An interview with Mayra Diaz De Leon, a student of the medical assisting program at Western Technical College, located in El Paso, TX.

Q:  What type of medical assisting program you are in?

You earn a certification, and it’s 14 months long. I finish in February.

Q:  Are you going to school on a full-time or part-time basis?

Full-time.

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

Oh yes it’s a lot of hands on, it’s great.

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

Nothing really. They explain everything a lot, they can always go back and review it with  you or there’s always tutoring available too.

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

It varies. We start with about 32 and we are ending with like 14.

Q:  Are you currently working?

No, I’m a stay at home mom.

Q:  How would things be different for you if you hadn’t received this training?

Well first I tried to be a full RN at another school, El Paso Community College, but there it’s harder and I had a tough time contacting the teachers.  So I was going in for my RN but only  finished some basic stuff at the beginning. I didn’t like it, but I might have had to do  something like that if I didn’t have this training.

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

The hands on nature. You have to pay really close attention, like for phlebotomy, and taking shots, and the EKG’s.

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

It was $13,000, but it includes uniforms and books, tools, everything.

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

You get an $8,000 grant, almost everyone gets that one. The rest, you don’t have to pay until 6 months after graduation with the loans and if your still having trouble they’ll work  something out for you.

Q:  Were any of your classes online?

No they don’t have any for this program.

Q:  Did you consider other programs?

No, I went right to it this time.

Q:  Why did you choose the school you did?

I didn’t look at another school, I had received a really good reference from a friend about  that school.

Q:  Would you recommend this school to someone else?

Yes, like I told you, you can always go back and ask the teachers if you don’t get it.  They’re always asking you if you need help with anything.

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, and will you get them by the time you graduate?

You get a national certification just as long as you pass the test, and the price for it is  included as well in the tuition. You don’t have to pay that unless you have to take it a  second time. I don’t  know if you have to renew it.

Q:  Was there anything that you wish you would have known at the start to help you get through the program?

When you register you get an orientation where they tell you what to expect and it’s truly  what you get. So you don’t go in expecting the unexpected.

Q:  Any advice for those considering a medical assisting program?

It takes a lot of dedication. Make sure you really want to do it. If you don’t have patience or don’t like to work around people, you shouldn’t be a medical assistant.

If you think you want to be a medical assistant, the first thing you’ll want to do is find the right program.  Check out our list of Texas schools offering medical assisting programs to find one near you.