An interview with Deanna Nieves who earned her diploma in Medical Assisting and Basic X-Ray Technology at Central Florida Institute in the Tampa Bay area.

Q:  How long did the Medical Assisting and Basic X-Ray Technology diploma program take you?

It took 9 ½ months.

Q:  What is your current career?

I’m a medical assistant.

Q:  Describe a typical day in your current career?

I work in a pediatrics office, so I spend time mostly doing school physicals and making sure that children are up-to-date with their immunizations. I also work the front desk making appointments and taking phone calls, that kind of thing.

Q:  How did your training help you get into this career?

Well before I was doing finance work, so with out the training I would never have even been able to apply for a job like this.

Q:  Were you happy with the training that you received?

Yeah definitely, I would recommend the school to anyone.

Q:  Favorite classes and why were they your favorite?

There was Phlebotomy and basic X-Ray class that were the best.

Q:  The teacher in phlebotomy really showed a technique that you would never forget, and was really a good teacher. And, Basic X-Ray was the longest course you had about getting all the basics. Really helped because in the state of Florida only 2 types of people are allowed to take x-rays.

Q:  Who was the teacher in that phlebotomy class that you mentioned?

Mr. Senger.

Q:  What did you take from the program that you use in your everyday job tasks?

Mostly pharmacology, drawing medicines. You do it everyday, and especially working with kids, it’s a lot of calculations.

Q:  What was the most important class/lesson from the program?

At the whole they were all really important.

Q:  How much did it cost for you to complete the program?

It was about $12,000.

Q:  Did you receive any financial aid or scholarships?  Which ones?  Were these easy to obtain?

I did have financial aid in the form of education assistance from my previous employer and Pell grants. The school helped me. They have the financial aid department, and they took me step by step because it was not even something I was going to try.

Q:  Did you go to school on a full-time or part-time basis?

Full-time.

Q:  Were any of your classes online?

I did not take any online.

Q:  Did you consider other programs?

Yes, I was considering being a Sonogram technician.

Q:  Why did you choose the one you did?

The school gave me access to view a website to see what kind of jobs were available, I wasn’t willing to travel, and there weren’t any jobs in that field in that area.

Q:  Would you recommend this school to someone else?
Yes, definitely.

Q:  Why?

The teachers stay after class. There’s never a question you couldn’t get an answer to. If they didn’t know they would find out. I’ve heard a lot of bad things about other schools.

But we knew everyone in the school, they were always there to help us, they did a great job. Also, you don’t get phlebotomy or x-ray classes with other medical assisting programs and here you could go either way, with x-ray or cardio technician.

Q:  What was the most difficult part of the program for you?

Not really anything too difficult. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA, I was in the honor society, and in another group of students helping other students.

Q: About how many other students were in your classes?

They were intimate –  about 30 in the medical assisting program. Then it broke into x-ray and cardio and there were about 10 to 15 in each.

Q:  For your particular program, are there any special licenses or certifications that you need to receive before getting a job?  If so, what are they and what do they entail?

There’s a basic x-ray license, and there’s a few accreditations for medical assisting, could be RNA, CNA, or NCNA certifications.

They prepared us to go out and take the tests ourselves, but our class was the last one like that. Now they include the test in the program and in the tuition, so tuition has gone up a little. I graduated in 2009.

Q:  Any other advice you would give based on your experiences there?

Make sure you do your research before changing careers so that you know what you’re getting into and what jobs are available, so you don’t have expectations that are unrealistic.

I went from working full time, to going to school full time, I was never a good student, but luckily I was really interested in the subjects so I felt like I dedicated my time, my weekends, to study and really be a good student this time.

Q:  Did the school provide any help to ease that transition into becoming a student again?

I think there were classmates that helped me do that. They were in similar situations and we forced ourselves to be better students.

View a list of Florida schools offering x-ray technician programs.