My Career Step: Allison Toedebusch

Allison's goals

  • Train for a new career in healthcare
  • Be able to set her own training pace and goals
  • Find flexible training that she could do around her full-time job

Benefits of her Career Step education

  • With online access and printed textbooks she could study on her schedule
  • Prepared to earn her CMAA credential immediately upon graduation
  • She was able to finish and get a new job in just 3 months

A New Direction

I was working full-time, but I just wasn’t happy in my career. My position had never been something I was interested in—it was just a job to pay the bills. I wanted something new, and I had always been interested in healthcare, I just didn’t want to work with blood. I began looking into various healthcare careers, specifically for a training option that would prepare me for a medical career and offered the flexibility I would need to back to school around my full-time job.

When I began looking for online job training programs, I originally considered medical billing and coding because of its importance in the medical field today. But, once I found Career Step, I was drawn to the Medical Administrative Assisting program because I felt it had more broadly applicable skills. It combined many of the lessons in billing and coding with useful skills in administration. After a little research, I also found that jobs for medical administrative assistants were more numerous than those for medical coders and billers in my area.

I finally decided to train with Career Step because of the school’s commitment to providing quick, flexible, and industry-approved programs. Since Career Step’s other programs are AHIMA and AHDI approved, I knew that they were committed to industry standards. Moreover, the Medical Administrative Assisting program was going to prepare me for national certification.

A Quick Study Path

I enrolled with Career Step at the end of December. I originally planned on finishing in about 5 months, but even though I was working full-time and traveling a lot while completing the course I graduated in just over 3 months. The online, self-paced training let me set my own goals and the courses were interesting, so I was more focused and excited to be studying.

Before enrolling in the Medical Administrative Assistant program, I had just graduated from a university, so I was not interested in going back to a strictly scheduled routine. Because I could make my own goals with Career Step—studying so much a day or finishing a module by a certain time—I did not feel pressured like some classes make you feel. I also had the flexibility to take a little more time on the lessons I needed to work on more or be a bit quicker on the ones I found easier to understand. I felt that setting my own goals was also a great way of preparing me for a job; in the real world, assignments are not always due at a certain time. You have to motivate yourself if you want to succeed, and Career Step helped me develop and refine that skill.

While some lessons were grueling (medical terminology especially), I was happy that I wanted to know these terms. They are an integral part of the medical field, and I knew that they were crucial to my preparation for the workforce. Career Step also made it easier to study by providing the printed books in addition to the online access to the curriculum, which allowed me to work on my lessons even when I was traveling and didn’t have internet access.

A New Career within Weeks

I graduated at the end of March. Within a week of learning my final test score, I earned the CMAA (Certified Medical Administrative Assistant) certification from the National Healthcareer Association. The Career Step final exam was a great indicator of how I would do on the CMAA exam, and the course covered all of the topics on the certification exam and went beyond to give a more thorough knowledge of the industry. With the CMAA credential on my resume, it was easy for employers to recognize my knowledge of the field and my willingness to learn.

As soon as I passed the CMAA exam, I started searching for a job. I applied for many different positions, keeping my search broad. I applied to hospitals, doctors’ offices, dental offices, therapy groups, and medical services for various positions, such as medical secretary, administrative assistant, patient access representative, scheduler, etc. I was really interested in billing after the Medical Office Management and Practice Finances modules, so I kept my fingers crossed that I would find something in that area. In the first week, I had three interviews and a job offer! I was hired about a week after graduating. I hadn’t even received my certificate yet!

I’m now working as a billing clerk, and although the name is not the same as a medical administrative assistant, the program was still useful. I use customer service, telephone skills, medical software, accounts payable and receivable skills as well as medical abbreviations and terminology every day. Before taking the Career Step course, I did not know much about insurance, reimbursement, or healthcare documentation, and now I’m working hard in these fields. If you have the motivation and determination to succeed, Career Step is an excellent choice! It provides a fast, flexible, and interesting gateway into the healthcare field.