After serving 19 years as an Air Force medical technician, Master Sgt. Suzanne Martin has an expert understanding of what it takes to succeed as a healthcare professional in the military. And now she’s preparing to translate that knowledge and experience into a civilian career.
“As a medical technician I’m a nationally certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT),” Martin said. “I screen patients, get vital signs, start IVs, give medications and assist with minor procedures. My most memorable job was when I was stationed at Ramstein, Germany. I was an Aeromedical Evacuation Technician – a medical tech on an airplane. We picked up injured members from Iraq and flew them back to Germany and/or Andrews AFB in Maryland. It was a very rewarding job!”
However, Martin plans to retire from the military next year, and knew she would need a college degree to expand her opportunities. Fortunately, New England College provided exactly what she was looking for: an online healthcare administration program with lots of flexibility. She earned her BS in Healthcare Administration from NEC in Spring 2016.
“I wanted to stay in the medical field but needed a degree I could get online; being active-duty military means working full time, plus I have three young children and a husband who works an alternate schedule. So my coursework had to be done at home in my free time,” she said.
NEC offers other advantages that make getting an undergraduate degree much more affordable for active-duty military personnel, such as a special military tuition rate for servicemembers and participation in the Tuition Assistance program. TA is a U.S. Department of Defense initiative that helps those serving in the armed forces pay for college classes they take during their off-duty hours. In the Air Force, the program covers up to $250 per credit hour with a limit of $4,500 per year. NEC prices its undergraduate courses so that TA will typically cover the entire cost.
“I used TA to pay for my education,” Martin said. “It was a tremendous benefit; I’m not sure if I would have gone to school if I hadn’t been able to use it. I’m very thankful for the program, and for NEC providing a special military rate. I didn’t have to pay anything out-of-pocket for my tuition costs.”
Her advice for other servicemembers seeking a degree? “Just do it. Be disciplined, take one class at a time and keep moving forward. Getting it done is easier than you think.”
Looking toward the future, Martin sees many possibilities.
“My dad, husband and kids are a huge inspiration, so I’m confident I’ll succeed. But I haven’t really decided on exactly what type of career I want yet. Working in a small healthcare office would be nice, but there are so many opportunities I think I’ll have to figure it out once I start looking for a job next year,” she said.