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Putting Her Caregiving Skills to Work

Published: August 28, 2018 | Updated: January 25, 2019

Being a family caregiver helped Patricia Martin decide that Medical Assisting (MA) was the career for her.

“I lost my mom and my partner in the last two years. All I knew was caregiving and I didn’t know what to do with that,” she says. Then she visited Charter College and realized how to put her 20 years of nurturing skills to work helping others. “I found my voice here,” she says. “I’ll still get to take care of people, but in a different way.”

Charter College Wasilla, which is located at 721 W. Parks Highway, has been providing residents of the Mat-Su Valley with career education opportunities since 2007. The campus currently offers a Medical Assistant certificate career program, which prepares graduates for careers in a wide variety of positions, including: Medical Assistant, Clinical Assistant, Medical Receptionist or Medical Office Assistant.

“Patricia is an exemplary student, one we know will excel wherever she lands,” says Wasilla Campus President Melissa Rigas. “She not only helps out her fellow classmates, but she has helped get Charter College’s name out in our community in a big way. Patricia is absolutely what we like to call the “Charter Type.” If she couldn’t find a way she would make one!”

Taking care of her loved ones has allowed Martin to experience health care from the patient side. She says in addition to teaching the technical side of health care, Charter College gives its students the soft skills involved in being an effective Medical Assistant. “I hear these complaints about how MAs don’t listen, but at Charter College, we learn the importance of that and how to actually hear what our patients are saying.”

Martin graduates in September and plans to find a job in Wasilla. She says she’ll continue to volunteer for Charter College and work with upcoming students. “They’ve given me so much that I feel the need to give back.”

The Charter College Medical Assistant program was developed to address the hiring needs of employers. And it’s offered in the Blended Learning format where classroom studies are offered as a combination of online and in-classroom work, providing more flexibility.

“The city of Wasilla is booming with state-of-the-art facilities and we’re accommodating more and more health care growth because we can and there’s a need. From family practices to opioid addiction specialists to cutting edge hospitals and clinics, the Mat-Su Valley has it all,” Rigas says. “Charter College Wasilla is training members of our community to help our people. We provide the place, complete with a medical lab and experienced instruction, for students to acquire the skills they need to enter the workforce, usually in under a year.”

Though she lost two people she loved in the space of two years, Martin says she’s still be able to look at the positive. “That’s what got me here, to become the person I am today.”