Each time Natalya Topova wanted to expand her career possibilities and challenge herself, she’s turned to Community College of Philadelphia.
During her first experience at the College, she obtained a Clinical Assistant proficiency certificate in 2017, which led to a job in the field.
“After a while, I felt I could do more,” said Natalya.
Her proficiency certificate provided stackable credits, which enabled her put those earned credits toward a degree in Health Care Studies, which she received in 2020. She also received a certificate in Phlebotomy. Natalya discovered her strength, and a career path became clearer.
“I never thought I would like phlebotomy or would be around blood,” she said.
Again building on her education, phlebotomy led her to a degree in Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT), which she will earn this year. As a behind-the-scenes technician, she is trained to test blood samples and help doctors diagnose and treat patients. The program also prepares students to take the MLT (Medical Laboratory Technician) ASCP Board of Certification Exam.
She credits the College’s labs, clinical opportunities and resources for helping her be successful in the program.
“I learn best with hands-on training, and I liked that the College has a lab, and we got to use the instruments. The clinicals also helped a lot. Employers like to see that you have a license and clinical training. I also benefitted from the Library—everyone was helpful and nice,” said Natalya.
A working mom, Natalya attended the program part time, enabling her to pursue her education. She is thinking about earning a bachelor’s degree, but she may take a break first before continuing in a four-year program.
For anyone thinking about following their dream of seeking a better career and a degree, Natalya recommends following through with that ambition.
“Definitely do it. Try new things—that’s how I started. I never thought I’d be able to do it. Until you try, you don’t realize what your capable of,” she said.