Rebecca Martin was making a decent living as a respiratory therapist at a nursing home in East Texas, but she wanted to do more with her career. That was two years ago.
Now she is one of 18 from the first graduating class of Occupational Therapy Assistant students who completed the program this past January at Weatherford College.
“I’m a hands-on person,” she said. “On the weekends at the nursing home they (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants) would be there. I asked constantly what I could do to help. That’s how I got started.”
During the six-semester program, Martin and her fellow students met several days a week at WC’s Education Center at Mineral Wells. Many of the students drove in from all areas of the Metroplex or from the Wichita Falls area, but Martin made the trek from Tyler.
“With the drive some of them had to make it can become a real grind,” Program Director Mike McGough said. “They leave early in the morning and don’t see their family until late at night. Then they still have school work, and some worked a job on top of it all. They are really a motivated group of people.”
After being accepted into the Weatherford College program, Martin learned of a closer OTA program, but she stuck with her initial decision.
“I felt it was worth the drive,” she said. “If I had to do it again I would.”
But there were many times the strain of driving nearly 180 miles each way became too much. On top of her classwork, Martin continued to work at the nursing home, raised her child and was faced with a breast cancer diagnosis.
“At times it was hard,” she said. “At times during the class I wanted to give up.”