medical assistant holding stethoscope

Chris Donahue headshot



After a life-changing event, Chris Donahue experienced an epiphany regarding his career. He realized he wanted an occupation where he could help others and make a difference in the world. Chris decided to transition into working in healthcare, and his journey began when he enrolled in UTC’s Clinical Medical Assistant course.


Marah: Why did you choose UTC’s Clinical Medical Assistant course over other similar courses?

Chris: One of the main drivers of my decision was that UTC is my alma mater. I already knew the quality of education and programs offered. Other contributors included timing, affordability, the fast pace, and happenstance.


M: Why did you enroll in the CMA course? What was your ultimate goal, and have you reached or are now working to reach that goal now that the course is complete?

C: My post-course goal was to get a job in the medical field. I completed the program, earned my NHA CCMA certification, and completed an externship. The externship led to my current job at CHI Memorial, where I work as a CCMA to an Internal Medicine MD. My overall goal is to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which I am still working toward!


M: In what ways did the course help you prepare for the job you have now?

C: Every component I learned is crucial to my daily routine (which is never routine). The hands-on and clinical skills taught in the CMA program proved to be extremely beneficial. I was able to hone my skills to perform venipunctures, give immunizations, perform EKGs, obtain biological samples, and give patient-centric care confidently and accurately.


M: What advice would you give to a current CMA student?

C: Be attentive, detail-oriented, and curious. Ask LOTS of questions.


M: What advice would you give to someone studying for their certification exam? Do you have any study tips you would share with them?

C: In preparation for the national certification exam, I would recommend staying current with readings, assignments, and research. If you do that, you will be prepared. You want everything to become second nature, so you have to understand your topics in order to have an understanding of how to apply your knowledge.


M: How did you create a study/work/life balance while in the course?

C: I am married with two young children, so creating a study routine was crucial. I dedicated a specific time and place, without distractions, to studying. For me, I found that having a quiet place away from home was best for me to concentrate and retain everything.


M: What did you enjoy most about the course?

C: I definitely enjoyed the hands-on, clinical aspect of the course, but my instructor and classmates made the class memorable. We bonded because we had to trust one another. We learned skills such as taking blood draws, giving shots, and performing EKGs by practicing on one another. We had to be a team, like in a real healthcare setting.


M: Do you have anything else you would like to share about the CMA course?

C: I feel like I received a great education, especially regarding the tuition price and time frame for program completion and compared to other CMAs I know. If current students give their best effort, graduate from the course, pass their certification exam, and complete an externship, they will see career success.


Marah Whitaker headshot

Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.

Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.

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