Turn your desire to help others into a rewarding medical career.
You could be ready to enter the medical workforce as a medical assistant, medical biller or coder, or pharmacy technician with your degree in medical specialties. Your degree program is delivered online, but you will complete a for-credit externship to help you gain valuable practice in real-world settings, working with real patients.
The medical specialties program is designed to help you gain entry-level employment in today’s medical job market. This degree offers you the fundamental knowledge and practical skills you need to work in a wide variety of healthcare positions such as medical assistant, pharmacy technician, medical billing and coding, and more.
As part of the program’s objectives, you’ll also be prepared for possible certification or licensing in a number of areas of medical specialization.1
For important gainful employment program information about student debt, earnings, and completion rates click here.
Independence University provides the following information in the link below regarding professional licensure for the state in which you reside. The Associate of Occupational Studies in Medical Specialties program has several career options available. Not all career options require licensure. Each state has their own unique requirements.
To determine whether this program meets licensure requirements in your state for the career option of your choice, you must contact the appropriate licensing board(s). Provided in this link is a current list of licensing boards, by state, which you may contact for this information.
- Medical assistant
- Pharmacy technician
- Medical billing specialist/coding specialist
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
- Medical assisting
- Pharmacy systems and databases
- Pharmacy technology
- Medical records
- Medical billing/coding
- Clinical processes and procedures
- Kenneth A. Wyka
Ken Wyka received his BS and MS degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ. He has been involved in all aspects of the respiratory care spectrum since 1971.
Ken has written three respiratory textbooks: Respiratory Care in Alternate Sites, Foundations of Respiratory Care, and Respiratory Home Care: An Onsite Reference Guide. In addition, he co-wrote seven editions of Egan’s Fundamentals of Respiratory Care. He has also written numerous articles and presented many lectures throughout the U.S.
Ken was the respiratory program director at Passaic County Community College, professor and director of respiratory clinical education at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, adjunct professor in the Department of Health Professions at Montclair State University, and director of respiratory therapy and director of staff development at the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, all in The state of New Jersey. He was also the cardiopulmonary clinical specialist at Anthem Health Services in Queensbury, New York, and is now the director of clinical education in the respiratory therapist program and associate dean at Independence University. Ken is a past president of the New Jersey Society for Respiratory Care and served as a member of the AARC House of Delegates for nine years. Since moving to Lake George, New York, he has been the president of the Northeast Chapter of the New York State Society for Respiratory Care, as well as president, and is a current fellow of the American Association for Respiratory Care.
- Gil Etheridge
I began my career as an assistant professor and graduate faculty member at State University of New York in Buffalo in the department of Physical Therapy and Exercise Science. I was the director of the Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Laboratory and program director for the Graduate Athletic Training curriculum. After three years, I moved into private healthcare management, where I worked for over 20 years.
My management positions include over 10 years as a regional vice president for a Fortune 500 healthcare company. While there, I managed over 50 facilities in 10 states. I then moved back into the non-profit, private educational sector as executive director of the American Sports Medicine Institute. There, we educated up to 17 orthopedic surgery fellows yearly in a sports medicine fellowship.
After six years, I moved into surgery center management for both private and physician-owned facilities. I have also managed several wound-healing centers, which included physician practices inside the clinic, I’ve also done healthcare consulting. My love for teaching has brought me back to Independence University where I teach healthcare administration, health science, health services management, and public health.
- Deborah Nolder
I live in Maysville, Kentucky, with my semi-retired husband, Tim. We are the parents of three daughters and the grandparents of one granddaughter and two grandsons. I have been a nurse for 41 years. I have worked in all sorts of healthcare settings, including home care, public health, obstetrics, emergency department, medical-surgical units, and coronary intensive care. I started in post-secondary education 17 years ago while still working part time as the house supervisor for our local hospital. I have been with Independence University for five years.
I received my associate of science degree in nursing from Maysville Community College. I earned my bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Kentucky and my master’s in nursing from Northern Kentucky University. I will soon have another master of education degree from the University of Kentucky. I have also been accepted in the doctorate of nursing program at UK with classes starting this fall.
I really don’t have a lot of spare time for hobbies, but when I do, I indulge in reading and gardening, and I love to Zumba!
- Wyatt Gage
Hi, everyone! My name is Wyatt Gage, and I am a full-time faculty member here at Independence University. I currently live in Utah with my wife and three children: two boys and one girl. In my spare time, I enjoy being outdoors, four-wheeling, playing soccer, tennis, and golf.
I have a bachelor’s degree in radiology and a master’s degree in healthcare administration. I finished my master’s program entirely online while holding a full-time job and being a full-time dad. I can definitely understand what it’s like to be a busy, online student!
I have worked in healthcare for eight years at multiple facilities and in various roles. I enjoy teaching both health sciences and healthcare administration, though my favorite course may be anatomy and physiology. I enjoy being a nerd when it comes to anything healthcare related!
- Nicki Vaughn
I’ve been working in healthcare for over 35 years in primarily non-clinical roles. I actually had my start in healthcare by working in a small rural hospital emergency department, which is where I became “hooked.” My undergraduate degree is in health promotion with a minor in health administration. I’ve worked as an ER tech, in inpatient billing & admitting, as a PBX operator, phlebotomist, in outpatient billing, pathology, community outreach, new program development, and in blood services marketing management. Now, I’m managing customer service programs in home care. During this time period, I also earned an MBA and an MHA degree. I started teaching adjunct for health promotion and human performance at Weber State University in 1995. I love teaching and enjoy filling my evenings teaching for Independence University.
I live in Farmington, Utah, and have two wonderful, handsome boys and one granddaughter.
I’d like to share my overall philosophy: The quest for education is a lifelong endeavor, one that begins at birth and continues throughout life. Many educational moments happen outside the classroom, and, although they may seem ordinary, they are essential in providing the individual foundation that comprises who you are. You are never too old or too busy to learn.
- Colleen Poitinger
I have been a healthcare administrator for 13 years, building and managing physician practices. Prior to this, I worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Ohio for ten years, processing and adjudicating claims and answering telephone inquiries for over 65 subscribers. I am coding certified and worked for four years fitting, coding, and billing for DME (Durable Medical Equipment) products. I am currently teaching online health science courses at both the associate’s and bachelor’s degree levels. I am also an associate dean at Independence University.
I earned my degrees as an online student from Keiser University while working full-time building and managing physician practices, as well as caring for a home and family. Online learning offers many advantages, including being accessible 24/7, which is a terrific thing when one has to work full-time and has other responsibilities.
Many students are unable to attend class consistently in the on-campus environment due to work, childcare, or transportation issues. The online platform allows us to get around these obstacles and opens more opportunities to us as well. I feel this is very important to the country as a whole, since more and more people are unemployed and need to be retrained in new, rewarding careers. As professionals within a field of study, we are able to not only impart direction, but also mentor the students we are brought together with. As such, I look forward to sharing in your virtual educational journey!
- Leslie Lazarevic
I was born in New Jersey in 1963 but spent the majority of my childhood in New York. I served in the U.S. Army for four years in several overseas tours. I currently reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with my husband of 13 years, three dogs, and two cats (I love animals!). I have a lovely daughter and twin granddaughters whom I adore.
I earned a bachelor’s degree in social work with a focus on gerontology through Temple University in Philadelphia with a focus was on gerontology. I obtained a master of science degree in criminal justice through Andrew Jackson University in Birmingham, Alabama, and I earned a master’s degree and a doctorate (ABD) in business administration with a concentration in criminal justice through Northcentral University in Arizona.
I am currently a contracts coordinator with the city of Philadelphia where I have been employed for over 17 years. With this position, I am able to support services that provide assistance to our young and senior populations. I enjoy spending time with seniors in my community, and I learn so much from them just by listening to their wisdom and experiences. I have been teaching online since 2004. I currently teach SOC400, Sociology of Aging. I see being an instructor as a partnership with a student, one where we both get to learn together.
My hobbies include herbalism, knitting, and sewing, as well as the outdoors. I enjoy video gaming every now and then. I love to laugh. I’ve been accused of having an extreme sense of humor!
- Mike McAndrew
At Independence University, I teach a lot of different finance courses, as well as some management, accounting, and PRO courses. A few years after receiving my MBA, I was recruited to become the business manager/COO of an investment management firm in Chicago, Illinois. I did some investment analysis work as well as being in charge of the daily operational and administrative areas of the firm. Later, I was a vice president/market manager of a personal investment product at a large Midwest bank. The bank then recruited me to be one of an initial 50 senior investment consultant managers nationwide to work for their new investment advisor subsidiary.
I later moved into a vice president/investment consultant position, earning my license in health and life insurance, as well as variable annuities. A few years later I was recruited away to become a senior vice president of wealth management at a regional bank in northern Illinois with 38 branches.
In 2004, I began teaching in the School of Business of a new online college. I later became the program director of all finance courses for the online division, as well as for their on-ground campuses. In January 2014, I began teaching at Independence University. I’ve enjoyed working here very much. I have a passion for teaching and feel very blessed to have the opportunities I’ve had in life. I want to share with others the knowledge and experiences I’ve had, so others might have some of the same opportunities.
- Valerie Meade
My experience working in the business field includes contract compliance, museum program director, property management, government consulting, real estate sales, event management, retail sales management, and office administration. I also have my own small business on our family farm where I grow truffles.
I have taught at Independence University and Stevens-Henager College for over five years. I have greatly enjoyed working with our amazing students and watching as they fulfill their life ambitions.
Before working at SHC and IU, I arranged large community events at the Natural and Cultural History Museum in Lehi, Utah, and taught English courses in Voronezh, Russia. I have also enjoyed many different retail management and real estate positions throughout my career.
I graduated in the top 10% of my class for my master’s degree in public administration (MPA) and was named outstanding student of the year for the UVU Business School in 2006 when I completed my paralegal studies associate’s degree. I also have a bachelor’s degree in international relations/business.
I love learning in almost any educational environment. In three of my workplaces now I have been given the nickname Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. At IU and SHC I have taught courses in Communication Arts, English Composition, American Civilization, U.S. History since the Civil War, Introduction to Logic, Business Law, Computer Forensics/Cybercrime, Marketing, Event Planning, Organizational Design, Business Practices, Management Principles, and Professionalism courses.
- Kimberly Blake
I am a full-time instructor for the School of Business at Independence University and the owner of KSC Marketing Solutions. I hold a master of business degree with a concentration in marketing and a minor in management from Baker College Center for Graduate Studies of Flint, Michigan. I am presently pursuing a doctoral degree from the same graduate school. With two years remaining, I am progressing through my program to earn a doctor of business administration in Socratic methodology. Essentially, my focus area within my doctoral studies is to design solutions for improving critical thinking in decision-making for improved long-term organizational sustainability on a global scale.
After working in the legal, financial, realty, and healthcare sectors, I chose to pursue my passion for teaching. A significant part of my responsibilities in healthcare administration was to support the career counseling, placement, and training efforts of young teens and college students enrolled in healthcare-based programs. After so many of the students returned to tell me of their successes, I just knew that I had to continue to pursue teaching because of the amazing opportunity that was available to help students reach their dreams in life. I do this every day by committing to each student. In the business program, I facilitate the learning of students through such courses as Introduction to Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Advertising Principles, Communication Dynamics for Professionals, Technology in Marketing, Management Principles, and Introduction to New Media Marketing. I am grateful to be a part of the legacy that Independence University leaves to each one of our students.
- Christy Hopkins
Hello, my name is Christy Hopkins, and I am a lead associate dean for the School of Technology. I have 20-plus years in entrepreneurship, pharmaceutical sales, and management. I joined Independence University in 2014 and thoroughly enjoy helping students accomplish their academic goals. I continue to manage a small marketing firm that assists with brand recognition. I received my BAS in marketing from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and I am currently pursuing an MS in information systems. My family and I live outside of Denver, Colorado, and I enjoy all this beautiful state has to offer.
- Jason Merrill
Jason Merrill is an associate dean in the School of Graphic Arts at Independence University. He has been with IU for about six years and teaches various courses in the graphic arts program. Jason has worked in the fields of design, technology, and education for over two decades. He has an associate’s degree in graphic design, a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and is currently completing his MBA.
His love for design began two years after high school when he was mentored by a Disney animator. Jason has worked for Apple, Inc., where he trained hundreds of design professionals, as well as people in film, music, photography, and other industries. “Jason has also worked on the design team at Franklin Covey and for the respected graphic design studio, Skogen Group, where he served clients ranging from Dell to the Utah Scottish Association. In addition, Jason has run his own consulting and freelance design firm for the last 20 years.
- Shell Redfern
A Wisconsin native, Shell Redfern began her career as a graphic designer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Shell’s college internship turned into a full-time job with an independent television station where she created on-air graphics and TV Guide and newspaper ads, in addition to sales collateral. It was there that she was introduced to Apple computers. Shell caught on to the technology quickly, and her knowledge of both traditional paste-up design and the up-and-coming world of technology gave her a much-needed skillset to propel her career forward. While in Milwaukee, Shell worked on accounts that included clients such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, GE, Harley Davidson, and others.
In 1990, Shell moved to Fort Myers, Florida, and opened her own design firm. There, she continued to expand her knowledge of both the Mac platform and graphic design theory through the production of several monthly publications, brand development and implementation, and the creation of multimedia marketing tools. Her work received awards, including ADDYs and a “Best of Show” award in two Florida public relations associations.
In 2004, Shell began teaching and was immediately promoted to program manager of design studies at Southwest Florida College. In 2014, she was introduced to Independence University where she currently serves as an associate dean for the School of Graphic Arts.
- Christina Fosbrink
Greetings! My name is Christina Fosbrink, and I have been with Independence University since 2010 in the School of Graphic Arts. I’ve been teaching for 12 years in areas like communications, theatre, and graphic design. I hold a BA in communication, an MS in multimedia technology, and several diploma certificates. I am currently pursuing my doctorate in education at Northcentral University, where my dissertation is on benchmarking in online education, a topic I’m very passionate about.
I got my start in graphic design as a billboard artist and educator in Nebraska. Since then, I’ve worked in advertising, website design, and as a freelancer, and I currently own my own business. In my first job as an educator, I realized the difference I could make in my students’ lives. This made me further pursue teaching graphic design. I have taught several courses at IU, and it’s always a treat to see students learning from what I have taught them. I truly value that experience every day.
Remember: “Carpe diem.” You only live each day once, so make it count!
- Carly Lyn Heath
Carly Lyn Heath is a graduate of Chapman University (MFA in film production) and San Francisco State (BA in cinema with a minor in drama/costume design). She is the founding owner of Charming Films, LLC, a film production, illustration, and design company, and she is the writer and director of the award-winning, feature-length film A Foundling, starring Cindy Chiu and Tim Chiou, which is available on iTunes and Amazon. In addition to numerous film festival screenings and awards for her short films, Carly is also the winner of the exclusive Alden B. Dow creativity fellowship, which awards three American artists every year.
Recently, Carly was named a finalist for the 2015 Alexander Cappon prize for fiction and the 2015 David Nathan Meyerson prize for fiction. She also illustrates for authors and literary journals and her work can be seen in upcoming issues of F(r)iction magazine.
As an instructor at IU, Carly teaches Photoshop®, a program which she uses extensively for her illustration, design work, and filmmaking.
- April Bliss
My life’s journey is to inspire and be inspired. To be happy, positive, patient, and compassionate. To remain a free spirit who is uninhibited by restraints, while keeping an open mind to new thoughts and ideas around me. To give hope and inspiration to others in need. I am a free spirit, animal activist, designer, educator, inspirational speaker, happy-go-lucky, Leo, a yogi, and a positive energetic, girl who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
With over 14 years in the design industry, I have worked for various advertising agencies and publication companies throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. I earned a bachelor of science degree in graphic design at La Roche College in May 2000, graduating cum laude. I also earned a master of arts degree in graphic design from Savannah College of Art and Design in August 2012. Furthermore, I taught design classes in higher education for two years at Southwest Florida College in Tampa where I was involved in the development of the courses that I instructed. I am currently teaching online graphic design classes at Independence University and Stevens-Henager College.
- Thomas SantaMaria
As a lead associate dean for the School of Technology at IU, I have over 30 years of experience in a variety of industries, including education, academia, healthcare information systems, executive decision systems, and technology. I have also served in adjunct faculty positions at Colorado Christian University and Pikes Peak Community College.
My other roles include supervisor and teacher of programming courses, capstone mentor, assistant to the dean for the School of Information Technology, curriculum developer, master course shell manager, data analyst, and report writer for the department.
I served in the USAF Medical Service for 21 years, retiring in 2001. During my career, I was an integral part of the Air Force’s healthcare information systems development and deployment team. After retirement in 2001, I continued serving the Air Force Medical Service as a data analyst and executive decision support systems director for the USAF Academy Hospital.
In addition to my experience in technology and healthcare, I also hold certifications as a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) and several application certificates as a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). I hold a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in technology management. I am an accomplished marathon runner and have served on the board of directors for the Pikes Peak Road Runners Club for many years. I have lived in Colorado Springs for the past 25 years, and I have three children and three grandchildren. I am active in many technology, healthcare, and education associations, working to improve all facets of human computer interaction, experience, and protection.
- Marisa May
Marisa earned her master of arts degree from Sam Houston State University and is currently pursuing an Ed.D. through Liberty University. She is primarily interested in research and mathematics curriculum.
Mrs. May has spent more than ten years teaching in Texas public high schools and middle schools. While serving as a high school teacher, she developed a curriculum to address new state math standards and Advanced Placement objectives. She enjoys blending her years of experience in the brick-and-mortar classroom with the challenge of the online environment. Her goal is to help students of all ages reach their educational goals.
Marisa lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and five children. She enjoys reading, and also running, although the Texas heat can make it difficult.
- Angela Sweeney
I teach ENG101 and SOAR English for Independence University, where I started in January 2010. I hold a master of arts degree in English literature and writing from Utah State University. I also earned a bachelor’s degree in music, violin performance, from USU.
I enjoy teaching writing courses because I get to work with a variety of students. They all bring something different to the table. Writing is an important skill that students seize onto. Our students are highly motivated and have a great attitude about learning. I love working to help our students grow and develop from wherever they are!
- Karen Combs
I love teaching better than just about anything I can think of. I have a degree in elementary education and one in special education. Both have given me great insight into the learning styles of my students for 30 years. I’ve spent most of my time teaching fifth grade. I have always used technology in my classes and found a master’s program in educational technology a perfect fit for me. While completing this degree, I began to dream of teaching college online. I have always used writing in every subject area as a way for students to express themselves, as well as show what they’ve learned. I love to write and love to share my enthusiasm for writing!
I teach in the SOAR program at IU, which stands for Student Online Academic Refinement. I’m able to help students who either haven’t been to school in a long time or who’ve always hated English to develop their writing skills and realize they do have what it takes to succeed in an online university. For most students, all it takes are a few lessons on writing basics and some encouragement that someone believes in them, and they regain the confidence they need to be successful students. What a great job!
- Kristena Houghtaling
Kristena Houghtaling is a full-time instructor in our General Education department. She teaches English courses, including ENG101 and SOAR English. Prior to joining Independence University,she was an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where she taught ENG101 and basic writing. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English education from Cal Poly Pomona and her master’s degree in English from National University.
Kristena lives in southern California with her husband and daughter, and she loves the beach, Disneyland, and eighty-degree Christmases. Her experience as an online student was a jumping-off point for her desire to teach online. She saw how important distance education was in bringing college to nontraditional students, as well as how convenient an online environment can be for students who have other responsibilities, such as jobs and families.
Kristena is proud to be a part of a university that strives to make education available to all.
- Stefani Nelson
I have taught at Independence University for over five years and love what I do! I received my bachelor of science degree in psychology from Utah State University and went on to receive my master of science in mental health counseling from the University of Phoenix. I currently teach CSS 101, Psychology of Motivation, and PSY 220, Psychology. I am also a licensed mental health therapist and have a background in treating depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and trauma.
I have worked in different clinical settings, most recently for a psychiatrist in Salt Lake City. I opened up my private practice a few years ago in Pleasant Grove, Utah, and work primarily with people struggling with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
I love being a therapist and instructor. Both afford me the opportunity to teach others and watch them grow and succeed. On a personal note, I have been married ten years. I have two daughters, and I enjoy running, traveling, and cooking. This picture of me was taken about five years ago on the California coast, which is one of my favorite vacation spots.
- Laura Hamm
My name is Laura Hamm, and I have been a general education instructor for Independence University for two years. I have taught pre-algebra, college algebra, and physics during my tenure here.
I was raised and still live in the small town of Stanford, Kentucky, where I also teach geometry and pre-calculus at Lincoln County High School, my alma mater. I graduated from Cumberland College where I majored and minored in math and physics, respectively, and have earned two master’s degrees, one in secondary mathematics and the other in educational leadership from Eastern Kentucky University.
Even though I have a passion for teaching, it’s the connection I get to make with students of all ages that I truly enjoy the most.
- Dr. Andrew Black
Dr. Andrew Black received his Ph.D. in professional studies in education from Capella University in 2010. He has also received an MS in healthcare informatics, an MBA in technology management, and undergraduate degrees in electronics engineering and business.
Dr. Black has worked professionally in the IT operations industry since 1990, including a position as manager of IT for the $1.5 billion I-15 reconstruction project in Salt Lake City prior to the 2002 Winter Olympics. He has also been the IT project manager and director for multiple large building design reconstruction projects, including most recently the $24 million renovation of the University of Utah College of Nursing, which also implemented a 13,000-square-foot nursing simulation center with more than $5 million in technologies. This is now one of the top simulation centers in the United States.
Dr. Black began teaching in higher education in 2000, instructing technology courses with ITT Technical Institute. He has also been an associate dean with ITT and has taught at Salt Lake Community College.. He is currently the associate dean over the MIS program with Independence University and Stevens-Henager College. He is also the executive director of educational technologies and an assistant professor with the University of Utah College of Nursing. In his “spare” time, Dr. Black operates a small IT business repairing broken cell phones and fixing computers. He also does painting in homes and small businesses. He is the local Scoutmaster for his area and enjoys playing many different sports.
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Why Choose Independence University?
At Independence University, our flexible online degree programs will help you prepare for employment in some of today’s most rewarding job fields. Our programs are career-focused, without elective courses that you don’t want or need. You can finish your degree in as few as 20 months!4 Contact an admissions consultant today.
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Independence University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) is a recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education.
“Independence University gave me the opportunity to have that flexibility to spend time with my family, my three little kids, and still go to school. Independence University was a great fit for me.”
- Dustin Groves
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
“Thanks to earning my master’s degree, it gave me the confidence to open up a business.”
- Mimi Raza
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
“I like to be in a classroom setting. I was definitely scared when I first enrolled at IU. With the online learning platform and the support I received from my instructors and my associate deans online, I really didn’t feel a difference between being online and being in a classroom. I still had all the same resources. I had the same support.”
- Taban Bustani
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
“The instructors were very knowledgeable. They’ve all had real-world experience, and they can share their experiences with you to help you advance your career.”
- Jamie Bingham
Master of Public Health (MPH)
“I think IU has made me a better person. Before, I was just going through life. I had done my military time, and I didn’t know where to go. Now, since I’ve gone to IU and I’ve gotten my degrees, it’s taken me in a whole different direction. I see life differently now from the classes that I’ve been through. It’s a whole different ballgame. Once you get an education, then you see things differently.”
- Eddie Underwood
Master of Healthcare Administration (MS)