TSTC leads to a second career for veteran

Shad Munguia

Amanda Sotelo, TSTC Staff

Shad Munguia’s background in the health field is extensive, but with the desire to do more and be more, Munguia enrolled at Texas State Technical College and has found career success in a new arena of the medical industry.

In 2009, the 46-year-old earned an associate degree in Health Information Technology and quickly began his career and climbed the corporate ladder.

“My wife was my true inspiration for getting a degree,” said Munguia. “She makes me want to be a better person and I’m so grateful that she supported me in my new journey.”

Before enrolling at TSTC, Munguia served in the U.S. Army and Marines for four and three years, respectively.

It was while in the Army that Munguia served as an Army medic, which kickstarted his medical career.

As a military medic, he learned the ins and outs of the field and upon leaving he went on to work as an emergency room and urgent care medical assistant in San Antonio, and when he returned to his hometown of Harlingen in 2005 he began working in healthcare marketing.

“By the time I returned home I was ready to do more within health care,” he said. “Having already done patient care and marketing, I started looking at what else I could do; and that’s when I found TSTC’s Health Information Technology program. It was the perfect fit.”

Ready for an administrative approach to health care, Munguia worked closely with TSTC’s Veterans Center to get his military benefits in line so that he could enroll and focus on school.

“Everything about my experience at TSTC was excellent,” he said. “From the Veterans Center, which is a great resource for veterans and their families, to my instructors and the training I received, everything allowed me to bring my career full circle.”

Munguia said he was able to connect all of the dots and combine all of his past health care work to what he was learning. He called the training he received through the program an eye opener.

“The program gave me an in-depth look into the industry,” he said. “It prepared me for practicum rotations, internships and my new career. The program really prepares its students within all aspects of the field and gives us the foundation we need to be successful.”

He added that his instructors and their experience, the hands-on training with industry-standard software and equipment and his practicum rotations at two local hospitals in Harlingen and Brownsville fully prepared him and gave him the confidence to enter the workforce.

Immediately after graduating, he was able to put into good use the training he received at TSTC when he accepted a job offer with CIOX Health as a release of information technician and within one year was promoted four times, eventually becoming the regional operational manager overseeing 50 South Texas hospitals from San Antonio to the Rio Grande Valley.

“I trained and hired people in my position, even hiring a handful of TSTC Health Information Technology graduates because I knew they had the training to be great employees,” said Munguia.

Unfortunately, long hours and constant travel put a strain on his family and health, landing him in the hospital for two months to undergo numerous surgeries for abdominal issues.

“The job gave me valuable experience and a great start to a new career, and as much as it hurt to take a step back, I had to, for my family and my health,” he said. “But I have no regrets. It’s all worked out for me.”

Munguia is currently a utilization review technician at Knapp Medical Center, but later this month will begin working with WellMed Medical Management as a clinical operations coordinator.

“This new position is definitely a step up and in the right direction,” he said. “Everything I have achieved is because of TSTC. It changed my life for the better and I’m excited for what’s ahead.”

Munguia still returns to the college to speak with students in the program and serves as the Health Information Technology advisory board president, guiding instructional curriculum and keeping TSTC apprised of industry advancements.

For more information on TSTC Health Information Technology, visit tstc.edu/programs/HealthInformationTechnology.