From student to teacher

From student to teacher

CVCC Medical Assistant Instructor reflects as College celebrates program’s 10 years and recent accreditation

Shana Smith never imagined she would be teaching the same class she attended at Chattahoochee Valley Community College when she made the decision to go back to school to become a medical assistant. Now, she can look at her students and inspire them to know that they can do it too.

“It’s scary when you’ve been out of the work arena for so long, but I don’t think I’m that unique in having an opportunity to come back into the working world,” she said. “I believe with the right resources, anybody can do that.”

Smith was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years and raised seven children. In 2010, she made the decision to enroll at CVCC after attending a job fair at the College on behalf of her husband, who was looking for continuing education unit opportunities for his job. While gathering information to take back to him, Smith was asked if she would consider going back to school.

“When I came to the career fair, the lady was like, ‘What about you?’” Smith explained with a laugh.  “I thought, what do you mean, ‘What about me?’ The lady continued and clarified with ‘Why don’t you think about going back to school?’ So, I explained that financially, it would be hard with a single income household.  Then, she removed that barrier and explained that scholarships were available, so I applied, and here I am.”

As the College celebrates the program’s 10-year anniversary and recent accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), Smith couldn’t be more proud.  CVCC is the only ABHES accredited medical assisting program in the area, according to the organization’s website.  The College is celebrating with a picnic on the campus on Tuesday, October 16, at 11:30 a.m.  Everyone is invited, including former graduates of the program.

“I was in the second graduating class of the Medical Assistant program,” said Smith. “The program started in 2008. I came into it in 2010 and graduated in 2012. After graduation, I worked as a medical assistant for five years before accepting a position as an instructor in the program at CVCC.”

Smith says having been an actual student of the program has its advantages, and she is able to put herself in the students’ shoes.  She can also appreciate the growth of the Medical Assisting program, especially under the leadership of Shelly Holt, Medical Assisting Program Director.

“This program has truly blossomed,” said Smith.  “Ms. Holt saw the need for accreditation, and under her leadership, the program has grown by leaps and bounds. There were certain requirements that had to be met to make accreditation, and she worked really hard to make that happen. There have been a lot of improvements to the program, and I am happy to say I have seen it come full circle.”

“We are proud of what we have accomplished here at CVCC, and we are not finished yet,” said Holt.  “I can only see the program continue to flourish and grow as we remain competitive in providing a strong option for our students.”

Medical Assisting is a two-year associate’s degree program at CVCC with opportunities to earn a short certificate in Medical Assisting and/or Phlebotomy along the way.

“If you have a compassionate heart, and you like to help people, pursuing medical assisting is a good option,” said Smith.  “You work primarily in physicians’ offices. You have an opportunity to make an impact on other people’s lives. You have an opportunity to care for people.”

For more information about the Medical Assisting Program or any offerings at CVCC, call 334-291-4998 or visit our website at