With over two decades of experience in healthcare, Sheila Schutzenhofer knew she had to earn her degree to move up the ladder.
“My Florida Tech degree will give me the boost I need to be able to move into a higher-paying position with more rewards and responsibility.”
We spoke with Schutzenhofer about her journey so far, as she is still in the process of earning her associate’s degree in healthcare management.
Tell us about your background.
I have 20+ years’ experience in healthcare, having done everything from medical assistant to medical coding and billing. I’m currently focused on front office patient intake and billing at a community healthcare center. I have had middle management positions in the past, and now I would like to work my way to upper management in a clinic manager position.
What were the most important factors in your decision to choose Florida Tech?
The degree offered and the fact that it is completely online caught my eye. I work full-time and had to have a program that I could do completely online without having to be close to campus. I currently live in southern Illinois but am hoping to move to Florida later this year, so when graduation time comes, I will be able to be on campus for that.
How will your Florida Tech degree make a difference in your career?
My Florida Tech degree will give me the boost I need to be able to move into a higher-paying position with more rewards and responsibility. I have a daughter who is also in college, so I am still supporting her at this point, and this will make it easier for that.
Do you have any future plans (education, career) with your degree?
I would actually like to continue my education to the bachelor’s level after completing my associate’s. I feel I would need at least that to get a position as a clinic manager.
What surprised you most about taking an online program?
I was a little bit uneasy in the beginning since it had been so many years since I had attended school, but it was remarkably easy to navigate the website and class platform, and the instructors have been wonderful.
What was your favorite class and why?
I have taken a lot of required general education classes so far, but I really enjoyed Mythology. I have always been an avid reader, and this class had a lot of reading and essay writing, and the subject matter was very interesting.
What was your most valuable takeaway from the program?
It doesn’t matter what age you are or how long it’s been since you’ve been in school – going back to college is not only doable, but very rewarding.
What advice would you give other students who are considering enrolling in the program?
Go for it! It has been a great experience for me and I would recommend it to anyone interested in going to college. Give yourself set hours for study, stick to your schedule and it works!
Who has been your support system?
My daughter, who is also in college currently, though she attends a different school right now. She is pre-vet hoping to be a veterinarian someday. She has been my biggest cheerleader. We study together sometimes and quiz each other before tests.
What was the most challenging part of your student journey?
Learning to do things differently from what I learned years ago. Some of the writing formats have changed so I had to make new habits. I haven’t had any math courses as of yet, but I will this Fall session, so I’m sure that will be a challenge also. It’s been 30+ years since I’ve tackled algebra!
Who or what inspires you to succeed?
Achieving this at my age, let’s just say over 50, is my biggest inspiration. I wish now I would not have waited so many years!
What is one fun fact about you?
I love pop culture and everything Disney. My daughter and I enjoy going to conventions like Comic-Con, Walker Stalker Con and Wizard World Con. We take trips to Disney parks whenever we can. It was Walt Disney who said, “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” This is my motto to live by!