Recent college grad turns to Front Range Community College to jump start her health care career.
The daughter of a family practice physician, Quinlyn Sloan was exposed to the medical field throughout her childhood.
“I knew medicine was a passion of mine, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do exactly,” says Quinlyn, who is originally from Wisconsin.
After graduating from high school in 2017, she moved to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado, and quickly decided on a major in biochemistry. “My thinking was that this could lead me to a career in lab research or doing something that I love in that area of biology and chemistry.”
Job Search Leads to Changing Gears
Quinlyn graduated in 2021 and was confronted by a challenging job market for new college graduates without experience. When job opportunities didn’t arise, she started researching ways to put her degree to use.
“I started looking at health care-related pathways that wouldn’t require me to earn an entirely new degree, and I came across the medical assistant certificate program at FRCC,” she says. “I was really excited about the opportunity to start that program as soon as I could.”
In August 2022, Quinlyn began her first class in the medical assistant (MA) program, which would take two semesters to complete and require 180 hours of clinical experience. But a few weeks into the semester, she found out about another option.
FRCC’s Registered Apprenticeship coordinator came into one of her classes and talked about the Medical Assistant Registered Apprenticeship program. It allows students to get paid to work for a health care organization—like FRCC partners Centura Health, Boulder Community Health or Kaiser Permanente—while completing their coursework at the college.
To Quinlyn, who was eagerly looking to start her career, the MA Registered Apprenticeship sounded perfect. “I had been looking for a part-time job to support myself while in school, so this was an ideal solution,” she says.
She applied to be an apprentice at one of the program’s partner organizations, Crossroads Medical Center, and was hired. She switched into the apprentice model of the medical assistant program in early September 2022.
Now, Quinlyn works every weekday at Crossroads Medical and attends class at FRCC two nights a week. Working in a small family practice, she’s learning a variety of administrative and clinical tasks, including how to intake patients, update medical history in the electronic health record system, administer vaccines and schedule appointments.
“I love the more intimate, family-like setting of our practice,” she says.
Quinlyn will earn a medical assistant certificate at FRCC when she finishes the program in January, and will take the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant national exam. After that, she will continue working at Crossroads Medical as a full-time MA.
“I am committed to them for a year after the program due to their collaboration with FRCC where they fund part of my tuition,” she says. “But I would have wanted to continue working there anyway. I absolutely love working there.”
The Medical Assistant Registered Apprenticeship is one of several health care-focused Registered Apprenticeships offered by FRCC in partnership with organizations along Colorado’s Front Range. The college’s other health care Registered Apprenticeship options include pharmacy technician and sterile processing. FRCC also offers Registered Apprenticeship opportunities in manufacturing and tree care—and is currently working to build new Registered Apprenticeships in information technology and cybersecurity.
A Segue into Medicine
“I wasn’t completely sure if I wanted to commit to medical school or nursing school but I knew I wanted to work in the medical field. This opportunity allows me to do that, and it’s been a huge blessing. I love interacting with patients and getting to know them.”
Although nursing school has always been an interest, Quinlyn is happy to start out as an MA. “This is an excellent first post-college path,” she says.
An Added Bonus
Quinlyn says her second college experience has been even better than expected.
“I’ve had the best time at FRCC,” she says. “It’s just so cool how many opportunities are here in this smaller school setting.
“This is a great program and I’m very happy I decided to do it.”
Publish Date: 01/18/2023