How 3 Amazing Schools Are Preparing High School Kids for Health Science Careers

Note: This article was originally published by We Are Teachers on July 9, 2018. The entire article can be found here.

Health science careers make up more than half of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations nationwide. Projections show that the United States will need 5.6 million more healthcare workers by 2020. It’s no wonder that more high schools are offering programs to help prepare students for careers in the medical field. Here’s a look at three schools offering successful and innovative approaches to healthcare education.

Thomas Edison Career and Technical Education High School – Jamaica, New York

Thomas Edison CTE School has a long history of offering healthcare-related programs. It is the only school in New York City with a medical assisting program approved by the state education department. While the courses offered prepare the 2,100 students for various careers, the medical assisting program is extremely popular. Dr. Margaret Savitzky, a medical assisting instructor at the school, points to several key reasons why the program is so successful.

STUDENTS CAN LEAVE WITH CERTIFICATION.

After completing their course work at Thomas Edison CTE, students can take their exams and get hired. “The medical assisting program is a three-year program. It culminates in a certificate in medical assisting when students pass the national certification exam,” says Dr. Savitsky. “This gives students the unique opportunity to leave high school and begin working in the healthcare field.”

THE CURRICULUM IS COMPREHENSIVE.

There are layers of learning that need to occur before a student is ready for a health science career. And as students continue through the program, all those layers build upon each other and get increasingly advanced.

“As sophomores, students study more general topics. Courses cover the history of healthcare, healthcare law, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, and first aid,” explains Dr. Savitzky. “During their junior year, students focus on the clinical skills. And as seniors, they learn the administrative tasks that a medical assistant performs. These include appointment scheduling, patient reception, triaging, insurance-related tasks, as well as résumé writing and preparation for the national certification exams.”

“Students come back to visit. They tell me that the program gave them a very solid foundation to help them in their studies,” says Dr. Savitsky.

STUDENTS GET HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE.

In addition to book learning, the students regularly conduct activities that let them practice essential skills, such as vital sign measurements, venipuncture, capillary puncture, ECG testing, urinalysis, pediatric measurements and visual acuity testing, and pulmonary function testing.

Prior to completing the program, “students are offered the opportunity to participate in volunteer internships with local healthcare facilities to see healthcare practice in the real world,” says Dr. Savitzky. This allows students to fine-tune their areas of interest, get a glimpse into working in a health science career, and establish relationships with potential employers.

Click here to read the about the two other great programs that are helping to prepare their students for careers in Health Science.

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