Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson ’23 may have taken the road less traveled when pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Methodist University. But in the eyes of the new Health Care Administration graduate, Johnson wouldn’t have it any other way.

As fate would have it, the Elm City native first visited Methodist University with her family during a campus tour as a high school student in 2004.

“It was one of my top options coming out of high school,” Johnson said. “My dad told me to go to Methodist University and, truthfully, I should have listened.”

Johnson decided to attend another university before leaving two years in so she could support her family through a full-time job. Johnson worked in customer service and technical support before landing a gig with Blue Cross Blue Shield – sparking a passion for the health care administration field.

“I feel like there’s a large population of people that don’t know what their health benefits are, and they don’t know what they have access to,” she said. “I love being able to help people understand their health insurance.”

Johnson’s career in health care administration started to take off, leading to a billing specialist position with the Hartford Insurance Group. But as time went on, Johnson had a moment of realization.

“I decided I needed to pursue a bachelor’s degree because I wanted an opportunity to help other people in my career,” Johnson added. “More specifically, I want to help underserved communities in my area get access to health care.”

In 2021, Johnson started searching for the best undergraduate programs and quickly found Methodist University – the same institution she thought about attending nearly 20 years ago.

“When I looked into the cost, the curriculum, and the flexibility, Methodist University was at the top of the list,” she said. “It was easily the best option.”

Originally, she considered a Business Administration degree, but the University’s advisors helped her find a program that was a perfect fit for Johnson – MU’s online Health Care Administration program that could be paired with a Business Administration minor.

Not only are Methodist University’s online programs affordable while providing the same expert faculty as its on-campus offerings, but its asynchronous component allows students to fit the program into their busy schedules. The flexibility of the program was key for Johnson, who continues to work full-time while being a mother to her two young children – 9-year-old Tristan and 7-year-old Taegan.

“When I get off work, we sit down as a family and do our homework together in the living room,” Johnson said. “I’m able to show them that mommy is doing her homework, so you need to do your homework, too. Let’s do it together.”

Over the past several years, Johnson has blossomed in MU’s online Health Care Administration program, preparing her for the next chapter of her life.

“I’m so thankful for the faculty and the curriculum of the program,” Johnson said. “I’ve had to conduct my own research and write numerous papers on health care, and it’s helped me learn a lot. The faculty even helped me figure out what career paths are possible with this degree. Although it was challenging, I truly enjoyed it.”

Johnson officially graduated with her bachelor’s degree this December, but she is not stopping there. She will be starting the online Master of Health Administration at Methodist University this upcoming spring.

It’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I can’t imagine going to any other school to complete my degree, so I love Methodist University.

Nicole Johnson ’23

The accomplishment carries extra meaning for Johnson. Not only is she the first person in her immediate family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, but she is thankful for the opportunity to set an example for her children.

“My kids are my inspiration,” she added. “I love that my kids were able to see me further my education. Now, they can fall in line and say, ‘If mommy did it, so can I.’ It’s all about creating a better life and opportunity my children and this does this for them.”

Once Johnson completes her master’s degree, she hopes to stay in North Carolina and work at a hospital, or even start her own business, where Johnson can focus on helping people understand health insurance.

As doors open for Johnson, she said she will always be grateful for the opportunities that were made possible by her education at Methodist University.

“It’s a full circle moment from my 2004 campus visit to now,” Johnson said. “I’m very happy that I chose Methodist University to further my education. It’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I can’t imagine going to any other school to complete my degree, so I love Methodist University.”

Methodist University offers more than 20 online programs with registration still open for the spring. Visit here to learn more about all of MU’s online programs, which include Health Care Administration (bachelor’s) and Health Administration (master’s).