From DSP to RN – Educational Opportunities at Liberty ARC
“Liberty ARC is my home away from home,” Liz Ubiles said. “Working for this agency for 10 years has made me who I am. The support I received while I was going to school was so amazing that I wanted to stay after I graduated.”
Liz is a Registered Nurse (RN) for Liberty ARC, and prior to becoming an RN, she was a Direct Support Professional (DSP) at the agency. She utilized the agency’s “Back to School” programs for tuition reimbursement in order to go to school, and salary enhancement upon obtaining her associate degree.
“Working as a DSP, I saw a lot of medical work being done,” she said. “I was so curious, and I really wanted to go to nursing school to learn more. The schooling programs at Liberty influenced me to get the ball rolling and finally go back to school.”
Liberty ARC reimburses full-time employees for $286 per credit hour, to a maximum of $1,144 per semester (or $2,288 annually) for courses at an accredited college. Reimbursement is contingent upon attaining a grade of “B” or higher.
After the employee receives his/her degree, Liberty ARC will also offer a base salary enhancement ($1000 for an associate degree; $1500 for a bachelor’s degree; and $2000 for a master’s degree.)
While working full-time hours as an awake night DSP, Liz also attended nursing school at Fulton Montgomery Community College. It took her approximately three and a half years to receive her nursing degree.
After graduating, she remained a DSP until an RN position at Liberty ARC became available.
“When the time came, and I had my nursing degree, staying at Liberty just felt right,” she said. “It’s home.”
Liz thinks the agency’s “Back to School” programs are important because they give employees an incentive to go after their educational dreams.
“If you have a goal to go back to school, and you’re on the fence about it, these programs add that little bit more incentive to just do it,” she said. “Liberty works with you and supports you, and being more educated helps you better understand why you’re doing what you’re doing when it comes to your job.”
Liz said the program still influences her because she plans to go back to school for her Bachelor’s Degree in nursing.
“Anyone thinking of going back to school should take their time and make sure they know what degree they want to obtain,” she said. “Choose something you’re passionate about – then take advantage of any and every benefit Liberty offers, they’re there for a reason – they want you to utilize those benefits.”