Lizette Rosa has had a successful career as a medical assistant for more than three decades and even taught medical assisting at Florida Career College’s Hialeah campus before joining the admissions team–all without a college degree. Now after years of encouraging students to go back to school she’s following her own advice and chose to enroll at Florida Career College too.
“I’ve pushed myself to this position with just my certificate, but I haven’t been practicing what I preach daily to my students on getting degrees,” she said.
Lizette is proof of how far a career training diploma can get you. She spent 35 years as a medical assistant and still does some medical assisting work. In 2010 she became an allied health instructor and in 2015 she moved to admissions for the school. As she has progressed professionally, returning to school has always been in the back of her mind.
“In order to continue to grow and get into future director positions, you have to have a degree, which is something I don’t possess,” she said. “At 53 years old, I decided I’ve got to do it now. I want the opportunities. Not only that but I can encourage others by saying I’m doing it. I’m getting it done. You can do it too.”
Rather than choosing a traditional university, Lizette decided to take advantage of the affordable programs at her own campus. She enrolled in the Patient Care Technician (PCT) program. When she completes this program, she will be eligible to earn her associate degree in the school’s Health Services Administration degree program. It is something that has been on her mind for years, but she was still nervous.
“I think my biggest fear was can I still work and study and be successful,” she said. “That was my biggest fear was being able to keep up… I didn’t tell anybody. At the golden hour I told my coworker to enroll me. All of a sudden, I was getting books and everything. All my coworkers were confused why I was getting books. I said I’m a student!”
“Lizette is a bubbly personality who engages in all campus-based activities,” said George Hardy, Executive Director at the Hialeah campus. “When we sat down to speak about her going back to school, she wanted to do the PCT program and then go into HSA so that she could obtain her associate degree. This had been something that she had really wanted to do for the last 4 years, and she believed it was no time like the present. She’s a key contributor to the success of the Hialeah admissions team.”
Years of experience as a medical assistant prepared Lizette for some of what she has been learning but there are nursing skills like changing bedding and feeding patients that have been new, she said.
“I’ve always loved helping people,” she said. “As I talk to and kind of teach my future enrollees, if you have that bug of loving and caring for loved ones, it’s something that you’ve felt in that moment that that was your calling, that’s exactly what you need to feel. You have to have that inside of you. When you have that, it’s just a little bean in your gut and once you make it your career it becomes a happy vine in your life because you’ve fulfilled what you’ve always dreamed.”
Lizette has continued to work in the admissions department while completing her program. It’s always fun when she enrolls a new student in the program and can tell them they will be in class with her. Even more fun has been learning from an instructor whom Lizette enrolled at the school in 2017. That student went on to complete her associate degree with Florida Career College and is now an instructor.
“Florida Career College will carry you to places you did not think you could get to in a very short period of time,” Lizette said. “It will open the path to being successful in the dreams you have always dreamed, whether you are a first-generation graduate or whether you didn’t even have a diploma when you started FCC and were able to accomplish it and grow within it and add to what you did. It will also help you serve as a pillar in the community because we put out a product, which is our students, to be a part of the workforce in our community.”
Lizette’s love for the school is something that is felt by both students and her coworkers.
“Liz has a real passion for her students,” said Brian Brown, director of admissions. “She makes it her personal mission to prepare them for the opportunities that await them.”
What keeps pushing her forward is setting an example for herself and for other students. Lizette knows that at her graduation she will have her father, stepmom, husband, children, grandchildren, and her guardian angels, her grandfather and mother, cheering her on. All have been strong supporters of her return to school.
“Always lead by example so you can be a mentor to others when you reach your goals,” Lizette said. “Continue to spread the wealth of education and experience so others who think they can’t get to where they want and are sitting there working in retail or a restaurant or a warehouse, that their dreams can come true. Here at FCC, we accommodate everyone to be able to be a graduate and be a future part and pillar of our community. The sky is the limit.”