GNTC's Medical Management Program perfect in 2017

June 2, 2017

When you’re in your 40’s, have three children, and you are starting over from scratch, launching an educational journey into the healthcare industry may sound a little challenging. But for Ringgold’s Katrina Putman, as well as her 19 classmates, it ultimately pushed her into a brand new way of life!

After her employer of 10 years shut its doors forever in April of 2016, Putman felt the pressure. As a GNTC Student of the Year finalist this past year, though, the Northwest Georgia mother of three found her composure and was able to set the tone for herself and her Health Information Management Technology (H.I.M.T.) classmates.

Fifteen of Georgia Northwestern Technical College H.I.M.T. students took the Registered Health Information Technician Certification Exam this spring. Taught by GNTC instructors Donna Estes, Susan Bowman, and Karen Hill, all 15 students who took the certification exams, passed.

And, that includes Katrina Putman.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College Health Information Management Technology instructors Donna Estes, left, and Susan Bowman, right, pose with one of their latest success stories in Ringgold, Georgia’s Katrina Putman.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College Health Information Management Technology instructors Donna Estes, left, and Susan Bowman, right, pose with one of their latest success stories in Ringgold, Georgia’s Katrina Putman.

Two weeks ago, the perfect 4.0 student and her 19 classmates walked the graduation stage in Rome, Georgia. Putman took her walk as an honors graduate. Estes, Putman’s advisor, was who really got her going inside the classroom. She even nominated the non-traditional college sophomore for the college’s G.O.A.L. Award. Each year, the G.O.A.L., Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership, goes to the college’s top student.

Although she didn’t come out on top at the local level, Putman learned what she needed to be able to provide for her family. “I learned how to speak in front of crowds,” proudly said Putman. “And, with me being out of work, I needed that skill set to help me find not only a job, but the right career for myself and my family.” Not two weeks into her unemployment, Putnam had an interview with the Chattanooga Health Institute. Less than an hour after her interview was over, she was called back and asked to take a Control Analyst job with the institute.

“These are the stories that we love to see unfold,” said GNTC Instructor of Health Information Management Technology Donna Estes. “Katrina’s is yet another special story that is an inspiration to others who come to our program.”

Now, more than a year into her new job with the Chattanooga Heart Institute, Putman is proud to wear the moniker of “GNTC Graduate.” “My instructors shoved me out of my comfort zone,” said Putman, “They made me realize that I have no limits except the ones I place on myself.”

Georgia Northwestern is not only helping students find their way in the Health Information Management arena, they are also helping other colleges. GNTC’s sister-schools Augusta Technical College and Georgia Piedmont Technical College also received training from the Walker County, Georgia-based program. GNTC is among the first in the state to have a Health Information Management Technology program.

“These other colleges saw how we have really grown things at GNTC and they wanted to learn what we knew about getting an H.I.M.T. program off the ground,” said Estes. “From laying out an academic plan for our students to have the best chance to succeed, to handling the administrative side of a health information technology education, we do a really good job here at GNTC.” The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates the Health Information Management Technology field to grow more than 20-percent over the next six years. Specialists in the field typically earn between $36,000 and $50,000 each year. However, managers can see salaries above $80,000.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 14,151 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,956 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,195 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at or contact a Student Help Center on any one of our six campus locations at 866-983-4682.  For information online, visit the college at, as well as on GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

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