Early in high school, Billee Lassiter knew she was interested in pursuing a healthcare career—possibly as an obstetrician. After coming to UTC and declaring a biochemistry major, she began researching how she could earn the required patient care hours for medical school. As Billee discovered that CMAs work alongside doctors and communicate with patients, she decided that she wanted to acquire her CMA certification. She enrolled in UTC’s Clinical Medical Assistant Academy, earned her CCMA certification, and is one step closer to helping women manage their health and pregnancies.
Marah: What did you enjoy most about the CMA course?
Billee: Before taking the course, I had never even touched a stethoscope, let alone learned its parts. Now, I can name every part of a stethoscope! I loved how much content the course covered. I learned how to take blood pressure, draw blood, give shots, and many other important CMA skills. If you put time and effort into learning the various skills, you will leave the course prepared for a job in healthcare.
I also loved the fast pace of the course. As a busy college student, I am constantly on the go. I enjoyed that I was able to get certified in a few months rather than a few years.
And, I enjoyed gaining perspective from students’ in the class who were in different walks of life than me. For example, there were several mothers in the class. I enjoyed asking the moms, “Hey, what’s the best way to approach a child with this question? As a parent, how would you feel if a medical assistant asked you this?” The different perspectives will enable me to be a more understanding medical professional.
M: What were your interactions with the instructor like?
B: Miss Suzette always made an effort to ask us (the students) how our day was going. If you were having a bad day, she would listen to and encourage you. She is so caring and creates a fun classroom environment! I never found myself saying, “I have to go to CMA class.” I said, “I GET to go to CMA class!” The three-hour night class went by fast because of the positive and warm environment Miss Suzette created.
M: What’s an important lesson you’ve learned while taking the course?
B: I took the CMA class while also taking undergraduate summer courses. I learned time management because I was required to give an equal amount of effort to each course I was taking, whether it was for academic credit or professional certification. In the CMA course specifically, there are mini-quizzes that serve as checkpoints to make sure you are developing knowledge rather than simply getting by in the course. I had to make sure I was prepared for those on top of my undergraduate studies. All the knowledge I was gaining in each course was beneficial, so I learned the importance of planning ahead and always giving my best.
M: As an undergraduate UTC student, would you say the CMA course is manageable on top of your regular course load?
B: The CMA course is definitely manageable! You’ll succeed by prioritizing your tasks and managing your time well. We only met twice a week and only had assignments due on the days we met. The course is also a few months long, so you won’t be enrolled throughout your entire undergraduate career. Go for it!
M: What excites you about becoming a CMA?
B: I didn’t take this class just because I needed a job; I wanted to learn, develop my knowledge, and prove myself regardless of my age. The course has truly grown me and prepared me for the workforce. Being able to start my healthcare career with a useful skillset and knowledge base gives me confidence in my abilities as a medical professional!
M: Is there anything else you would share about your CMA course experience?
B: I appreciated that I was able to learn healthcare skills in a safe environment before I went out into the medical field. Being able to get a lot of my “firsts” out of the way in an encouraging environment was beneficial. Miss Suzette was great about letting us ask questions and making sure we immersed ourselves in hands-on experience. I would recommend UTC’s class for anyone interested in becoming a CMA!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.