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Certified Medical Assistant Perseveres Despite Educational Obstacles

Jan 27

Jan. 27, 2020 – When Ciera Lee started her college journey, she was 32 weeks pregnant. She had an 18-month-old son, a part-time job and she was determined to make a better life for her and her family. 

“I chose Richmond Community College because it was the closest college to my home,” said Lee. “I knew I needed to get a degree to benefit me and my kids. I was determined to graduate college with a degree.”

Because she enjoyed a brief experience working in a clinical environment, Lee chose to enroll in the Medical Assisting program.

“I knew I wanted to work in a clinical environment, but at the same time I knew I couldn’t do a four-year program right then,” said Lee.

Graduating in 2018 with an associate in applied science degree in Medical Assisting, Lee now works fulltime as a Certified Medical Assistant at an ears, nose and throat (ENT) medical office in Laurinburg.

“I would recommend Richmond Community College to anyone looking to become a Medical Assistant,” said Lee. “The classes prepared me for my current position, but that is only part of it.”

While in school, she gave birth to her daughter but then had to work around multiple surgeries for herself and her daughter. During one of her first semesters at RichmondCC, her grandmother passed away.

“I turned a 2-year program into 4 years of work, but my instructors pushed me to graduate,” she said. “I would say Renea Craven and Crystal Greene pushed me the most and helped me succeed.”

Craven, who is the program coordinator and instructor of the Medical Assisting program, said Ciera was a student who overcame obstacles.

“She was always pleasant, kept a positive attitude and looked for ways to improve throughout her time here,” Craven said. “Her fellow classmates spoke highly of her, and she integrated very well here at RichmondCC. I am proud of her accomplishments personally and academically.”

Greene, another instructor in the Medical Assisting program, agreed that Ciera was a student who had many life distractions while in college.

“But she was still able to remain dedicated and determined to meet her goal of graduating from the Medical Assistant program. She met her goal while caring for her family and working, and that is to be commended,” Greene said.

“RichmondCC was a life changing experience for me,” said Lee. “It helped me to build a better life,” said Lee.

Lee is currently considering options to further her education either in dialysis or nursing.

“When I decide, I will start at RichmondCC to complete the prerequisites for the program,” she said.

Medical Assisting at RichmondCC

The Medical Assisting curriculum prepares multi-skilled healthcare professionals qualified to perform administrative, clinical and laboratory procedures.

Course work includes instruction in scheduling appointments, coding, and processing insurance accounts, billing, collections, medical transcription, computer operations, assisting with examinations and treatments, performing routine laboratory procedures, electrocardiography, supervised medication administration and the ethical and legal issues associated with patient care.

Graduates of the program may be eligible to sit for the American Association of Medical Assistants’ Certification Examination to become Certified Medical Assistants. Employment opportunities include physicians’ offices, health maintenance organizations, health departments and hospitals.

To learn more about the Medical Assisting program at RichmondCC, call (910) 410-1888 or email More information is also available at