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Preston Schow discovers the pulse of his healthcare career through online education

After earning two bachelor’s degrees from Boise State University, Preston Schow’s heart is full.

“My grandpa was the head librarian when it was still Boise State College,” he said. “I’m a third-generation Bronco. Going to school here meant a lot to me and my family.”

Preston Schow with his wife and two young children in Boise State gear.

In August 2023, Schow graduated from the online Bachelor of Science in Advanced Medical Imaging with an emphasis in both interventional cardiology (IC) and interventional radiology (IR).

Three years earlier, he graduated from Boise State’s Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Radiology Program, earning that degree on campus.

“My instructors were very helpful and worked with me [in the online program],” he said. “There were times when I had worked 32 hours in two days. I needed to sleep, so they gave me an extension. They know what we are going through because they’ve done it.”

In the second bachelor’s degree program, Schow landed a position as an invasive cardiovascular technologist at St. Luke’s Health System in Boise. He and his wife, Chalet, who is in nursing school, have two sons — Trey (six) and Paxton (two).

“I had that job lined up, but I was working about 100 hours every two weeks and taking about 200 hours of call at the end of this program,” he said. “Managing all that would not have been possible without the online schedule.

“I was doing things within my own time to get everything done. I am very proactive. The online format allowed me to have the flexibility to do multiple things at once and finish things I wanted to get done while maintaining my lifestyle.”

Familiar Artery

Schow grew up in Boise surrounded by healthcare workers. With several relatives working in physical therapy and nursing, he gravitated toward following in their footsteps.

“I love serving people,” he said. “I like knowing how things work and how my body works. It all fits with serving people, fixing their problems, communicating with people and dealing with emergencies.

“I worked in an emergency department [at St. Luke’s] for two-and-a-half years during my first bachelor’s degree. The mix of emergencies and making fast decisions is where I thrive. That’s why I like it. The medical field is a good fit for me.”

Schow planned to earn a certification but opted to get another bachelor’s degree — specializing in interventional cardiology and interventional radiology dual modalities — because his employer would reimburse his tuition.

“Getting experience in vascular intervention and learning about cardiac intervention was helpful,” he said. “It makes me more diverse.

Earning a degree while starting a new role was ideal for Schow because he could immediately apply the knowledge as he gained it.

“It was intertwined,” he said. “The more we went through things at a fundamental level while I was working and doing those hours, the more it allowed me to fill in the blanks with some of the knowledge that I needed to keep going and be fundamentally sound doing the job.

“I was doing on-the-job training at the same time as the schooling. It was enhancing me as I went. I love being active and doing this work. I was made for this role. It’s a huge fit for me. The clinical experience course was my favorite.”

Hard to Beat

Schow plans to walk the graduation stage at Boise State for the second time in December to celebrate again with his family.

“Some of them thought I was crazy with the schedule I carried,” he said. “I am pretty ambitious. I like to go after my dreams.

“Through this process, I ran my first marathon last October; I am doing another one this October. I did my first triathlon in July. All of the stress I carry, I pour into other things.”

With school wrapping up, Schow is in a great place in his life and career. He has no plans of changing anything as he is surrounded by great opportunities.

“We have had some turnover in my department, which allowed me to jump within the department to work on the structural heart team, which is more specialized,” he said. “You replace valves in people. I am happy where I am, but I always look for opportunities for improvement.”

Schow also enjoyed the in-person element of his clinical experience and providing patient education in real-time.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “If you are going to do this program, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. It’s important to know you can impact lives for good or bad with your decisions. Ask questions, and do your best to get out there and learn. It’s a great profession to improve yourself. It’s also a great stepping stone if you want to move on to medical school. Every day is different.”

“It’s a sweet feeling knowing only one year in, I have found a good niche and a good spot where I can impact lives and assist the doctors in any way they need.”

Learn More About Advanced Medical Imaging

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