graduate and pursue a position as a Professional Medical Assistant Plus in the medical community. My desire is to work within a hospital setting which offers career opportunities. PMA’s are versatile assets. Our roles can vary from clinical to administrative.

“I still have some challenging days ahead, and get anxious prior to taking a test. If you feel anxious, find yourself a good support group to overcome these fears. I talk about school to almost everyone I know! They support me even if I did not score well and give me that encouragement I desperately need; I will do better the next time. They say, ‘fine tune your study habits’ which also reminds me that Harris offers free tutoring.

“So after looking at medical assistant programs and discovering the program at the Harris School of Business, I say Como te llamas…What is your name? This is my story. What’s yours?”