08:32 AM

Local veteran and mother embark on a journey to health career


Michelle Redding, veteran student finally embarks on a health profession journey after 25 years.

Retired veteran student Michelle Redding is finally on track to a health career at South Texas College and is joined by her mother on their academic journey.

The McAllen native had wanted to pursue a career in the health field influenced by her membership in HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) in helping others and her father’s diagnosis with diabetes which eventually led to death.

Shortly after high school, Redding joined the Navy in 1996 hoping to get medical experience but was recruited to work in aviation as an aerographer stationed in Fort Worth, TX.

“I’ve always been interested in the medical field and wanted to get into the medical aspect of it but at that point in time I wanted to join, they said, ‘we have nothing,’ shares Redding, “So, I settled on working in weather.”

Her job duties included sky readings on clouds or inclement weather, a job she eventually took to Yokosuka, Japan in 2001.

Redding enjoyed the change of scenery Japan had to offer even though she was filling in for other positions.

“I was hopping desks for so long because one of the workers was on paternity leave and the other left, so I was the only woman working with the night crew, but I enjoyed being there.”

She eventually returned to the Rio Grande Valley in pursuit of her education in medical terminology and coding; a passion she had wanted to pursue since her father’s passing.

“In 2008, I attended classes at the former San Antonio Community College of Medical and Dental Assistance,” said Redding. “I enrolled in the MOS (Medical Office Specialist) program and received my diploma but soon found it irrelevant because nobody had heard of the testing we took. It was not recognized by the state at that institution.”

With her dream delayed, Redding decided instead to apply as a substitute teacher with Edinburg’s RGV College teaching to adult learners.

After numerous false starts and two years as an educator, Redding finally decided to enroll with STC and embark on what she calls an “academic refresher” joined by her 71-year-old mother, Patricia Estes.

“She said she needed something to do after retirement and was bored,” shares Redding on her mother. “She said ‘I can’t be doing word search puzzles for the rest of my life; I need to do something’,"
student and veteran Michelle Redding

Redding and Estes enrolled in the Health Information Technology program this fall semester and are quickly learning how the textbooks have changed since they’ve last been in school.

“Back then, this coding book here has changed from a nine to a ten,” said Redding pointing to her medical coding book. “But you know what, I don’t remember the health data, A&P terms (Anatomy and Physiology) and the laws are different now.”

Though Redding has been out of school for 10 years and her mother 30 years with a bachelor’s in hand, the need for productivity was always there.

“She said she needed something to do after retirement and was bored,” shares Redding on her mother. “She said ‘I can’t be doing word search puzzles for the rest of my life; I need to do something’” Redding said chuckling.

The mother-daughter duo share two classes together and spend most of their time studying Mondays and Tuesdays.

Redding also adds that those who are wanting to return to school after a period of time should “slow down.”

 “I know four classes is considered fulltime but there’s no law that says you have to be a full-time student,” she said. “Slow down, baby steps, there’s no rush and don’t let anyone rush you.”

After Redding receives her associates in Health Information Technology, she plans to open her own medical billing service office in the Valley.

For more information on STC’s Health Information Technology Associate of Applied Science visit, https://nah.southtexascollege.edu/hmas/