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Meet Tara Gilligan — Bryan University’s Clinical Medical Assistant Undergraduate Certificate Graduate 

Tara Gilligan

Meet Tara Gilligan, a graduate of Bryan University’s Clinical Medical Assistant Undergraduate Certificate program. Tara was already a BU graduate after she earned her Associate’s Degree in Health Information Management. Working at a clinic sparked her interest in medical assisting and inspired her to continue her education. Now after earning her Medical Assistant Undergraduate Certificate, ultimately leading to earning her Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification through the NHA, she’s begun her career. 

Tara initially found BU through a co-worker who was a student. “I checked it out and I looked at the program and it matched everything that I was looking for and the most positive part about it was that it was all online.” 

She needed something that fit into a busy schedule as a working mom, and the flexibility of an online program was exactly what she was looking for. 

“The flexibility to learn online gave me a chance to be more present in my home life. Instead of going to an on-site class where you’re gone for four to five hours, I can spend that time at home and have the ability to do my classes without having any major blockage in my day.” 

Tara said her experience with BU was a breeze from start to finish, even the aspects she expected to be difficult like financial aid. 

“I was expecting it to be a hassle because I knew how it felt chasing documents but no. Before I knew it, classes were starting and I had everything I needed beforehand. I had no questions and they were very in-depth in explaining things. Whenever I did have a question, they didn’t reply by email, it was a call. There was no room for miscommunication or error on any part.” 

The flexibility of the online programs allowed Tara to stay on track through major life changes. She moved states in the middle of earning her Associate Degree in Health Information Management and while she was completing her Clinical Medical Assistant Undergraduate Certificate program, she had her third child. Through the flexibility of learning online, she maintained progress and succeeded in her education. 

“Anything is possible. Especially if you have children, especially if you’re young — I’m a young mom of three. My biggest barrier was thinking that I couldn’t do it, thinking that I wouldn’t have the time to do it. But with Bryan, you have the flexibility, the resources, and the amount of time is endless for mastery. You can do the assignments a thousand times if you want to,” she said. “Bryan University is very resourceful, it’s not going to leave you shorthanded. You have all the tools that you need to succeed if not more. I feel like I got the upper hand going to Bryan compared to people I work with because I have a lot more knowledge and experience.” 

When classes started, Tara said her biggest challenge was managing her time and being disciplined in getting her work done. But after a few months, she mastered her routine and her instructors were always there if she had any questions. 

“I can’t pinpoint an instructor that went above and beyond because they all did. I knew that I was getting set up for success. With every class I had, and the further I went it just kept getting better and better. I felt like I was really supported.” 

Of all the classes she took at BU, Tara said the virtual clinicals she completed with her at-home medical kit were the most memorable. “You get the kit that comes with the fake arm and you have the ability to re-master the vein punctures. If you don’t have the strongest skill set with applying a tourniquet, you have three different tourniquets available to practice as many times as you want. Having extra supplies and the flexibility to practice is really great.” 

She was surprised by how hands-on the simulation labs were and said people shouldn’t let the idea that they won’t get practical experience stop them from pursuing their education online. “That is a barrier people have. They have the interpretation that because it’s online, you won’t get that hands-on experience but in all reality, the simulations are so in-depth that it sticks with you and you feel like you did it in person to begin with.” 

Tara loved BU’s emphasis on mastery, which allowed her to resubmit her work until she felt confident in her understanding. “That was one of the biggest things that I liked. You might have done it the first time and you didn’t get 100%, but then you can go back in there with a fresh set of eyes and try it again. It just gave you that opportunity to go back in without saying, ‘Dang, I left the classroom, I have all these questions and I don’t know what I’m doing’ — you have everything right there in front of you.”  

Tara said her education at BU gives her an upper hand in her career and her advice to anyone thinking about furthering their education online is to just go for it. 

Are you ready to further your education online? Learn more about Bryan University’s Clinical Medical Assistant Undergraduate Certificate today! 

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