NTC’s Flexible Learning Brings Jennifer Rudquist Closer to a Second Degree 

A portrait of a woman with long brown hair wearing a Minnesota Wild jacket and cap.

Jennifer Rudquist has been in the arts for most of her life. She wanted to pursue a career in vocal performance and got the opportunity to turn her passion into a business. Rudquist successfully managed her own DJ and karaoke business for 11 years, but her life started to change after starting a family with her husband.  

Rudquist wanted to find a career with stability and a flexible schedule so she could spend time with her growing family. After some searching, she found Northwest Technical College’s Medical Coding certificate program.  

“I noticed that NTC was listed as one of the top institutions for medical coding,” she said. “It was even better that I could complete my certificate online and still get access to a quality learning environment.”  

NTC’s Medical Coding certificate was only the beginning of Rudquist’s journey. Reaching the end of her certificate program, Rudquist felt inspired to fulfill the complete diploma pathway.  

Shortly after earning her associate’s degree, Rudquist started working at Essentia Health. She worked in the company’s billing department where she gained first-hand field experience. But she was not quite ready to end her academic journey.  

“I noticed that I was only 15 credits away from a second degree in health care administrative leadership,” she said. “I knew that a second degree could bolster my knowledge of the field.”  

She returned to NTC and is currently completing that second degree. As a busy mom of four, with a full-time job and completing her degree, Rudquist has found NTC’s program to be enriching and a source of flexibility.  

“The instructors have been incredibly supportive,” Rudquist said. “They are flexible and have worked with me to make sure I am getting what I need.”   

Life for students is not always predictable, and the support of dedicated faculty can have a significant impact. After falling ill in the fall of 2021, Rudquist worked to stay on track with her coursework with the support of her instructors. 

“Flexibility is important to student success,” Rudquist said. “It is motivating to know that your teachers care about your academic success and are willing to work with you to make that happen.”  

Her career in medical coding has given flexibility in her daily life, not only allowing her to spend more time with her family, but also providing options for career growth. Living in a small rural town in Hackensack, Minn., creates some obstacles for getting to and from work. So, working remotely has given her a positive experience.  

Rudquist plans to continue exploring the health care field by working up to a bachelor’s degree in health care administrative leadership.  

“The experience between learning has been vastly different,” Rudquist said. “It has been eye-opening, but I am interested in taking on a leadership role again.”  

Her academic journey has taught her to keep an open mind about her career path and where it might lead her. Life may be unpredictable, but from Rudquist’s experience, education can open doors to new opportunities.

Story written by Lily Bauer, NTC Office of Communications & Marketing