Mom of 3 College Graduates Takes Her Turn

smiling female Rasmussen graduate

Lilian Perez’s first job in the medical field meant transcribing notes from healthcare providers on a typewriter loaded with three carbon copies. Now she’s graduating from college with a Health Information Technician Associate’s degree she accomplished fully online.

But for those who know Perez, that’s not completely surprising. She’s been adapting in the field of medical transcription for quite some time, including telecommuting for 25 years, even without a formal college education.

But after her three sons graduated college, she decided to go back with encouragement from her family. “It’s Mom’s time to go back to college!” she jokes.

Finding her way in the medical field

Early on, Perez dreamed of becoming a teacher. She started taking college classes through tuition reimbursement benefits she received at the university where she worked as a medical transcriptionist. Between the long commute, working full time and parenting three young children, it was too much. She decide to commit to spending more time with her kids. She didn’t want to miss anything.

At the time, the flexibility of working as a medical transcriptionist worked well for her. She could take breaks to drive her kids to their extracurricular activities even if that meant working late.

However, as she progressed in the field, the medical transcriptionist industry started to change. Deadlines became much tighter, and with voice recognition technology advancing, there was less work to go around. Perez started to consider her other options in the healthcare field. She also wanted to advance her education. “I always wanted to go back to college.”

On Honoring Family

smiling family with city skyline

Not only did Perez want to go back to school for herself, she wanted to do it for her family. Perez’s mother’s passing in 2018 was heartbreaking for her. Her mother had worked as a nurse, and her stories had inspired Perez to go into the medical field herself. She was also an inspiration for Perez to go back to school. “Getting my degree was a way to honor my mom. Everything I do is to honor her,” she says.

Advancing into health information technology

When she started researching schools, Perez was looking for an all-online program, something that wasn’t readily available when she first took college courses. She was surprised to find a 100% online program where she wouldn’t have to step foot on campus at all if she didn’t want to.

She was also happy to find that the Rasmussen University Health Information Technician Associate’s degree was CAHIM accredited, a must if she wanted to apply to become a registered health information technician after graduation. 

Though she was working a fully remote job, she was still a little intimated by taking fully online classes. Her kids walked her through some components of the online courses, like modules and discussion forms, and she got the hang of it quickly.

It wasn’t easy taking a full class load and working full time. “I’m not going to lie—it was tough.” Perez pulled several all-nighters but was extremely successful, making the dean’s list multiple times.

Job searching in the COVID-19 economy

In September of 2020, with only two months left of classes, Perez could see the finish line when, unexpectedly, she was laid off from her job. “It was devastating, but at the same time, it was a relief.” She was happy to have more time to spend in her schoolwork without worrying about balancing both.

She also started to job hunt. “With COVID and so many people unemployed, I didn’t know what to expect.” Perez got started on LinkedIn and uploaded her resume to other job sites. She was surprised but excited when she began to receive invitations to interview. “I was getting Zoom interviews right away, and I owe it all to education at Rasmussen,” she says.

She interviewed a lot, and even when she didn’t get the position, she thought about the experience as practice. When she went in to interview for her current job, they made her an offer on the spot. She accepted right away.

Perez now works as a revenue cycle billing specialist. She does auditing, payment posting and billing for two different healthcare facilities. “Right now, I just love where I’m at.”

Graduating in a pandemic

In April 2021, Perez celebrated her virtual graduation with a small gathering of a family members, organized by her sons. She gets teary-eyed thinking about graduating. “I don’t think I would be where I’m at today if I didn’t go back to school. I think I would still be unemployed or working until three in the morning transcribing.”

She encouraged anyone thinking about starting something new: “Go for it. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

About the author

Kirsten Slyter

Kirsten is a Content Writer at Collegis Education where she enjoys researching and writing on behalf of Rasmussen University. She understands the difference that education can make and hopes to inspire readers at every stage of their education journey.


Related Content

Related Content

Rasmussen Publisher Logo

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit for a list of programs offered. External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen University does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors-masters 0 Credits 90 Credits 180 Credits 48 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE Start Here MASTER'S DEGREE PURSUERS End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE End Here MASTER'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 90 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 180 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-msn chart-credential-laddering-nursing-programs chart-credential-laddering-nursing DNP MSN RN to BSN LPN to RN Bridge Accelerated BSN Professional Nursing ADN Practical Nursing Diploma Pre-Licensure Post-Licensure icon-colored-outline-bank icon-colored-outline-certificate icon-colored-outline-circle-dollar-sign icon-colored-outline-folder-search icon-colored-outline-hand-heart icon-colored-outline-head-blocks icon-colored-outline-head-cog icon-colored-outline-head-heart icon-colored-outline-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-outline-hospital icon-colored-outline-lifelong-learning icon-colored-outline-light-bulb-analytics icon-colored-outline-location-pin icon-colored-outline-magnifying-glass icon-colored-outline-monitor-healthcare icon-colored-outline-monitor-paper-search icon-colored-outline-nurse-rays icon-colored-outline-padlock-shield icon-colored-outline-person-presenter-screen icon-colored-outline-scales ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-colored-advance icon-colored-arrows-cross-curve icon-colored-briefcase-star icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-development icon-colored-duo-chatbox icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-forward-ribbon icon-colored-gears-clock icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-hand-bubble icon-colored-hand-stars icon-colored-hands-gear icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-head-cog icon-colored-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-hospital-building icon-colored-laptop-cbe-skyscraper icon-colored-laptop-checkmark icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-location-map icon-colored-location-pin icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-mortarboard-dollar icon-colored-national icon-colored-people-chat-bubbles icon-colored-person-cheer-star icon-colored-person-laptop-checkboxes icon-colored-person-screen-instructor icon-colored-person-whiteboard icon-colored-phone-chatbox icon-colored-police-light icon-colored-prep icon-colored-presenter icon-colored-regional icon-colored-save-time icon-colored-shirt-hat icon-colored-skyscraper icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-triangle-arrow-up-plant icon-triangle-calendar-pencil icon-triangle-clock-rotating-arrows icon-triangle-display-gears icon-triangle-hand-right-speech-bubble icon-triangle-laptop-coding-brackets icon-triangle-mortarboard icon-triangle-paper-ribbon icon-triangle-person-cheer-star icon-triangle-person-juggle icon-triangle-triple-people-chat-bubble icon-modality-campus icon-modality-field icon-modality-online icon-modality-residential icon-arrow icon-bank icon-camera icon-filter icon-general-chart icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-hat icon-general-heart icon-general-laptop-building icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-money icon-general-paperwork icon-general-people icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-head-heart icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-mglass icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-scales icon-share-square-o icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-spinner icon-tag icon-testimonial-quotes icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-circle-arrow-down icon-util-circle-dot icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x rebrand-arrows icon-social-facebook-colored icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram-colored icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p-colored icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-colored icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play graduate-cap-star-coin hand-coin hand-heart nurse-stethoscope-rays card-send-smile person-yoga-pose suitcase-star