Bethany Chagnon sitting at computer

Bethany Chagnon

2022 Medical Billing & Coding Graduate
Medical Biller at Center for Sight in Fall River, Massachusetts

“I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t gone to MTTI. I’m beyond thrilled that I stayed the course I set for myself, and made my goals happen. At MTTI, they tell you, “You will learn the technical skills and knowledge you need to enter into the industry you’ve chosen. We will also teach you the skills to actually go out and get the job you want.” Returning to school to start a new medical career, I will have work and a stable income until I am ready to retire.”

Bethany Chagnon
I didn’t even think about training for a medical career until after turning 40.

Graduating with a degree in textiles, my college roommate and I moved from Massachusetts to New York City—we didn’t know anyone in New York; we didn’t have jobs. But who doesn’t want to live in the ‘Big Apple’? Living in New York for a decade, my college roommate and I went separate ways as we each married. A few months after the fashion company I worked for was bought out by a large corporation, I was no longer happy working there. At the same time, my husband and I mutually agreed to divorce.

I quit my job and I moved to Mexico, just south of Cancun.

Eventually I found a job in the timeshare industry. An agent in a call center, I spoke with customers in the US and Canada, until I worked my way up to becoming a sales closer. I ran my own office, did everything from payroll to hiring and firing; I was surprised to find I was good at the job.

When I unexpectedly became pregnant at 38, it was time to come home.

Happy in Mexico, my life was rainbows and unicorns. I had a condo two blocks from the Caribbean Sea; I walked to work every day. The decision to move back to the states was tough. I asked myself, ‘Where are the best schools in the US?’ Most are in Massachusetts, where I grew up. When my daughter was several months old, I moved back home.

Back in Massachusetts, I was starting over—literally rebuilding my life.

My baby daughter and I moved in with my mother, grateful to have her help. I worked part-time doing inventory. Then I got a lucky break—a contract with the federal government to manage the Decennial Census. I had almost 300 people working under me
when the pandemic hit. Everything came to a screeching halt, but our deadlines never changed. We literally had to redo and rethink everything. A lot of great people worked overtime to make it happen, but we got it done. I’m proud of that.

With few job opportunities during the pandemic, I was thinking about returning to school.

I wanted a steady income—one I could count on. In sales, you make a lot of money, but you need to hustle—it’s sell, sell, sell, 10-12 hours a day. I wanted to do something that interested me, wake up every day feeling happy to go work, and, at the end of the day, enjoy time at home with my family.

At MassHire, Susan DeMedeiros highly recommended MTTI.

Susan said that MTTI is one of the best schools in the area for short-term training. She was awesome to work with, and helped me identify financial assistance that was available to me. Everyone in my family is in medicine; my mother is a nurse, my father ran two hospitals in Florida, my brother is an anesthesiologist. So, I was about 90% sure I wanted to enroll in the medical assistant program. I applied and was accepted at MTTI.

I was excited to start school and go to work.

When the medical assistant program start date was moved forward, I didn’t want to wait. I’m savvy with the computer, and have experience working in an office. Recognizing I might be happier doing billing and coding than providing hands-on patient care—and raring to go—I changed programs.

I thoroughly enjoyed having Ms. Roc as an Instructor.

She is tough. I appreciate that she tells it like it is about working in the medical industry. Ms. Roc knows her coding. She explains things in everyday language, and relates what we are learning to her experience in the workforce. She showed us videos about the body systems, the different surgeries and procedures, and taught us how to find good sources of information online and on YouTube.

The light turned on when we began to learn coding—It totally clicked for me.

We began with hospital coding—PQRS. It was like bringing pieces of a puzzle together, and then—boom–it would suddenly make sense. My interest in coding validated for me that I had made the right choice of program.

Career Services walked us through finding an internship.

Shawn helped us write resumes, research and reach out to different businesses. Actively participating in job search breaks the ice and builds confidence. On search day, I brought a packet with my resume and information about the school to places where I might like to intern. My Mom worked in the past as a nurse for an ophthalmology group; she suggested I look up Dr. Keegan Johnson. I found Dr. Johnson working at Center for Sight. The Practice Manager, Jane Caprio agreed to schedule a shadow day. Jane told me that before they hire someone, they always have them observe the practice. I chose Center for Site for my internship, knowing they had a job opportunity.

Each day I arrive at work thinking, “What will I learn today?”

Ophthalmology is a specialized field; it’s challenging, but interesting. Perla, my boss, has been doing medical billing for 25 years. She has a lot of experience and answers all of my questions. I’m doing all of the super bills and encounter sheets for the doctors. I confirm in the computer that the coding the doctors have put in is correct. Once the coding is correct, we send it to billing.

bethany at computer
I passed the AAPC CPC® Exam on the first try!

I completed the exam with half an hour to spare. Nervous because I had only scored a 75 on the in-class practice exam, I thought I either did very well or really ‘bombed’ it. Later Ms. Roc told me she makes the practice exam more difficult than the actual exam. When I got the results, The Center for Sight, where I had worked for less than a month, gave me a raise. They’ve told me that when I pass the ophthalmology coding exam, they’ll give me another raise.

My family’s encouragement and support helped me get where I am today.

They understood that by taking time out to attend school, I would reap the rewards later. We’re all looking forward to the birth of my second baby, due this April. I’m thrilled to be having a boy, and thankful for my daughter, Matilda.

Everyone at MTTI lets you know, right from the beginning: “We’re here to help”.

The whole time you’re learning your new trade, you’re working with career services. The help they give you, on top of the training, is icing on the cake. Some days I questioned whether I wanted to do this. But if I hadn’t stayed the course, I’d likely be in a dead-end job, working long hours. Instead, I love my work, and have time to be with my family.

I’m glad I chose to go to MTTI—it’s a great school.

I’m thrilled I chose to go into coding and billing. The program and career services gave me confidence to work in the industry. By shadowing, I got the internship where I wanted to work. Well-prepared for the internship, I got the job. All of the effort I put in circled back around to give me exactly the result I wanted. I couldn’t have done it without MTTI.