Budgeting 101

Budgeting is an important aspect of personal finance. Regardless of how much money you make, you need to know what you’re spending it on and how to plan for the future.

There are many benefits to creating and using a budget, such as a better credit score, less debt, and increased long-term financial security, but how do you create an effective budget? What can you do today to start budgeting and planning for your future?

Budgeting 101

Read on as we share our top budgeting tips with you!

Create Your Monthly Budget

The first thing you need to do for budgeting success is to create a monthly budget. With a monthly budget, you know how much money you have coming in and how much you expect to spend for the month.

To start, add up how much money you have coming in each month so that you know exactly what you have to work within your monthly budget. For income from a job, be sure to use your after-tax take-home pay, because this is the amount you can actually spend.

Next, you need to add up all your monthly expenses. If you’ve never created a budget before, this part can seem intimidating. The best place to start is to gather all your monthly bills, look at your bank and credit card statements, and make a list of everything that you’re spending money on and the monthly amount. Here is a list of expenses from Credit.org that you should be tracking:

  • Housing – rent, mortgage
  • Utilities – gas, electricity, water, sewage
  • Car – car payment, gas, insurance
  • Loans – student, credit card bill
  • Amenities – internet, phone, monthly subscriptions
  • Medical – healthcare insurance, bills
  • Necessities – clothes, household products
  • Groceries – food, pet food
  • Entertainment – activities, gifts, dining out
  • Miscellaneous – random expenses

In addition to the expenses above, you also need to account for any quarterly, bi-annual, and annual expenses you may have. These need to be added in monthly, so that you can be sure you’re properly saving for the expense. For example, if you only pay your property taxes once per year, then divide the amount by 12 and include it in your monthly budget.

After you have your total income and total expenses, you need to create a chart to track them. You can do this in whatever way works best for you, whether that’s in a spreadsheet or in a notebook.

Once your chart is created and everything listed out, subtract your expenses from your income. If you have money left over after doing this, that amount would be great to put into savings. If you’re in the negative after doing this, you need to cut some of your expenses or increase your income.

Needs vs Wants

As you create your budget, really think about each item and whether it’s a need or a want. To keep it simple, needs are things that you need to live such as housing, utilities, food, and clothing. Wants are things that you don’t need but are nice to have, like entertainment, eating out, and going on vacation.

The reason you need to look at these expenses separately is that if you need to lower your expenses, you’ll have to take away from your wants.

Track Your Actual Spending

Once you have your monthly budget set up and ready to go, you need to track your actual monthly spending to ensure that you’re staying on budget and determine if changes are needed in your budget.

There are a few ways to do this including looking at your bank and credit card statements and manually adding everything up, or using software like Mint, a free budget tracker and planner that basically does all the tracking for you.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred method, compare your actual spending to your monthly budget to see if you need to adjust your budget. For example, if you are spending more on food than you expected, you need to adjust this in your monthly budget moving forward so that it’s accurate.

Save for Your Future

Saving is important for future needs and wants like buying a house, investing in your education, or going on a dream vacation.

In order to save consistently and effectively, you need to add the amount you want to save each month to your monthly budget. Look at the monthly amount you save like it’s a bill you are paying to your future self.

Ready to get on the fast-track to a great career?

With your budget on-track, you’re ready to invest in your future. At OVCT, you can get the associate degree, hands-on training and professional certifications needed for a great career. Requested information today to get started!

A Discussion With Sandy Poynter – Medical Office Administration Program

Medical Office Administration Highlight

Ohio Valley College of Technology offers a Medical Office Administration program at the campus in East Liverpool, Ohio.  Sandy Poynter, CBCS, CCMA, lead Instructor for the program is a two-time graduate of OVCT in the Medical Office Administration and Medical Assisting programs.  Mrs. Poynter has returned to the college after several years of workforce experience to share her expertise with future students.  She is a Certified Billing and Coding Specialist and Certified Clinical Medical Assistant.  Mrs. Poynter says that students in the program will acquire a variety of skills, including

  • managing and updating patient records,
  • scheduling appointments and greeting patients,
  • recording medical histories and interviewing patients,
  • performing general insurance billing services (preparing insurance forms) utilizing ICD, HCPCS, and CPT Coding
  • managing electronic health records
  • performing basic computer functions,
  • ordering and maintaining supplies
  • organizing office files
  • managing accounts payable and receivable
  • arranging for patient hospital admissions
  • working with many different types of insurers (i.e, Medicare/Medicaid, HMO’s, PPO’s, etc.)

Students receive training for the following medical office certifications in the program and are eligible to take the certification exams for these nationally recognized credentials through the National Healthcareer Association:

  • Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS)
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
  • Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CERHS)

Mrs. Poynter says that employers are seeking graduates who are certified in their field because they want to know whether an individual possesses the skills and knowledge required for the position.  Certifications, in addition to an associate degree, enhance the employability of graduates.

Medical Office Administration Highlight 2

Students in OVCT’s Medical Office Administration training program develop the following skills and attributes:

Organizational skills:  Graduates must have an eye for detail to avoid any clerical errors that could cost their patients or workplace money.

Communication skills:  Successful employees in the medical office will be able to greet patients in a warm and welcoming manner, collect and relay important information to their fellow workers, and translate information for patients who may not understand medical jargon.

Friendly & Outgoing:  Students will learn how to be approachable and how to interact professionally in the workplace.

Patient:  Medical office employees need to stay calm in times of crisis and must be able to handle stress appropriately.

Multitasking:  Positions in the medical field often require individuals to handle multiple tasks at once while working in a fast-paced environment.

Good Listener:  Employees must have good listening skills in order to enter accurate patient information, and be able to follow detailed instructions given by doctors or other healthcare professionals for ordering patient testing or other services.

Adaptable:  Students must be able to bounce between patient interaction and administrative tasks, while continually treating patients in a manner that makes them feel comfortable.

Sandy says that students frequently ask if they can work from home as graduates of the program.  The answer depends on multiple factors such as the company’s policy, the level of experience of the graduate, and the ability of the employee to work independently.  Prospective students also want to know the length of the course.  The Medical Office Administration Associate Degree courses are scheduled so that a student can graduate in as little as 18 months.  Complete details regarding course scheduling and time frame for completion are reviewed by the admissions department when meeting with each prospective student.

All OVCT students are required to complete an externship in a medical office during their final quarter.  The externship experience is designed to give students practical, hands-on experience in their field of study.  To prepare for the externship, students will learn the basic fundamentals of a medical office career in the classroom.  During the externship, students will put into practice what they have learned in class and develop additional skills during the practical application.

Job opportunities for graduates exist in a variety of areas that may include physician’s offices, dental or optical offices, insurance companies, and hospitals or clinics.  Job opportunities may exist as a medical secretary, medical biller/coder, medical transcriptionist, hospital admissions clerk, unit clerk, or in other areas.

Over the next 10 years, Mrs. Poynter sees more medical offices out-sourcing their billing needs to third-party billing companies or employees who work from home.  Along with all of the professional responsibilities, she says that a career in a medical office has an impressive potential for growth.  By working in this field, individuals can lead a successful professional life and develop a solid career that supports a great life.  Mrs. Poynter indicates that opportunities in this field are expected to grow in the coming years.  She states, “At OVCT we not only offer an education, but we offer students the chance at a life-changing career!  We strive for the success of each and every one of our students and treat them like a family.”  To learn more about how to succeed with medical training in short-term courses with small classes, contact the admissions office at OVCT or request more information here.

Top 5 Resume Tips to Get Noticed

When applying for jobs, it’s more important than ever to have a professional resume that shows recruiters and hiring managers why you’re best for the job. You only get one chance to make a great first impression!

Your education, experience, skills, certifications, and achievements should be presented in a professional and easy-to-understand resume, as this can put you a step ahead of the competition.

Read on as we share our top five resume tips to get you noticed!

Resume Tips

Use a Resume Template

Resume experts know the secret to a professional, attractive resume is a resume template. Now you can take advantage of this secret too! Using a resume template can make you stand out from the competition by presenting your information professionally and in a visually appealing way.

With both free and paid resume template options available, you can find one that meets your needs. When choosing a resume template, the most important thing to remember is that the template needs to be easy to navigate and professional. For example, choose a template with headlines that clearly mark each section so that recruiters can easily find the information they need.

Be sure to choose a template that aligns with your industry, such as a medical-looking template for healthcare industry jobs.

Here are some resume templates to get you started:

Utilize Keywords

When applying for a job, oftentimes your resume is entered into something called an applicant tracking system, which is a database of resumes that a company has received. The applicant tracking system allows hiring managers to search resumes and find candidates that have the necessary experience, education, and certifications for a specific position.

Be sure to use the same keywords that recruiters are using to search for resumes in their applicant tracking system, as this will optimize your resume, making it easier to find.

Knowing which keywords to use is key here. You can find out by looking through the job description for the most important things they want in a candidate, such as education, experience, skills, and certifications. Once you’ve found the keywords, use them when writing your resume.

Include Essential Information

When creating your beautifully-designed resume, be sure to include all information that hiring managers need to assess your qualifications for the specific job. Here is the list of relevant information to include:

  • Name and contact information – Include your full name, a professional email address, and your phone number at the beginning of your resume.
  • Education – Add the degree, school, and year you graduated for your education.
  • Experience – List relevant experience including the company, job title, dates you worked there, and a description of your job.
  • Certifications – Include certifications and the date you earned them.
  • Skills – Add your skills that are relevant to the job.
  • LinkedIn – Include a link to your updated profile in your resume, as this allows you to show off recommendations and endorsements.

You can also add professional achievements, volunteer experience, and any technology or software that you’re proficient into your resume.

Keep It Short and Sweet

When everything is important, it can be hard to keep your resume short and sweet, but you should really try to keep it two pages or less. One way to make your resume more readable and shorter is to use bullets instead of long paragraphs.

Hiring managers are busy and may not have time to read through your resume if it’s too long. If you’re having trouble getting it down to two pages, continue to edit and then edit some more. Take some time away and then edit it again with fresh eyes.

Include action verbs in your resume when talking about the things you have done, such as create, produce, manage, analyze, develop, and lead. Action verbs show that you get stuff done!

Double Check Spelling and Grammar

When trying to make a great first impression on recruiters and hiring managers, you never want to submit a resume with spelling or grammar mistakes. To prevent this from happening, double check everything in your resume!

Microsoft Word has a great spelling and grammar checker that you can use to look for errors in your resume. Sometimes it can be hard to catch your own mistakes, so ask someone else to proofread your resume for you.

Time to Shine

It’s time to shine with your beautiful, professional resume! Submit your resume in PDF format so the design is kept in place and write a great cover letter explaining why you are perfect for the job.

At OVCT, our career services department can help you create the perfect resume to get you noticed.

Want to get on the fast-track to starting a great career? Request information now to get started!

Sierra Warrick – Student Highlight

Sierra Warrick

Sierra Warrick, a student at Ohio Valley College of Technology pursuing her Associate Degree in Medical Assisting, was previously enrolled at another university seeking a degree in Business Management.  Sierra wasn’t happy with her experience there.  She felt that classes were too long and that her teachers never made a personal connection with students.

Sierra made the decision to attend OVCT because she was looking for a college where she could earn her degree in a healthcare program as quickly as possible, and she liked the personal connection of the instructors and staff.  Having no previous medical background, she felt that short-term medical training was the way to go.

Sierra Warrick

Sierra loves the atmosphere created by teachers, staff, and other students at OVCT and how the fast-paced classes allow her to earn her degree quickly.  She specifically states that both Mr. Ream and Mrs. Hedrick really care about their students and help to ensure that they are successful.

Following graduation,   Ms. Warrick hopes to be employed in the local community and to work a schedule that allows her to spend time with her fiancée and two-year-old son.  Her five-year plan includes being married and financially stable so that her family can buy their own house.  When asked if she would refer a friend to OVCT, Sierra states, “Absolutely!  I already did and he has already started classes and I will continue to.”

The Value of Short-Term Degrees

Short-term college degrees that can be completed in less than 24 months give students the opportunity to complete their education and earn valuable certifications quickly.

There are many benefits to earning an associate degree, including starting your career more quickly, earning valuable hands-on certifications, and increased flexibility.

Read on to find out exactly why short-term degrees are so valuable!

OVCT 2018 Grads

Fast-Track Your Career

Earning a short-term college degree puts students on the fast-track to completing their education and starting their career. Instead of spending four to six years in school, students can graduate in as little as 24 months, giving them a head start in their career.

Short-term degrees can be completed much more quickly than 4-year universities and are more career-focused. This means that students don’t have to take classes they don’t need and that don’t apply to their careers.

When earning an associate degree from OVCT, students take the exact classes needed for their specific career path, because who wants to spend hours and hours in classes they are never going to use?

Earn Valuable Hands-On Certifications

Many times, short-term degrees give students the opportunity to earn valuable, hands-on certifications. These certifications show future employers that students have the skills necessary to get the job done.

Certifications are offered through outside organizations and often require passing an exam. Therefore, employers know that students who have these certifications are job-ready. This is why many career fields prefer certifications that show the student’s expertise in a specific area.

Increased Flexibility

Short-term degrees offer students increased flexibility while attending school, which is essential for those who need to balance work, family, and personal responsibilities. Since students only take classes they actually need for their careers, they have more time for everything else.

The ability to balance other responsibilities while earning a degree can make a huge difference in the lives of students by allowing them to continue to work and spend more time with family while earning their degree.

Expanded Career Opportunities

Earning an associate degree opens up expanded career opportunities, as many different fields prefer a degree before you can start your career. An associate degree shows prospective employers that you are willing to work hard to meet your goals.

Short-term degrees prepare students for actual jobs, and in the hiring process, having a degree gives candidates an advantage over someone with no degree.

At OVCT, our short-term associate degrees also come with the added benefit of personalized attention for each and every student. Our purpose is to empower change by creating an opportunity for you!

Ready to Get Started?

With short-term degrees, personalized attention, and career services, OVCT is here to help you succeed in your career. Request information to learn more about our associate degrees today!

A discussion with OVCT Office Manager, Rhonda Stoakes

Rhonda Stoakes

That smiling face you see at the front desk or that friendly voice you hear on the phone every day is most likely Ohio Valley College of Technology Office Manager, Rhonda Stoakes, a veteran of the OVCT Team for over twelve years.

Mrs. Stoakes graduated from Wellsville High School in 1985.  Following high school, she became a manager at McDonald’s for five years before leaving to spend thirteen years in the pottery industry at the former Sterling China.  When Sterling China closed, Rhonda took advantage of the opportunity to attend OVCT through funding from the Trade Adjustment Act.  Rhonda earned an Associate of Applied Business degree in Medical Office Administration and from there she says, “The rest is history.”  In her current role as Office Manager, Rhonda handles day-to-day office operations, accounts payable, ordering of supplies, and serves as the college’s Registrar.  She enjoys keeping the office running smoothly and efficiently.

Rhonda says she “loved coming to school at OVCT.  It has such a great atmosphere, and as a student, I always thought it would be a great place to work.”  She treasures the friends that she has made here and says that her favorite part of working at OVCT is spending time with the students and seeing them grow and prosper.

In her personal life, Mrs. Stoakes enjoys anything outdoors, including riding ATV’s, camping, and working in the yard.  She is most proud of and motivated by her family and her two granddaughters, Arianna (7), and Gabby (3) are her world.  “Even when they are not in my arms or on my lap, they are always in my heart.  I also have the best husband and two sons that I could ask for,” Rhonda says.  The second thing she is most proud of is her degree from OVCT. Rhonda states that “it has opened so many doors for me, especially where I am at today.”

It’s amazing to see where Rhonda is today, as a near-fatal car accident her senior year of high school left her with a broken neck and in halo traction for three months.  At the time, her doctors were amazed that she survived.  “Doctors said that I should have been paralyzed or dead,” she says.  Everyone at OVCT is glad that she survived that scare so that one day she could join our team.  According to Rhonda, “It’s not about being perfect.  It’s about effort.  When you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens.  That’s how change occurs.”

For more information on healthcare career programs or short-term training, contact OVCT at 330-385-1070 and say “hi” to Rhonda or request information here. 

Steps to Apply for Admission to the Nursing Programs at OVCT

Ohio Valley College of Technology (OVCT) located in East Liverpool, Ohio offers a 24-month Associate Degree of Nursing Program with direct admittance and an LPN to RN Bridge program. Direct admission means that you do not have to waste time and money taking extra elective classes allowing most students to complete the program within just 24 months. Enrolling in any nursing program is a long, tedious process. To make sure you get accepted and have a spot in a highly sought-after program you need to be organized and attentive to critical deadlines.

The purpose of this blog is to help prepare you for some of the steps to apply for direct admission into any of the OVCT Nursing Programs.

  1. Nursing Program by visiting us online, calling (330) 385-1070 or stopping into our campus.
  2. Schedule an appointment to come in and learn about the nursing programs and see if you are a good fit for the school. This program requires a lot of commitment. The nursing program asks students to allow 50 hours per week (40 hours of instruction and 10 hours of outside study time) of time to be successful in this program.
  3. Apply online at OVCT.edu or apply in person.
  4. Potential students will need to request OFFICIAL copies of transcripts from your high school and any college you have attended. Official Transcripts should be requested and sent directly to the admissions office or brought in unopened from the institution. Faxed or emailed transcripts, or transcripts that are not in a sealed envelope from the institution will not be accepted.
  5. Schedule and study for the TEAS entrance exam.
      • The exam is taken on campus and is around 3.5 hours long.
      • This test requires 2-3 weeks or preparation and study time. DO NOT WAIT…THE PROGRAM FILLS FAST!
  6. If the student passes the TEAS exam (results are provided on the same day), a one-hour interview with the Director of Nursing will be scheduled.
  7. The student will need to bring their completed application which includes two professional references and an essay to the interview.
  8. The Director of Nursing will then decide if the student is accepted or denied direct admission to the program.
  9. If the student is accepted into the program, the next step is to set up an appointment with financial aid to cover financial information and actions needed to obtain appropriate clearances.
  10. Completed clearances, immunizations, and disclosures forms are due prior to orientation.
  11. Attend orientation and begin classes.


Steps to Enroll In Nursing Program


Darla Davis – Student Highlight

Darla Davis

Ohio Valley College of Technology Medical Assisting student Darla Davis tried online classes a few times and also attended another local college and it just didn’t work for her.  Darla said the teachers weren’t as friendly or helpful and the atmosphere just wasn’t what she wanted or expected.  She often felt so alone that she ended up quitting.

Before attending OVCT, Darla was working full-time as a caregiver in Pittsburgh.  She knew she needed to make a better life for her three children, so she looked up OVCT mainly because it was local.  She had no idea it was going to be the best decision of her life!

Having been a caregiver for some time, Darla likes to help people so she thought the Medical Assisting program at OVCT would be a perfect fit for her.  She loves the hands-on training and that the teachers and staff really care about students succeeding.  “I love all the new friends I’ve made and I love the family-like atmosphere at OVCT.”

Darla says there are too many great teachers at OVCT for her to pick just one!  “Mrs. Hedrick is so sweet. While I was away sick she texted me daily, checking on me and that meant so much to me.  Mrs. Scott is great.  She always makes me smile and laugh and she really makes it easy to understand the material we are going over.  Mrs. Poynter is an awesome teacher too and she really pushes us to do our best! Mrs. Rogers is a very sweet woman she makes sure to always ask me how I’m doing and you can tell she really cares. Mr. Ream is so funny. There is never a dull moment with him around.  If there are any technical or computer issues, he is the man!  Clinical classes are probably my favorite class because of the hands-on learning.”

Darla Davis 2

After graduation, Ms. Davis plans to be working as a Medical Assistant at a family doctor’s office or at a bariatric office.  She hopes to continue her education to become a Registered Nurse and would like to be married and continue to be the best mother she can be for her children.

Darla says she would most definitely refer OVCT to all her friends and family.  In her own words, “Anyone wanting to better their life and obtain a career should check out this school.  Enrolling at OVCT was the best choice I ever made and I know I wouldn’t be having such a great experience anywhere else.  OVCT pushes me to be the best me I can be and I can’t thank them enough for that!”

Are You Prepared To Leave High School?

High school graduation is right around the corner and although we know you are ready to be done with high school, are you prepared to join the world of adulthood?

OVCT Group Grads

So many decisions need to be made during the junior and senior years of high school, that it can be daunting and stressful. To help you ease through the process, we have developed a list of suggestions to help keep your mind straight and on task.

  1. Do not make college or educational decisions based on friends and family.
  2. You do not need to know your major or career goals today. You still have time to figure that out. Guidance counselors are available in your high school and potential colleges. Let them help guide you through the process.
  3. If you plan on attending college or post-secondary training, get involved in an activity, but don’t overextend yourself.
  4. Get off your phone and experience the moments! Time passes by quickly.
  5. Celebrate your accomplishments!
  6. Every person in life has a story, meet new people, make new friends and enjoy the experience!
  7. Work hard but do not forget to take time to experience life!

Traditional four-year college programs are not for everyone. At Ohio Valley College of Technology (OVCT), we offer numerous career training courses in East Liverpool, Ohio as part of both associate degree and diploma programs. OVCT provides hands-on training, one on one experiences, and small class sizes in a variety of career fields.

Ohio Valley College of Technology offers programs in the following areas:


Medical Assisting

Dental Assisting

Medical Office Administration

Business Administration

We understand that picking a career as a high school senior is a hard decision. If you are interested in starting a career in as little as 24 months, contact us today! We may be able to help!


Refresh Dental – Externship Highlight

A Discussion with Cheyenne Hoops, Dental Assisting Externship Site Coordinator, Refresh Dental

Refresh Dental

The Boardman, Ohio location of Refresh Dental was established in 2013 as a general dentistry office.  The office offers multiple dental procedures including dental hygiene cleanings, restorations, endodontic therapy, scaling and root planning, implants, in-office whitening, take-home whitening custom trays, and prosthodontics.

Ms. Hoops indicates that the current business climate for dental services is increasing at a very positive rate. They are seeing more new patients every day and conducting same-day treatment for those patients.  Refresh Dental also welcomes walk-ins patients!  The sales of dental products continue to increase as the staff informs the patients of the benefits of using powered toothbrushes, take-home whitening kits, MI paste, and high-quality mouthwash.  Cheyenne states, “Patients often don’t have enough knowledge to ask about products that can improve their overall oral hygiene. Therefore, our staff takes their time to explain the benefits.”

Ms. Hoops says that OVCT students who complete externships at their office receive hands-on training in a fast-paced environment. According to her, “they will get fantastic experience learning everything a dental office has to offer.  We have different doctors who have different specialties and a student has a wide variety of experiences to choose from.  We also offer many job opportunities to the students.” She reports that they value having OVCT students complete their externship at Refresh Dental because they “get the opportunity to teach and show the student best-in-class patient care.”

According to Cheyenne, the five-year outlook for dental services is strong and her office location plans to increase patient clientele and grow with the needs of patients.  They plan on having more advertisements, so that more patients can understand the benefit of using certain products and can ask about them in greater detail during office visits.  Overall, they plan to grow as a business in every aspect in the next 5 years to provide the best patient care.

Her advice to future students is to have great organization.  “Do not procrastinate because time will get away from you.  Try your best and strive for greatness at everything you do because one day it will show, and you want to be the best!”

To learn how to earn Dental Assisting certification training and to get started pursuing your Dental Assisting career, contact OVCT today at 330-385-1070.