My Career Step: Erika Gomm

Erika's goals

  • Help meet her family’s financial needs
  • Stay home with her children
  • Find a career she could enjoy

Benefits of her Career Step education

  • Real-world experience that prepared her for the workplace
  • The support she needed to get through the course and find a job
  • Gaining a new job that she loves and feels was completely worth the time and effort

Finding Career Step

Early in 2009, I didn’t even know what medical transcription was. I honestly had no idea doctors talked into a recorder about their patients and someone needed to type these into reports. And then, in September, my husband, Nate, lost his second job due to the economy. I was at home with our three small children and losing an income hurt—a lot. I can’t even tell you how stressed we were. We thought about selling/renting our house, Nate taking on some other job, me working at Walmart—there was no way we could even just “get by” without a second income. We had to do SOMETHING.

I worried about it every night. While it was obvious we needed more money—as we really didn’t want to move (or starve)—the thought of having someone watch the kids while I worked or working nights and never seeing Nate depressed me. And Nate had been spread so thin when he did have both jobs; I just thought there had to be another way. So I looked on the internet for “jobs from home” and other ways to make “fast money.” The things out there are kind of a joke and ended up being either scams or just not reliable/worth it. I considered selling stuff too, but I knew I would hate it and be horrible at it.

Then I remembered hearing about a girl in my neighborhood who worked from home. I asked her about what she did, and she told me all about Career Step and how much she loved being a medical transcriptionist. After that, I kept thinking, “I like medical stuff . I am a super fast typist. I am great at English. And this is a legitimate career, FROM HOME—something I could always fall back on.” One night I couldn’t sleep, so I went to the Career Step website and read all about it, and it made me so excited. Between the website itself and my friend’s referral, I didn’t look at other schools at all. I read all about it, felt good about it, and signed up! This was October 2009.

Completing the Course

My original plan was to finish in four months, but with three little kids at home and one on the way, I could not spend eight hours a day on school. However, I took advantage of every naptime and worked almost every afternoon while my kids slept. I worked a lot of nights too. My house got messier for sure, the kids watched more TV, but we needed the money, so I was motivated.

It took me just under two months to do the objective portion, and I was like “Wahoo! I’m half-way done!!” Looking back, it’s funny that I thought I was halfway—the transcription part took me another five months to complete. I really enjoyed transcribing, but I had to remind myself to take the new things I learned from each report and just move on. In the beginning, I tried to be perfect and get 100% on every quiz, test, and report, but as I went on, I let my gradebook get more and more average.

I never had to contact Career Step support. The way I got my questions answered was through the forums. I LOVE the forums. I couldn’t have gotten through the course without them. At one point, I got really scared, thinking “Can I really do this?! Will I really be able to find a job? Will this be worth it?” I began doubting myself and the whole undertaking. That’s when I started reading the forums. I wanted to know if I was the only one feeling scared and frustrated and stupid—especially when it came to grammar! Reading the forums was so encouraging, and it made me realize that at some point everyone feels the way I did! It changed my whole attitude. I never posted on the forums myself, but the people who did will never realize how grateful I am to them for helping me through the course. I researched pretty much every question I had on the forum, and it was awesome to see what real people were saying about their jobs.

I was so nervous for the final exam, but I just followed the advice people gave in the forums. I made sure I double-checked every objective question—I was not about to lose a point over something I could easily verify—and scored 99% on that part. The transcription part was stressful! I submitted it with about ten minutes to spare and ended up getting 94% on that part—good enough for honors, and oh so close to high honors! But it was good enough for me!

Finding a Job

I went straight from the relief of passing the final to the stress of finding a job. I read everything Career Step had to offer about finding a job. I read through everything on Placement Direct (Career Step’s job search resource), and it really helped in writing a resume, preparing for interviews, knowing what to ask, and knowing where to look. I had read complaints from people saying Career Step doesn’t help you get a job. Well, I wasn’t expecting Career Step to hand me a job on a silver platter! To me, it was common sense that I had to do the work. But I wholeheartedly think Career Step provides valuable information and does all they can without actually placing you in a position! Just to have a list of employers was awesome. And the forums had tons of links to job openings as many students network with each other to find jobs.

When I graduated, I had four job offers within a few days. One of the first was from a local transcription company that a friend of mine worked at and had emailed me about. It sounded great, but I wasn’t yet sure what I wanted out of a job, so I kept applying to different companies. Three of the companies I applied with required applicants to take a test—and I passed all three! That was a testament to me that I really did know what I was doing! I had only been job searching for a few weeks when I decided to take the job at my friend’s company. Just a few days after officially starting my new job last July (I graduated in May 2010), I had my fourth baby! It was really difficult to train for the job while taking care of a newborn, but I managed. I eased into the real job pretty well as the reports were exactly what I expected from what I learned at Career Step. In fact, my job seems a lot easier than the course! Now that I know what I’m doing and am pretty speedy, all I can say looking back is WOW. I did it. And I LOVE my job! And it was completely worth it.