Cathy's Success Story: Medical Billing & Coding

The Right Place at the Right Time

Cathy was working nights as a caregiver when she enrolled in the Medical Billing and Coding Program. She had previously worked as a healthcare administrator and a high school science teacher.  “After doing that for 20 years, I needed a change. But it's not easy to do later in one's life,”

Cathy first transitioned from teaching to caregiving. She soon realized that the overnight shifts didn't give her enough time to help care for her elderly parents and a sister with special needs. “I needed a regular career again, and I needed it quickly. Huntington Beach Adult School was the best solution to that problem.”

Back to School

Cathy was not as nervous as many students might be when returning to school after a long time. She credits this to her experience in healthcare administration and teaching science. She added, “It was kind of nice to be a student for once, especially when we had a good teacher. I know what good education looks like, and they did a great job.” 

Throughout the program, Cathy continued to work as a caregiver. There were a few times when she couldn’t attend class because of caregiving responsibilities. In those cases, she was able to work with her professors to meet those needs. Cathy explained, “They're fair about it as long as you work ahead of time to let them know what's going on.”

New Job, New Life

In our Career Technical Education (CTE) program, students start preparing for the job search long before they graduate. When Cathy met Job Developer Arlene Flores on the last day of class, she had already put together a resume and letters of recommendation. Ms. Flores connected Cathy with a local employer, who quickly offered her a job. 

“I do billing for a specialty pharmacy company. We work with a lot of people who have Medi-Cal and Medicare, and a lot of babies at CHOC who need specialty medications and durable medical equipment. I feel really good about what I'm doing.” Bonus: she works alongside other HBAS graduates!

With this new job, Cathy has enjoyed her new work-life balance. The consistent schedule has freed up more time to spend with her family.  She also returned to Saddleback College and finished a degree started years ago in Health Information Technology.

Timing is Everything

After a year on the job, Cathy feels fortunate for how things unfolded. Right after accepting the job offer in March 2023, she broke her leg. Some might call that misfortune, but Cathy sees it differently:

“Had I not gone to HBAS, had I not had a job I could do on a computer, I would have been without a job at all. How lucky was that?”

Of course, her success on this career path is due to much more than luck. We are proud of how Cathy continues to stride forward with courage and confidence.