“My advisor was very professional. It was very comforting. She was always willing to answer my questions and always went out of her way”
Anthony Iannino became an occupational therapist because of his desire to help children, especially children with disabilities.
“I wanted to work with kids. Definitely working with disabled children was a passion of mine,” he said.
He spent eight years doing that in New York City, but gradually, some disenchantment settled in.
“At first I loved it. Over time, I started growing away from it. It became very regimented,” he said.
He said the regimentation came from a growing emphasis on the financial and business aspects of his work that he felt was detracting from the goal of helping people. “Down the road, the term ‘care’ came out of the picture and it was more business-oriented. I said, ‘I’m not really enjoying this anymore because it’s really taking the passion out of it,’” Iannino said.
But he realized that without credentials, he couldn’t implement the improvements he wanted to see or incorporate the changes he wanted to make.
“I love what I’m doing,” Iannino said. “I feel like I know how to create a better environment. I want to take the talent I have gained in rehab from over the years and apply it. But you’ve got to have the credentials.”
That’s when he decided to get his bachelor’s in healthcare administration, tapping into a background in billing, insurance and administration he’d accumulated over eight years.
“I decided I’ve got to go back to school and I’ve got to start showing how things need to be done,” he said.
While researching online schools, New England College rose to the top of his list.
“I chose NEC because a lot of my credits were transferring over from my previous college experiences,” he said. “Also, after being online I saw NEC offered me a lot of variety and was very easy to manage in the database and the websites as well as communicate with the teachers.”
Still, he was slightly apprehensive launching an online college career while keeping his full-time job. “It was my first time at an online school and I needed someone to guide me,” he said.
The guidance he received eased any anxiety.
“My advisor was very professional. It was very comforting. She was always willing to answer my questions and always went out of her way,” Iannino said. “If you’re a student trying online for the first time, you’re going to be scared, guaranteed. Your advisors are there to see you succeed.”
Getting his bachelor’s took time and effort. But he was dedicated and focused on his goal.
“You learn to work and use your time wisely on the weekend. I gritted my teeth and got through it. I made the best effort to take two classes at a time,” he said. “The class I liked the most was economics of healthcare. You learn how to understand balance versus debt. I use it every day and it was a whole new perspective.”
Iannino would tell any prospective student to do what he did – dedicate yourself and work toward your goal.
“Whether you’re on campus or online, it doesn’t really make a difference. You’ve got to put in the time to get it done. Whatever your reason is, you just have to know that you’ve got to put in the time working to get what you want to get out of it,” he said.
“I’m just very excited I made it this far and I can look back and say, ‘Well, I did it.’ And that can only encourage other people to do the steps that I did to get here; to make a success of their lives,” Iannino said.
He plans to use his degree and the credentials it brings to reignite a passion for his career.
“The first thing is to see what doors my degree open for me. Hopefully the job I get is in management or administration, making decisions and guiding policy,” Iannino said. “I want to be the person making the decisions.”