5 Smart Ways To Prepare For Your Future Healthcare Career
Higher your chances of entering your dream med school.
Healthcare as a career has its ups and downs. But if it’s something you’re genuinely passionate about, you’ll do everything in your power to achieve it. Like in any profession, preparation is vital to securing your chosen path. People take years before getting into a field like medicine, in particular. Some can start on a whim and succeed. But for most, it takes years of planning and hard work.
So, if you decide to become a healthcare worker in the future, you must prepare now. The earlier you start, the higher your chances of entering your dream med school. Don’t know where or how to begin? Keep reading this article for some valuable tips.
1. Aim for Good Grades
Healthcare is a mentally demanding field. Medical professionals aren’t geniuses, but they require extensive knowledge of medicine to help their patients. So, most MD programs only accept applicants with high grades in a specific range.
Each school has a preferred grade. With research, you’ll find that some have a higher threshold than others. You can check online for average GPA and MCAT scores medical programs require across the United States. If you already have a specific school in mind, you can also visit their official website and search for admission and grade requirements.
Fortunately, you still have hope of getting into med school despite a low GPA. You can do a postbaccalaureate program, gain clinical experience, and do well in the MCAT. These additional steps can help prove your worth to potential schools.
2. Take the Appropriate Courses and Extracurriculars
If you’re still a high school student, you can jumpstart a career in healthcare by enrolling in classes useful in medicine. These subjects include but are not limited to the following:
You should take at least two lab science courses per semester since you’ll do much lab work once in med school. It’s best to get as much practice early than later. Most STEM subjects are necessary for students planning to enter medicine and healthcare after high school. But some humanities and social science classes, like languages and psychology, are also recommended to add your skillset.
Aside from academic courses, extracurricular activities can bump up your personal statement for med school admissions. Examples of activities you can do are tutoring, joining science fairs, and enrolling in summer research programs. You can also continue participating in other related extracurriculars and academic programs while taking your undergraduate degree.
3. Research the Field and Potential Employers
Doctors and nurses aren’t the only jobs in healthcare. The medical field is so vast that you can join over 50 possible careers. You don’t need to settle on one particular job yet. You’ll learn more about that once you enter med school. But it’s great to have a general idea early in the game. What you decide to be now may change the more you learn about that role and others.
If you're passionate about the healthcare industry but don't see yourself working in a hospital environment every day, there are various opportunities you can explore. You may want to consider pursuing a career in healthcare paths that provide the flexibility of working as an independent contractor, without the constraints of a traditional employer-employee relationship, such as those of a travel nurse. In fact, these career paths often offer higher compensation rates than their employed counterparts. For instance, a travel nurse salary breakdown includes a base hourly rate plus additional compensation for housing, meals, and other benefits. In some cases, travel nurses may also receive a sign-on bonus, completion bonus, or reimbursement for travel expenses.
Healthcare is also a career path riddled with ever-changing information thanks to constant research by experts. So, it’s wise to keep up with current events, new medical training practices, and ongoing issues related to medicine. A wide breadth of relevant knowledge in medicine provides long-term benefits for your studies.
Researching the field also extends to potential employers. No two medical facilities are alike. Therefore, you can start listing the places you want to work in the future as early as now. One way to check the company culture of different establishments is to review their profiles on sites like LinkedIn or Glassdoor.
4. Immerse Yourself in Real Life Experiences
If there’s one way to prepare yourself for a healthcare career, it’s gaining relevant experience. Volunteering, internships, and clinical work are some of the usual methods of dipping your toes in healthcare before going to med school. You can coordinate with teachers or relatives working in the field to find valuable opportunities to get you on the right track.
Like trying to get a job, med schools will consider candidates with enough relevant experience over others. That isn’t to say they’ll completely ignore those without them. But getting enough exposure may raise your application chances. You could also become a more confident and skilled healthcare professional one day.
5. Gather On- and Off-Campus Resources
Depending on your school, you could have abundant valuable resources for a future healthcare career. Your library should have several books on medicine you can borrow. Look for study groups and mentors who’ll guide and encourage you to improve. There may also be annual career fairs on your campus where you’ll find more information on your dream job in healthcare.
Besides school, the Internet is a treasure trove of valuable knowledge that’ll help prepare you for your career. You can register for webinars and tutorials for future healthcare students. You could also find mock MCAT exams online to practice before the real deal.
Focusing on studies while preparing for a healthcare career can be overwhelming. So, you mustn’t forget to care for yourself, too. Your future also depends on your health and the changes you make to be better. Practicing self-care could help you provide proper care for your patients one day.
Becoming a healthcare professional is no walk in the park. It takes years to have a stable career and, sometimes, a stroke of luck. But preparation is the primary reason some students grow into successful and respected individuals. If you want a career in healthcare, start preparing now.