4 Ways to Get Healthcare Experience in High School 

Summary: Learn how you can get medical and healthcare experience while in high school. 

Hey high school students! Are you interested in a career in healthcare? Believe it or not, your journey can start now, while you’re still in high school. Many schools offer programs, courses, and extracurricular activities that can give you valuable knowledge, experience, and a head start on your future career. In fact, many of these programs allow you to work toward certifications and college credit, setting you on the path to an exciting and fulfilling career–right at this very moment. 

The Benefits of a Career in Healthcare 

With a long list of benefits and rewarding experiences, it’s no wonder you want to jump right in. Here are just a few of the reasons so many students choose to pursue a job in healthcare. 

You can earn a good living. 

Healthcare practitioners and practical occupations, like registered nurses, have a higher median annual wage than other occupations.  

The job outlook is strong and promising for the future. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9.3% of total employment in the U.S. is within the healthcare industry. In 2022, there were 14.7 million people employed in healthcare, and there are about 1.8 million openings projected each year, with an expected 28% increase in medical and health services manager roles by 2032–which means, there will always be a huge need for healthcare workers! 

There are many different paths you can take 

Depending on your desired career path and education, you can choose to work with patients, in a laboratory, or in an administrative or supportive role. Certain careers in the field may require certification, while others require a bachelor’s degree or higher. One of the advantages of pursuing a healthcare career is the vast array of opportunities for professional development and career advancement. 

You get to help people. 

Having a career where you make a difference in the lives of others, offering compassion, comfort, and care can be incredibly fulfilling and give you a sense of purpose in what you do! 

How to Get Healthcare Experience While in High School 

This all sounds pretty great, right? Well let’s go over what you can do to get started on your future career in healthcare: 

Take relevant classes. 

Students interested in healthcare careers can take advantage of relevant courses that build foundational knowledge while potentially earning a certificate or degree while still in high school. K12 facilitates this by offering career pathways that teach students specialized skills alongside their regular curriculum. Students can enroll in various healthcare pathways, including Education and Training; Healthcare Data and Informatics; Nursing Diagnostics and Testing; and more.  

Many schools also establish partnerships with companies and universities to support students’ career aspirations. For example, Stride teamed up with Chamberlain University, the largest nursing school in the nation. Through this partnership, K12 students have the opportunity to accelerate their path to a degree in nursing through dual or concurrent enrollment, allowing them to earn degree-eligible credits, with the goal of reducing time-to-completion of a bachelor’s degree in nursing. 

Students at K12-powered online schools can also participate in an annual virtual nursing camp, where they engage in interactive activities, learning essential nursing skills such as taking a pulse and temperature and exploring various exciting career paths, from disaster nursing to flight nursing.  

Join a club. 

Clubs and organizations focused on students, like HOSA – Future Health Professionals and the K12 Nursing Club, empower you to become a future healthcare leader through education, experience, mentorship, and collaboration. HOSA, for instance, offers opportunities for recognition and teamwork through competitive events and promotes leadership and technical skill development at its conferences.  

The K12 Nursing Club gives students real-world insight into different nursing careers through interactive sessions featuring nurses nationwide. In these monthly virtual sessions, students take a deep dive into specific areas of nursing, learning directly from a professional in the field. They can also ask questions and engage with the speaker, giving students an insider’s look into an exciting potential career path. 

“Exploring healthcare opens a world of possibilities,” stated Dr. Sherri Wilson, RN, head of K12’s Nursing Club. “Our club not only enriches the educational experience for students enrolled in healthcare pathways but also fosters early awareness of the extensive opportunities available through a nursing career.” 

Get a firsthand look. 

Did you know that you can gain hands-on experience while still in high school through internships, job shadowing, and volunteer opportunities? The Cleveland Clinic, for example, offers paid internships, job shadowing, and career exploration programs–just for high school students interested in a career in healthcare!  

Others offer volunteer positions. In fact, I volunteered at my local hospital in high school and assisted nurses in the emergency room as well as maternity, transitional care, and pediatric units. Most importantly, I talked to and played board games with patients who were feeling bored or lonely. Check out your local healthcare facilities to see what is offered in your region.  

Stay up to date with healthcare.  

Reading about recent developments, issues, and other news provides valuable insight into healthcare and the challenges you may experience in your future career. It can also open up a variety of different career paths and opportunities, allowing you to narrow in on a particular area that inspires you or fuels your passion for healthcare. 

Start today. 

With so many opportunities available to high school students, why wait to get started working toward a fulfilling career? Soon, you will be one of the heroes who provide compassionate care and expertise in a healthcare setting. Get started today! 

To learn more about K12-powered online schools, go to K12.com

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