From the Classroom to the Exam Room: How Fairfield, Calif. Career College Helped Mother Provide for her Family
September 15, 2014 / FAIRFIELD, California
Anna Gatchel went form unfulfilled preschool teacher to valedictorian of her Medical Assisting program at InterCoast College in Fairfield, Calif. in less than 12 months
Deciding on a career change is never an easy decision to make. With the rising cost of education and the increased volume of competing graduates, the task can seem daunting.
For Anna Gatchel, the decision, wasn’t difficult at all. The 34-year-old mother of three, worked as a pre-school teacher and a part-time cashier at Walmart, leaving her little time to spend with her family and feeling dissatisfied.
“I wasn’t content with teaching preschool,” said Gatchel. “I felt I had more to give and something better to offer to others.”
Gatchel ultimately decided to step away from the classroom to spend more time taking care of her autistic son. After her husband’s health issues forced him from the workforce, Gatchel decided going back to school was the best course of action for herself and her family.
Already considering advancing her education to becoming a physician’s assistant, Gatchel’s first stop was at one of California’s four-year state colleges. But a quick visit and a conversation with a faculty member that included “This isn’t the class for you,’ left Gatchel in tears driving away from the campus.
Those tears were short lived as a phone call with her sister, a medical assistant herself and Gatchel’s biggest supporter, resulted in a conversation with an advisor at InterCoast College, a Fairfield, Calif. career college.
“I wasn’t even on the freeway before I had a phone call from an advisor,” said Gatchel. “I talked with an advisor at InterCoast about the classes they offered and which ones would be beneficial to my interest," said Gatchel.
Intercoast is a private career college designed to provide associates degree and diploma level career programs that prepare students to succeed in specialized fields of allied health, legal, business, and trade industries.
Gatchel enrolled in the Medical Assisting program in October of 2013 and soon found herself in classes covering phlebotomy, administering EKGs and learning what injections are the most commonly issued and the proper way to administer them.
After a few weeks, Gatchel decided her current schedule of online only courses, wasn’t enough. Wanting to attend classes in person, she turned to her advisor for help.
“I wanted this so badly, not only for myself but for my husband and my kids that I decided I wanted to start taking classes on campus too,” said Gatchel. “I don’t think my advisor was ever more helpful. Not only did she respond positively but we worked out a complete schedule that would work for me as a student, and as a wife and mother.”
Gatchel took to the material so well, she even started offering her support to her classmates with tutoring assistance, on her way to earning the valedictorian honors of her graduating class.
“One of the biggest things I took aside from the actual material was the diversity I was exposed to,” Said Gatchel. “When you have a class of single moms, recent high school graduates and bilingual individuals all trying to achieve the same goals, you naturally learn how to work together and remove judgment and biasness.”
With graduation occurring just five short weeks ago, Gatchel is confident that her hard work and sacrifice are just the first steps of a long, successful career.
“When I have the ability to place my opportunities on my resume, I know that I bring a lot to the table for any employer,” says Gatchel. “I’m very confident in my job prospects and I have that confidence because of the InterCoast staff and curriculum,”
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