To succeed as a medical office administrator, you need to be both highly organized and deeply caring. You must be motivated by a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of patients.
Chantelle Ducolon exemplifies all of these traits. Her dedication and commitment to delivering the best possible educational experience consistently earns her the respect of her students—and recently, it earned her recognition as Herzing College Ottawa’s instructor of the year!
We caught up with Chantelle this week to get her reflections on the honour, the MOA program, and her own career journey.
Here’s her story.
Q. Chantelle, can you share a bit about your education and professional background?
Chantelle: I started out in food service and moved up to supervisory roles and assistant manager roles. But then my family grew, and I was doing lots of nights and weekends, so about 10 years ago I decided I was going to go back to school for medical office administration. I felt it was a good fit with my previous experience.
I absolutely loved it and developed in that role as well. I got the job I wanted in the finance department of our local community hospital. I spent just over eight years there handling the medical billing and everything to do with financial on the medical side. I was fortunate to learn some accounting, too, that went along with that role.
And then Herzing had an opening for a medical office instructor. I came on board about three years ago.
Q. What inspired you to become an instructor?
Chantelle: I had spent time in the role at the community hospital and I just felt like I could offer more. I loved my position within the medical field, but when the teaching opportunity came along it fit with my family and seemed like the next step. I felt like I’ve got lots of things to offer, so let’s share it.
Q. What is your favourite part of the job?
Chantelle: I enjoy sharing my knowledge and seeing the students grow from the time they start to when they finish. It’s exciting to share in their excitement because for some, it’s a huge change. They’re completely changing their career or it’s finally time to focus on them and they’re so proud at the end of their journey. It’s just nice to be able to share that.
Q. What are the key skills you focus on in the Medical Office Administration program?
Chantelle: The huge piece and the most important component is the medical terminology and human anatomy. That’s our biggest course. It’s our background knowledge and it’s how we understand what we’re hearing daily.
We also spend lots of time on healthcare software, which is different than Excel or Word. We do all of those things too, but our healthcare software is the registration component that’s linked to the clinic and to the hospitals. That’s where we see and do everything. There are clinical things in there, and reports, and it’s where we register the patients with all confidential information.
Q. Is there a clinical component to the MOA program?
Chantelle: There is a small clinical component. MOAs are able to assist within the office or hospital with things like bandaging and taking vital signs.
Q. What backgrounds do your students typically come from?
Chantelle: We have a variety. Some students are 18 or 19 and are fresh out of high school. Some students are more mature and are trying to transition to a new career. They might already be on the business side and they want to add the medical aspect as well.
I also have lots of moms whose lives got busy and who didn’t have an opportunity for post-secondary education before.
Q. What’s the demand like for medical office administrators right now?
Chantelle: The healthcare system needs help for sure. On any given day there are 20 to 30 positions available for medical office administration graduates. It’s definitely a field in demand.
Q. What are you most proud of accomplishing in your career?
Chantelle: I’m in my third year with Herzing and got to experience my first in-person graduation this fall. Seeing those students walk across the stage was an amazing moment.
I sometimes teach the computer fundamentals course as well, so I feel like I’m lucky that I get to see a lot of different faces and programs. It’s immensely satisfying when they walk across the stage to get their diploma.
Q. How does it feel to be recognized for your work?
Chantelle: It’s absolutely amazing. I love Herzing. They are fantastic at noticing the work that their employees are doing and making us feel good about it. It’s amazing to have that recognition. We work hard, and it’s great to have that noticed.
Q. What advice would you give someone who was considering the MOA program?
Chantelle: They need to know that we’re here to work hard. It’s a fast-paced job but very rewarding. We get to help people, so it’s very fulfilling in that regard.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MEDICAL OFFICE ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM
Herzing College Ottawa’s Medical Office Administration program takes just 10 months to complete and includes a four-week internship. Visit the program page to see a complete list of courses as well as information on admissions and career paths—or to chat live with a friendly advisor. We’re here to help!