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Student Profile: Damien R.

Damien R. was well on his way to completing an x-ray technician program in Tennessee when the state Board of Education halted the program’s funding. Thrown off guard, Damien returned to California and began to consider an alternative career. Damien’s mother, who worked at Mercy San Juan Hospital, recommended Futuro Health’s Medical Assistant or Health IT Specialist programs, which would offer him the chance to merge his passion for health care and computers.

“Back in my childhood, I was really interested in computers. I would go on the web and make fan websites for celebrities,” Damien explains. “I thought to myself, this may be a part of my passion.”

In April 2021, Damien enrolled in Futuro Health’s online, tuition-free Health IT Specialist Program, a self-paced, 6-month program that allowed him to work during the day and take courses in the evening. With content created by John Hopkins University, IBM and Google, the curriculum prepares students with the knowledge and skills to be health IT specialists or help desk analysts. Upon completion, students receive a Google IT Support Specialist COMP TIA A+ certification.

Damien’s student journey wasn’t always easy. Along the way he had to make a few adjustments, including finding a way to balance work, studies, and family.

“The biggest obstacle for me was finding the time,” Damien explains. He says he was grateful his courses were self-paced and online, so he could complete assignments when he was available and review when he wanted a refresher.

“I met with my counselor a few times when I had questions,” Damien says, “They were helpful, attentive, and always checking in.” Damien credits his Futuro Health Navigator with showing him diverse and flexible job opportunities that would be available once he completed the Health IT Specialist Program, which made him even more excited to pursue the career.

“You always think IT is specifically about working on computers, but there are so many other jobs available. It’s fascinating how vast it is,” Damien explains.

Today, Damien works remotely for a medical call center, where he assists people with internet programs, navigating websites and online password help. He is excited for the opportunities to continue growing in this role, and for what may be coming next.

For anyone interested in making a career change with Futuro Health, Damien recommends taking the opportunity to keep moving forward.

“Don’t get stuck. Sometimes you get the feeling that you don’t know what you want to do and that takes a lot of your time,” he explains. “Go back and see what fascinated you when you were a kid. There are things in your life that you can put together to find what you really want to do.”