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Rasmussen College Health Information Technician Degree Student Sydahne Phillip

Second Life Support Person By Night, Non-Traditional Health IT Student By Day


Rasmussen College Student Sydahne Phillip Studies Online Health Information Technology

Rasmussen College student Sydahne Phillip's work and school life revolves around information technology, in real life and in the virtual world of Second Life as she pursues a Health Information Technology degree.

Image by Sydahne Phillip

Rasmussen College offers online health information technology degrees for students pursuing an associate degree in Allied Health. The HIT degree prepares students for work as Health Information Technicians in hospitals and doctors' offices. Rasmussen College's program prepares HIT majors to earn certification as a Registered Health Information Technician, or RHIT, a certification in demand by hospitals and health care employers.

Non-traditional students such as Sydahne Phillip, 32, of Douglasville, Georgia, turn to online health information technology degrees to find a position in a field that is expected to grow by 20% through the year 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About.com spoke with current student Sydahne Phillip about her intriguing story. Phillip works in information technology already, but in virtual reality - literally.

About.com: What made you decide to go to back to college?

Sydahne Phillip: The main reason I decided to return to college was that I want to change the quality of life for my children. I want to make sure that I have the financial stability that is required to give them any opportunity their hearts desire. On a personal level, I want to feel like I have accomplished something more than just a high school diploma. Higher education shows motivation and discipline, two characteristics that are valued in the workforce.

About.com: Why study in the Allied Health field in Health Information Technology? What do you plan to do after graduation?

Sydahne Phillip: At first, I was not sure what I wanted to study and I started to think about all of my previous employers. Two jobs stood out to me, one of which I worked as a provider services representative for a well-known insurance company. I remembered how much I really enjoyed learning the basics of claims processing and helping providers to understand benefits.

The second of my most memorable jobs was at a community hospital clinic where I worked as the benefits administrator. Once again, I was in a position to know how claims were processed, I helped providers and patients prove medical necessity for procedures. After reminiscing about the great experiences I had at these jobs, I knew I wanted to be a liaison between the facility, the physician, the insurer, and the patient. Health Information Technology and Health Care Management would be the right degrees to obtain in order to have my ideal career.

After graduation I plan to sit for the Registered Health Information Technician, or RHIT, certification. I would also like to begin pursuing an entry-level position within my career field. With some on-the-job experience, I would like to consider pursuing a higher degree in Health Information Management.

About.com: Why did you choose Rasmussen College?

Sydahne Phillip: I did a countless amount of research and finally, thanks to College Prowler, I decided that Rasmussen College would be an excellent choice, considering the success rate of Rasmussen graduates. The admissions process was so awesome. Out of all the schools I requested information from, the admissions manager for my program was the only one that took me seriously and she kept in touch until I completed my term with my previous school.

I especially like the fact that Rasmussen goes out of their way to make sure that the students have a great start to a being successful student. Not many schools offer the opportunity to join a professional organization and sit for a national certification exam on their own dime. That says a lot about Rasmussen, mainly that they are not just about collecting tuition but they are willing to invest in my future. Rasmussen won my favor hands down.

About.com: You work for Second Life, the virtual reality world, while attending Rasmussen - can you talk a bit about what you do? Do you plan to stay on after you graduate?

Sydahne Phillip: I am an online customer care associate for Second Life. My position entails responding to resident inquiries via a trouble ticket system, live chat, email and phone. These communications mainly concern Inworld problems and inquiries as well as some real life billing concerns. There are some help desk functions and we resolve issues related to computer hardware and software as well as product function and inventory concerns.

I would like to say that I will stay after graduation. I am sure there will always be room for me with my team. I think part-time will be more suitable because I will be busy looking for work in my field of expertise.

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