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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Medical Assisting certification makes all the difference

April 17, 2014
After Barbara’s job was downsized, she realized she needed further education to do the job she had been doing this whole time, and so she set out to earn it.

Barbara Knudsen had worked in the medical field for several years in Ft. Worth, Texas. Although her only medical certification was for front office coding, she found herself working full-time, performing primarily back office procedures for a General Practice physician. Barbara did EKGs, bone density and pulmonary function tests, gave injections, and trained a long line of Medical Assisting externs who steadily cycled through this busy medical practice.

But when staff downsizing included her position, Barbara was surprised to find that all of her back office experience did not mean much without certification.

“I thought I’d slip into a doctor’s office and they’d be happy to have me,” says Barbara. “But, nobody would consider me because I wasn’t certified, even though I was the one who had been training externs.

Meanwhile she started up a part-time business helping older people to function better at home and continue to maintain their independence. But that business, alone, just did not generate enough income.

“I needed more income, faster,” says Barbara.

She found SJVC’s Online accelerated Medical Assisting program and jumped in.

“I hit the books real hard, and 8-9 months later I got the certification,” she exclaims. “It was more intense than I thought. I expected it to be easier since I had worked in a doctor’s office and was already pretty familiar with medical terminology.”

Barbara still breezed through with a 4.0 GPA and a constant presence on the Dean’s List. Next, she undertook her job search with the same determination she applied to her studies.

“Barbara was very proactive and committed to her job search,” says Jane LeBarge, Career Services Advisor. “She handled herself in a very professional manner, and her dedication to the program and job search led her to success.”

“I know that in order to get a better job for a better future, you need certification or a degree,” says Barbara. “Now you still have to prove yourself, but that you have taken the time to complete the whole course tells the employer that you have that education and potential.”

Barbara got the position she wanted at Cityview Surgery Center in Ft. Worth. The additional income allows her to pursue her truest passion in life…horses. Peruvian horses to be precise. She owns five of them at present and keeps them on her 2 ½ acres.

These horses are not just for the visual pleasure they provide from their pastoral setting. They are used for trail-riding in local Texas areas, and performing equestrian drill for rodeos and other arena horse functions, with a sprinkling of competitions in Oklahoma and Texas, as well as the occasional parade. Equestrian drill is “kind of like square dancing on horseback,” she says.

And, at 70-years old, it is Barbara sitting side-saddle, guiding them through their paces. In her spare time, she judges drill competitions all over the U.S. and is Vice President of the Oklahoma Equestrian Drill Association where she hires the judges and is responsible for tabulating team drill competitions.

She is proud of her horses and loves putting them through their paces – especially Carina Del Sol, who is snow-white with a long mane and tail.

“She will do anything I ask,” says Barbara. “I let her go as fast as her legs will take her, and we whip around those barrels and those poles. When we leave the arena people cheer!”

Barbara has two reasons for pushing herself to extend her education, earn MA certification, and get back into the medical field.

“I love work and I love people,” she says. “It keeps you from getting old. It exercises your muscles – and your brain is an important muscle.”

Her second reason comes down to the practicalities of life. “I’m tired of scraping for money to have fun,” says Barbara. “It’s gas money to go where I want to go and do what I want to do.”

She is already thinking about her next adventure.

“I figure I got one more move left in me,” Barbara says. “I’ll keep my MA certification active and get a little closer to the mountains. Some place with nice trail-riding.”

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