Accounting Grad: How I Did Two Diplomas for the Price of One

Karmina Nieto had spent years working in odd jobs, eventually ending up in a management role for a cleaning services company. But when the pandemic hit, her job disappeared, and another promising opportunity fell through at the last minute.

Her career needed a reset. She took a pause and did some soul searching to figure out what she wanted to do.

She completed the medical office administration program at Herzing, but found it wasn’t quite the right fit. After working in an office for a while, she realized she really enjoyed the financial aspect—so she took advantage of the Herzing Open Education Program (HOEP) to do an accounting and payroll diploma tuition-free.

She struggled initially, but thanks to hard work and lots of instructor support, she made it through.

Read on to learn more about her remarkable story.

Q. Could you share a bit about your background and what you were doing before Herzing?

Karmina: I was managing a company that handled cleaning services, mostly for Airbnbs. Our workers cleaned the linens and towels and everything. We also did construction cleaning and regular house cleaning. Sometimes I had to jump in and help when time was tight, but otherwise I stayed in the office.

But when the pandemic hit, that all slowed right down. They told me the company was closing, but they recommended me to a company that still had some Airbnbs.

I had the interview, and it went well. But then something happened just before I was going to be hired by them. They couldn’t do it because they had some problems in the background with the government grants.

I knew I had to look in another direction and do something else. I quit everything and decided to be home for a bit to clear my mind and figure out what I want to do.

And then I started at Herzing College studying medical office administration.


Q. What made you choose Herzing?

Karmina: When I was looking for where to go for medical office administration, I looked at colleges like George Brown and Centennial College. But all of those courses were very long, and since I was close to 50, I didn’t want to be in school forever. I wanted something that could be done faster. And many people recommended Herzing.

Plus, I found out they offer the chance of doing a second diploma for free. That worked out really well.


Q. How did you end up in accounting and payroll?

Karmina: When I was doing my placement at a medical office, I had a chance to practise everything except the finance part, because the doctor was taking care of her own billing. At the end of the placement, they didn’t take me because they were not really looking for someone to hire.

I needed to pay my bills, so I asked my friend with a moving company if he needed any help in the office. He hired me to take care of finances. And I liked it so much that I decided to go back to Herzing to do a second diploma in accounting and payroll administration.

I remembered that they had told me if I did a second one, it would be free! In the end I had to pay a little bit, but it was still a fantastic deal.


Q. What was your experience like the second time around?

Karmina: The first day I was back, oh God, what a surprise. The math was so difficult. I was crying my eyes out thinking I had to quit. I couldn’t do this course.

After crying the whole day, my friend came over and she said she couldn’t believe I was quitting. She had this brilliant idea: why not get a tutor to get back on track? Talk to the school.

So I sent them an email. I was so lucky that the same instructor I had previously for medical office administration was also my instructor for accounting and payroll. He called me and said, “I know you can do it. This might look very difficult right now, but I’m telling you it’s very easy. We’re going to start right now, and if I go too fast, ask me to slow down. If I go too slow, ask me to speed up.”

Two hours later, I told him I felt embarrassed that I said I couldn’t do it. I kept going, and the rest is history.


Q. What was your favourite part of the accounting and payroll program?

Karmina: My favourite part was when they explained how the accounts work. When money comes in, where does it go? When money goes out, where does it go? I liked figuring out how to put the right amounts where.

I also really enjoyed working with QuickBooks and Sage.


Q. What advice would you give someone who was thinking about enrolling at Herzing?

Karmina: Don’t be afraid of being a little bit rusty. The school will help and guide you if you need it.

And if you’re unsure about your first choice of career, don’t be afraid to review it and maybe go for another diploma. Look at me! I went through one program and then realized that it wasn’t really the one I was looking for. But I’m grateful that I took MOA. I don’t feel like the time was wasted on the previous course. It actually opens up a lot more possibilities.

Having both programs, I’m more skilled and more valuable to an employer, so I can really go anywhere.



The Accounting and Payroll Administration diploma from Herzing College takes less than a year to complete and includes an internship for real work experience.

Click below for detailed information and to chat live with an admissions advisor who can answer any questions you have. We’re here to help!

Learn More about the Accounting & Payroll Program

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