Kelly Rippey: A New Life through CollegeAmerica

By Staff Writer Published on December 11, 2015

When Kelly Rippey heard a radio commercial for CollegeAmerica’s medical assistant program, she was working for minimum wage in customer service. “I really enjoyed working with people,” Kelly recalls, “but I just knew this wasn’t where I wanted to be.” At that time, she had three children under age ten.

Kelly wondered what a medical assistant did and how the position fit into the healthcare team. She dropped in at CollegeAmerica in Flagstaff, Arizona, to find out more. “They explained how the night classes worked and how quickly it went. They really made it a cohesive plan, something I could show my husband and say, ‘We can do this.’ It just felt right.”
According to Kelly’s mother, Kelly experienced a complete turnaround at CollegeAmerica. “Her pride in herself and her confidence became stronger. Since her graduation, she has had gastric bypass surgery. So not only has her mental confidence and pride grown with her job, her pride and confidence in her appearance has soared. You would not believe the new Kelly.”

Maximum Support for Maximum Success

When Kelly first started attending CollegeAmerica, she wasn’t sure how well she would do. “I’d been out of school for so long,” she says. “We didn’t even have a car, so I was bumming rides to school. The flexible schedule really opened it up for me. The school always had my best interests at heart.” Kelly received extra tutoring to learn medical terminology and medications and to improve her math, grammar, and spelling.

After parenting her children during the day, Kelly attended classes at night. As the holidays approached, she began to feel overwhelmed. “I sat down with one of my teachers and said, ‘I don’t think I can do this. It’s just too much.’ She helped me figure out a bunch of things as far as making things work and getting to classes. She really took a lot of that stress off me.”
Kelly found that at CollegeAmerica, someone would always help her. “Never once did I ever feel like I was doing it alone,” she recalls. “The staff really cared. They took time even when it was personal. They pointed me in the right direction. I could not have done it without the staff. They have everything you need to succeed.”

In addition to learning a new career, Kelly developed self-confidence at CollegeAmerica. “I loved just knowing that I could do something, get these grades, get through my classes. I could learn the information, and I could be valuable in a medical office. Now I’m a totally different person than I was when I first walked in those doors.”

The Right Job at the Right Time

As part of her schooling, Kelly explored several career paths and gained hands-on experience through three externships. Working with a pediatric cardiologist, she completed her EKG certification. She tried orthopedics because she enjoyed the x-ray program. She also worked in a medical examiner’s office. “Surgery was where I wanted to be. It helped me know the anatomy better. I was able to meet the right people who got me the job that I have now.”

For Kelly, CollegeAmerica’s career guidance was invaluable. “They helped me create the perfect resume. I felt confident and comfortable walking into interviews. I knew exactly what to expect and what they would ask me. After I graduated, it took me about a month to find a job. I am now a medical assistant at Flagstaff Surgical Associates.”

Kelly loves her new life. “I’m confident. I have a specialty, a career. I’m a stronger person. I’m better for my kids, better for our family. I make a lot more money now. I feel like a member of society really contributing the most I can. I love helping make sick people better. There’s nothing like that feeling.”

Kelly Rippey shares her success story in this video.