JustinWilliamsonJustin Williamson is not your typical senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He’s considered a non-traditional student because he works full-time while attending school part-time. Williamson earned an associate’s degree, but wanted to find a school that would transfer his credits and allow him to continue to work full-time.

“UAB was a natural fit, and the School of Health Professions reached out to me and helped me get on track with my educational goals,” said Williamson.

Like his mother, who is a nurse, Williamson knew he wanted to go into the health care industry to help people. At the same time, he knew his skills set were better suited behind the scenes instead of direct patient care. He discovered the Health Information Management program in the Department of Health Administration where professionals design and maintain health information systems. Another plus for him was that classes were offered online during their junior year to allow students to continue working. During their senior year, all students are online for their classes.

“With the ever-changing rules and regulations for medical documentation, the need for HIM professionals would only increase,” said Williamson. “I hope to be able to handle the documentation, so that physicians and nurses can focus on what really matters—the patient’s care.  If I can relieve that burden from them, then I will succeed in my goal.”

With a full-time load of work and school and a little refereeing soccer games on the side, Williamson will get to pursue his dreams sooner than he thought.

“Through commitment and hard work, I’ve been able to increase my GPA by showing improvement in all of my classes,” said Williamson. “By successfully taking on one additional class per semester, I even pushed my graduation date up an entire year!”

After he graduates in May 2013, he hopes to start at the bottom and work his way up in the field he takes pride in.

“My short-term goal is to secure an entry-level position in the field so that I have an opportunity to show my ability to my employer and potentially move up in the organization,” said Williamson. “My ultimate goal is to become an HIM Director at a large hospital, but I am excited to work my way up and earn that position over time.”