Yes indeed, that dreaded time is rapidly approaching us all again. Tax time. That time of year when – in a furious run up to April 15 – we all freak out trying to find receipts, make accurate calculations, gather our tax documents and get it all ready to report to the IRS.
If you were enrolled in nursing assistant training school at any point in 2014 (or any post-secondary educational institution) you’re probably eligible for some tax deductions related to your studies that can help lower your tax liability. It could even help increase your tax return!
But you have to be careful to make sure you’re taking deductions you’re entitled to and avoiding ones that you’re not entitled to. Now, as a lowly blogger, I am certainly no tax expert. Nor is the Allen School Blog making any formal financial recommendations to our readers. That said, I will point you toward the following page from the tax experts at Intuit’s TurboTax tax preparation service. They have put together a rather exhaustive list of what you may be able to deduct and what common deduction mistakes to avoid. The TurboTax article answers important and pertinent higher education tax questions as:
- Which expenses qualify?
- What if I receive grants or scholarships?
- Who qualifies?
- How much can I deduct?
- and more!
Read it and get the most out of your tax return this year! Whether you’re enrolled in nursing assistant training school, online medical coding classes, medical assistant training or any other higher educational endeavor, remember, April 15th is the deadline for filing so get a jump on it by starting today!
(Full disclosure: This blogger has been using TurboTax for years with positive results.)
Nowhere is it more important to manage one’s temper and overall demeanor than in the role of medical assistant. Medical assistants as well as most other healthcare career positions require a well-cultivated bedside manner. After all, medical assistants and their colleagues routinely deal with people at their most vulnerable. This would be difficult enough if not compounded by the fact that patients are often in a bad frame of mind precisely because they’re feeling vulnerable (not to mention the discomfort of their ailments).
Like any other fields that require direct service to the public, medical assistants must become very good at maintaining their composure, even in the face of anger. nastiness, impatience and other negative emotions that may be inadvertently directed toward them during the course of their workday. Dealing with this is not necessarily something included in medical assistant training. But failing to manage one’s temper can certainly come back to haunt a person.
This particular example illustrates the worst case scenario in this regard. The story involves a man riding the Tube (the subway) in London one morning commute, when he finds his path is blocked by another man in the crowded train car. The first man shoves his fellow “Tube” rider aside to pass by and lobs an “F-bomb” toward this obstructing fellow so as to punctuate his anger. Later that day, upon arriving at a job interview, the angry rider came to the shocking realization that his interviewer was the very same man he’d cursed at in the Tube that morning.
Moral of the story? Learning to moderate one’s temper has a direct effect on one’s ability to land and maintain a job. This is true in all fields, but especially true in the medical field. Be nice to one another out there!
Next in our long list of “Frankenfoods” that contribute to the ongoing epidemic of obesity and related co-morbidities such as hypertension, high blood pressure, heart disease and others is brought to you by KFC. Yes, KFC is doing its part better than most grease merchants this year. Their Double Down sandwich (which we’ve reported on regularly) and even the recent variation on the heart-stopping theme – the Double Down Dog (blogged about here) is no match for the latest atrocity: the Fire Double Down Maxx!
Its as though KFC is working to single-handedly ensure that there will be plenty of work for those studying to become certified nursing assistants with the Allen School. The Fire Double Down Maxx is two fried, boneless chicken breasts coated in a flaming red, hot-sauce infused batter, acting as buns for what is essentially a hot sauce sandwich with a slice of processed American cheese and a slice of tomato (ostensibly for health reasons). This sandwich alone will surely send scores of Americans running to the ER or the offices of their family practitioner with a host of maladies spanning from indigestion to acid reflux to heart palpitations and who knows what else.
Clearly, we have a lot of fun here at the Allen School blog, lampooning the horrific eating habits of the American public and the merchants of saturated fat who make a tidy profit “giving the people what they want”. But the broader point is simply that these eating habits truly do help ensure there will be no shortage of jobs for people in healthcare roles such as certified nursing assistants. This is why it is a good idea to pursue a career as a certified nursing assistant with the Allen School.
So, you’ve leveraged your medical assistant school experience and landed a good-paying job. Now that the first year of your employment in the medical assistant role is over, you’re facing tax season and you may be hearing some conflicting advice with respect to when best to file your return.
On one hand, as this article from Credit.com suggests, you should consider filing early as possible before the April 15 deadline. According to this piece, the recent hacking thefts of millions of social security numbers is putting record numbers of filers at risk. In order to preempt a fraudulent tax return being filed by thieves who’ve stolen your Social Security ID, Credit.com urges filers to complete and submit their returns ASAP, beating the crooks to the punch.
On the other hand, according to Forbes magazine, there are a number of good reasons why filers should never rush to submit a return. The crux of their argument is that filing amendments to a previously filed return is often a red flag that can prompt the IRS to consider you for a tax audit. Forbes suggests adopting a “measure twice, cut once” attitude toward filing.
Depending on your tax profile, it may make more sense to file quickly and minimize the identity theft potential. This is a good option if you have only one source of W-2 income and take the standard deduction. If you also have a sideline business or have done 1099 contracting; or if you have lots of itemized deductions, you may be better off taking the more pensive and cautious approach outlined by Forbes.
This blogger is NOT a tax attorney and none of this is meant to be taken as financial advice. However, these two opposing strategies are a good starting point for filers to consider which strategy is best suited toward their particular tax profile.
Here’s some data that reveals just how stable the medical career field is compared to the rest in an already volatile economic environment.
When one thinks of fields where growth is likely to remain strong, the technology field immediately comes to mind. After all, computers and technology – hardware and software – are utilized by nearly all other industries. So it would make sense to assume that tech companies wouldn’t make 24/7 Wall Street’s list of “Companies Cutting the Most Jobs”.
The top three companies listed are all tech firms: Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and Cisco Systems. Also on the list representing tech is Sprint and Intel.
Noticeably absent from the list were companies in the healthcare field. This is because healthcare continues to be one of the top most stable career fields according to Labor Department statistics. Anecdotal evidence also supports this strength. After all, companies can go an extra year or two between upgrading hardware and software. But health concerns are always a priority.
If you needed yet another reason to get off the fence and enroll in nursing assistant certification courses with the Allen School, this data supports what we’ve been saying for a long time. Healthcare careers are where its at!
Regular readers of this blog know we have been covering the happenings at Microsoft with respect to their popular Windows operating system (or OS) because this is a critical tool for those who study medical billing classes online with Allen School. Today, we’re sharing some good news if you’ve been unhappy with the latest Windows version 8.0 and 8.1.
Last year, you may recall, Microsoft “sunset” their most popular OS ever, Windows XP. However, there had been numerous new OS releases since XP by the time it was phased out. We made sure those taking medical billing classes online were prepared to upgrade and avoid being left vulnerable to hackers and malicious viruses after XP ceased being supported by Microsoft. Many upgraded at that time to Windows 7 (which many people love) and Windows 8 (which most people hate).
In either case, Microsoft has announced that its newest OS, Windows 10 will soon be released and seeks to undo many of the “upgrades” that made Windows 8 so hard to use. (Note: there is/was no Windows 9.) Most agree the “tiled” home screen and removal of the Start Menu button made 8 a pain in the buttocks to use. Beyond reverting back to a more traditional interface, Windows 10 also boasts a new web browser to replace Microsoft’s Internet Explorer which is still the world’s most popular browser. The best part of the imminent release of Windows 10 is that it will be FREE TO ALL NON-COMMERCIAL USERS. That’s right! If your computer is running Windows Vista, 7, or 8 you’ll be eligible for a free download of the newest OS for absolutely free.
Note, there are several websites claiming to offer the download today. Those are all scams and should be avoided completely. It has not yet been released from Microsoft. However, here’s the link to Microsoft’s site where you can sign up to receive an email when the legitimate free version of Windows 10 is released. At that time you can download it directly from a safe, Microsoft server.
The Allen School Blog loves to poke fun at the abysmal eating habits of the American public. We’ve covered such culinary travesties leading to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc such as the Heart Attack Grill’s Triple Bypass Burger, Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco and KFC’s redonculous Double Down. You remember the Double Down no? A bacon and cheese sandwich with two fried chicken breasts where the bun should be and a mayo-based “special” sauce which is sourced by scraping the hardened arteries of heart attack victims.
Well, KFC has seemingly doubled down on the Double Down (quadrupled down?). They’ve announced a new nutritional abomination known as the Double Down Dog which is essentially a cheese dog with a fried chicken breast for a bun. Gawker.com, always colorful in its reporting, described it thusly:
“Close your eyes and imagine: chicken entrails blended and stuffed into a fleshy, pill-shaped sac, then infused with a savory cheese-inspired paste. Wrap that nuclear taste missile in a slab of breaded poultry, top it with a drizzle of deli mustard, and launch it careening toward your own gaping maw. Do you like it? You’ve just been Doubled Down, Dog, courtesy of KFC.”
Of course, as a training school offering a well-respected nursing assistant course among other healthcare-related educational offerings, we couldn’t be more pleased about this seeming race to the fattest bottom. The more people in America eat this supremely unhealthy fare, the more cases of heart disease, obesity, hypertension, diabetes and other dietary-related ailments there will be and that translates into more job opportunities for those with a certification in nursing assistant, medical office assistant and others. Of course we’re joking, but nevertheless, this is indeed a true story! We should take this opportunity to urge all our readers to eat healthy and exercise.
As of the writing of this post, the northeastern US seaboard sits waiting for the arrival of Winter Storm Juno. Predicted to be a potentially record-shattering snow event, complete with 2-3 feet of the powdery stuff and sustained 50 MPH winds, Juno (and lord how I HATE that they’re naming winter storms now) threatens to shut down the cities of New York, Boston and others along the northeast.
Transit and traffic will come to a standstill. High winds and heavy snows will knock out power to millions, bread and milk shelves in local groceries will be picked clean (if they aren’t already). Everyone is freaking OUT!
But you know who’s calm, poised and veritably un-phased by the imminent snowy destruction? Students taking medical billing classes online with the Allen School. That’s who! Yep. If you were studying medical billing classes online with the Allen School, you’d be all snug in your home, piles of bread and buckets of milk, computer light casting a warm glow on your face, ready to ride out the blizzard-mageddon-zilla. On days like today and tomorrow and Wednesday, we’re all envious of the men and women who had the forethought to pursue a new career from the comfort of their own homes via medical billing classes online with Allen School.
Stay safe and warm. We’ll check in on you after we’ve dug ourselves out. In the meantime, enjoy comedian Vic Dibitetto’s viral classic depicting panicked New Englanders when the TeeVee predicts snowstorm.
Whether you love him or hate him, President Barack Obama delivered one heck of a barn burning State of the Union speech last night to Congress and the American people. Did you notice the part of the speech where the president called out medical assistant training? Well he didn’t exactly say the words, “Medical Assistant Training”, but he most definitely spoke at length on the topic of retraining for the careers of the 21st Century.
President Obama had invited a woman named Rebekah Erler who’d written him a letter sharing the hardships and ultimate triumphs her family faced in recent years. In her letter, she talked about how the economic downturn had damaged her family’s earning ability and pointed to her decision to retrain for a new career as pivotal in her family’s rise from the ashes. He used her story as a larger allegory for America and talked about how our country is moving forward by retooling our workforce.
Many students taking medical assistant training courses with Allen School are part of that retooling. Many come to Allen School from poor paying positions in the service sector and other low-earning fields for the chance to better their lot in life by learning the skills needed for a successful career in a robust growth industry – medicine/healthcare. If you’re considering taking the step up and enrolling in medical assistant training courses with the Allen School, there’s no better time than the present to make the call!
Click here for the full text of the SOTU address.
So, you’ve completed your nurse assistant training with the Allen School and you’re setting out to land your first job in your new career. It is important to be up to date on your knowledge of resume writing, cover letters and interview techniques. This is something we’ve covered here for a long time. But today, we’re going to examine the social dynamic of interviewing and provide you with some ammunition to go into your interview with.
As this excellent article in Forbes points out, candidates should not feel like supplicants during the interview process. While some hiring managers seem to go out of their way to ask questions designed to throw the candidate off their game and reveal how they respond under duress, it is important to remember that at this stage of the game, you’re on a level playing field with the person sitting across from you. Sure, they may be your boss once you’ve been hired. But today, you’re an equal. You’re a professional seeking not just a job, but a job that works for you as much as you’ll work for the job.
You should enter an interview with poise and self respect. Don’t allow yourself to be browbeaten and if you are being treated dismissively or unkindly, take that as a sign that this is not the position for you. Be confident, respectful, and calm.
At the end of most interviews, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them about the opportunity or the company. Beyond the standard advice we’ve given regarding this question in the past (research the company and ask about the work, don’t ask about salary yet, etc.) the three questions below demonstrate your confidence and convey that you value yourself and your time as an equal with the interviewing agent.
- What items are on your hot list, the things you most want and need to have completed and off your plate three months from now?
- What is the biggest goal for your department this year, and how would I as a new team member contribute to that goal?
- What is the biggest problem you’re looking to hire someone to solve for you?
Ask these three questions and not only will you gain some critical insight about the nature of the position that you may not have known, but you’ll also telegraph that you have strong self-worth and won’t be someone easily taken advantage of.