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How the Medical Assistant Program Changed My Life



By Jorge Guzman, Placement Coordinator

Completing high school and entering the real world, what to do?   Everyone has an important decision as to what the next step should be. College? Military? Career school? Manual labor job?  You can either act on making a decision or not.  If you make the wrong choice, you end up with no change.  So many questions plague you, if you do decide to act?   Will I leave school in debt? Will I succeed? Will I just try to get a job?  But, will I need experience to be hired, but no one will hire me.   What if I fail? What IF is the biggest question and the biggest factor that cripples our own success.

My story.  I was working a full-time job at a fast-food restaurant, wanting and needing a change for my life. I worked there for 5 years 40 hours a week and was paid $12 an hour. The money wasn’t great, and people could be unappreciative,  The labor was dreadful, and I felt like a failure.

Going to work early in the morning, I would often see people in traffic traveling and going to bigger and better places, while I remained in one spot. One day, wondering what my next step should be to change my life, I decided that I had to do something different.

I remembered that when I was a child, I wanted to be someone who could save people.  I wanted to be the one who knew how to handle an emergency.   Because of that, when I was in high school. I had taken a medical assistant program.  This exposure to the medical field led me to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).  I was really enthusiastic about it at first  but, unfortunately, later found out that I was not meant to be in a situation where I could not be busy all the time.  I wanted more interaction with people.  I didn’t want to spend so much time waiting for calls to come in.

Yet helping people was still a part of who I was and am.   I remembered that I really enjoyed working with people.  It was then that I decided that what I really needed to do was to upgrade my skills and become a medical assistant.  It was that thought that led me to inquire about the course at South Coast College.

I found many different schools offering the medical assistant course, but none made me feel as welcome as South Coast College.   When I called South Coast College,  I was greeted by Nancy.  She was really interested in me. All she wanted was to get to know me. I ended up meeting Shirley and Nancy who showed me the school.

What I liked immediately was the positive energy in the school.  The students and staff really looked happy.  It was apparent that students and staff had a special bond and were able to communicate about important issues: school, jobs, family, and so on. I really felt this environment was where I wanted to be to learn.

I found out that the program itself is taught by doctors, and the school had a placement coordinator who was going to be helping me look for a job after my 9 months of training. I felt sure this was the school for my learning experience and for my job placement opportunities.

I decided to take the plunge.  I completed the program with great grades, had an amazing hands-on experience in the lab, made great friends and celebrated many potlucks with graduating Medical Assistants.

Although I had many opportunities to take a position as a Medical Assistant, when I found out that the current lab assistant was leaving, I applied for the job.  In the end, South Coast College gave me a great opportunity to work as a Lab Assistant!  I had a great experience first as a student and now in the equally satisfying and rewarding position of lab assistant and now job placement coordinator as well.   My hope is that I can help provide the same experience to future South Coast College Medical Assistants!  Thank you!

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