If you’re in high school or college and thinking about what type of career you’re interested in, you might consider the field of health care. Many people immediately think of doctors and nurses, but many other options are also available. You could become a physician’s assistant, a nurse practitioner, a certified nursing assistant, a respiratory therapist, a physical therapist, work in medical records, or other areas. Read on for tips on how to pursue such a career.
You’ll need education and credentials, and they aren’t free, so take your time selecting where you will seek these. Many schools now offer online degree programs for all or part of the degree. An online degree is often less costly than an in-person program. Meeting your classes online may offer you the flexibility to continue with a day or night job while you pursue your studies. Nobody is claiming that it’s easy to work full-time while you attend school, but it is possible, and an online program can offer more flexibility. Not every online school is ideal, so make sure you check the cost of tuition, as well as ensure that the program and institution are accredited.
Create a strong curriculum vitae
For many jobs in health care, you’ll need a curriculum vitae (CV) rather than a resume. The CV is typically longer, more detailed, and more focused on academic background than a resume. Your accomplishments, experience, skills, education, credentials, awards, grants, and publications. A CV generally begins with education. While creating a CV may seem like a
daunting task, you can use a free online tool with a template for a CV. You can make a
professional-looking document tailored to highlight the ways you’re uniquely qualified, selecting format, color, and font. This document will represent you each time you apply for a job, and you might consider customizing it as needed for particular job applications. It’s a good idea to pull together a standard resume, too, as different employers may request that you submit different documents.
Highlight non-work related qualifications, too
Of course, your education and work experience are both critical elements when job hunting, but they aren’t the whole story. Your extracurricular activities may help to showcase your background in a particular field. For example, if you’re seeking a position as a certified nursing assistant and you volunteered in a retirement facility, this could boost your status as a candidate for the job. Be sure to mention hobbies, community involvement, practicums, and volunteer work you’ve done.
Build a strong reference list
Most job applications ask for references, and it’s a good idea to list a few on your resume and CV. It’s a good idea to ask people before listing them as references. While your mother might be happy to tell the world how great you are, it’s important to have professional sources who can attest to your work ethic, reliability, skill, and general desirability as a worker. These could be supervisors, instructors, managers, or others who have familiarity with your history and experience. If you’ve done volunteer work, there may be a person associated with that endeavor who would be willing to be a reference. If you’re just finishing high school and don’t have a lot of work experience, think about teachers who have sponsored extracurricular activities you’ve been involved in or those you’ve done big projects for.
Determining what type of career you’ll pursue is a big decision. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you can begin to pursue a degree and credentials, as well as related volunteer experience. For example, if you know you want to work in the healthcare field, you might want to check out the services available through the MD Preferred Network–where you can find recruiters of healthcare workers, as well as companies that will assist you in managing student loan payoff, realtors to help you get settled in a new area, and a blog with useful information. Our services are free for healthcare professionals.
Remember that any community involvement will also be a point in your favor. Creating a strong CV to represent you and your accomplishments and experience is critical for your job search. Remember that you’re going to need references and cultivate strong work and volunteer connections that will be useful. Many options await you in the world of work, so choose your path and do all that you can to support it.