Headed for a Health Career?

So you want to help people get healthy?  Awesome!  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 10 of the 20 fastest growing occupations are related to healthcare.  But the US population is changing, and so is the health care industry.  Here are some tips to make you a more competitive applicant for graduate school and a better future healthcare professional:

Get back to basics

Those traditional prerequisites are still absolutely necessary, and the pre-health advising office can help you sort them out.  Do you want to go into medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, dietetics or veterinary medicine?  You need a well-rounded education with a strong science background.  Interested in public health?  Depending on your subfield, you may want to strengthen your skills in physical science, social science, or math and computers.

Be a team player

As health professionals, we spend a lot of time interacting with people.  And it isn’t just talking with patients and clients.  More and more work is being done in healthcare teams, so you have to be able to collaborate with other professionals.  Employers and admissions officials will be impressed if you develop your people skills by being a leader or a vital member of a team (for a class, sport, or club), and by learning how to listen well.  Check out this article about how some top medical schools even assess people skills before they make admission decisions.

Expand your worldview

Experience with diverse populations is sometimes called “cultural competency.”  It’s your ability to work well with people of different gender identity and sexual expression, race, background, language, or economic status.  Check out The Provider’s Guide to Quality and Culture to learn what health professionals can do to stop the unequal treatment of certain populations in healthcare.

Experience the field

You want to help people.  Of course!  That’s why most people go into a health field.  But what is it about the day-to-day life of a dentist that makes it the perfect field for you?  Or the life of a psychologist, or a physical therapist?  It’s important to show that you know what the job takes.  Try getting some real-world experience by working or volunteering in the field, shadowing someone, or interviewing a working professional.  Don’t forget about the opportunities to get involved here at CHS!

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