Do you have a kiddo who might be interested in a medical career. Does that include an allied health job? There are a lot more options than being a doctor or nurse. We all know that healthcare is an increasingly popular field for a lot of reasons.
Healthcare is a great option.
Job security and pay are the number one and two reasons that I hear people going into healthcare careers. I want to make sure you guys know all of the allied health careers besides nursing (which is also a great choice).
Allied health actually includes athletic trainers, med techs, and physical therapist therapy assistants. These are just a few. It also includes physician assistant, speech and language pathologist, and dental hygiene. There are lots of options and many different levels of preparation and pay. If you are looking for tips on Anatomy & Physiology check this out.
My Approach to Career Planning
I believe in a two prong approach to career planning.
- You need to be able to make an income that will support yourself
- It needs to be something that you feel excited (maybe even passionate) about doing
I strongly suggest that any training/education focuses on both of those outcomes. Education is awesome and I love learning for the sake of learning, but at the prices for college today there needs to be a plan in place.
That doesn’t mean that every kid needs to know exactly what they want to do at 18, but it does mean that they need to spend time thinking about what it is they want to do and getting exposure to the field while they are maybe working on general prerequisites.
Nursing is a great option, but …
Nursing is not for everyone. I don’t care what you have heard about career longevity. It just isn’t for everyone. There are a lot of options in healthcare and there are lots of options outside of healthcare.
I’ve met students who will tell me that they’re not gonna wipe bottoms, they’re not going to change sheets, but their career aspiration is to be a nurse.
If they aren’t willing to do basic patient care then they are not the kind of nurse I want for myself, my family, or yours. Nurses take care of their patients whatever that means. There are other medical careers without so much direct patient care.
I’ve met many students that tell me that they want a career in healthcare, but don’t like math and science. I’ve even had students tell me that they don’t understand why there are math and science requirements. Medicine is a science.
What are the healthcare career options?
I am gonna assume that if you are still reading, I haven’t completely offended you. That isn’t my goal AT ALL. My goal is to prevent wasted time and money.
I suggest spending a summer as a CNA before committing to healthcare (just realize that the responsibilities of an RN in a nursing home are vastly different than in a hospital setting).
Maybe you are interested in healthcare, but know nursing isn’t your thing. There are lots of great options. Check out explore health careers.
It provides a list of allied health options and the typical background and links to programs. There is also salary information for each career choice (just make sure that you realize that unless you live in a major city the averages are usually higher than normal). One common thread to almost all allied health career prep is anatomy and physiology.
Anatomy & Physiology
Anatomy and physiology is a wonderful class that can help students determine their commitment and passion about healthcare. It can be a challenge for students. This course requires that you have a working knowledge of your high school science classes, strong study skills, and good time management.
Has the student had a time lapse between the last science coursework and starting A&P? That creates a lack of working knowledge because the information isn’t fresh.
If I had a penny for every time students tell me that they have never seen mitosis, I would be rich. They have seen mitosis. My daughter went over mitosis every single year that she took a biology course from middle school on.
Did the student take chemistry? The physiology portion relies on a basic understanding of chemistry because so many of the actions that occur in the body are based on chemical reactions. If there is no chemistry background they are at a distinct disadvantage.
Did the student take the right courses, but they weren’t offered at the correct level needed for good preparation? This happens, but not nearly as often as the other two.
Word of warning. There is a disconnect between high school anatomy and physiology and college anatomy and physiology. Students that have taken the high school course often come in with a false sense of security that can spell disaster. The college course is typically taught at a much higher level than the high school course.
Ready for A&P?
To help students get started on the right foot in A&P, I have created an A&P PreTest. This PreTest gives you an idea of the type of questions you might be asked on the first exam in A&PI. The material should be review from high school coursework.
I find that there is often a gap of 1-2 years between students taking high school biology coursework and coming into Anatomy & Physiology. In that time, they lose a lot of the background knowledge they have been building in their education. It can make the course feel very overwhelming.
I suggest taking math and science all 4 years of high school and taking math and science coursework immediately in college to avoid skill/background knowledge loss. This results in a smoother transition and higher rate of success.
You can find out more information about my suggestions for A&P students here. I believe having a strong foundation and doing well on the first test is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success in your Anatomy & Physiology course.