Certificate Program Translates to a Second Career
When Jeremy Friedland, of Parsippany, contemplated changing his career as a professional musician to a position in health care, he decided to ease into the field by first earning a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certificate at County College of Morris (CCM).
“I was interested in becoming a nurse, but wanted to get my feet wet first to make sure I liked the field,” says Friedland. At age 29, he graduated from the CNA Program in 2016 and soon after began his career on the orthopedic floor at Morristown Medical Center. In January, he enrolled in the Nursing Program at CCM.
“I was excited to secure my job because hospital jobs tend to be hard to get,” he says, “Many of the nurses I work with went to CCM. They said the program was extremely difficult but they felt prepared to work as a nurse.” He adds that he feels very lucky to have received tremendous support from both his parents and everyone he has met at CCM.
Seeking a Greater Sense of Purpose
In 2008, Freidland earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Montclair State University, then studied for his master’s at Yale University. Upon graduating, he played in orchestras as a professional bassoonist. He enjoyed the work, but eventually realized he wanted a career that gave him a greater sense of purpose.
“I really do love the work on the orthopedic floor,” he says. “People come in with problems, they get fixed, go home and get better. It’s a very positive environment.”
Friedland’s route to health care may be an unusual one, yet studies show that more and more people are earning associate degrees to transition to a new career. In fact, the American Association of Community Colleges estimates that one out of every 14 people who attend a community college has already earned a bachelor’s degree.
In his work as a nursing assistant, Friedland helps people with all their daily activities, from bathing to walking after surgery. He also takes vital signs and removes intravenous lines and catheters.
“One time, an older woman with a broken shoulder wanted to take a walk around the hall,” he recalls. “Sometimes, it’s hard to find the time, but I helped her dress and walked her up and down the hall. That made a big difference in her day. She was happy to move and feel normal again. That’s when I thought, ‘I could get used to this – coming to work and brightening up other people’s days!’”