There is a drought coming; a drought of students pursuing health careers. Statistics show that there will be a shortage of doctors by 2025 and nurses by 2022. Health care support careers, such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, nursing assistants, technicians of all kinds and health care administrators are predicted to be the fastest growing career group between 2012-2022. (Information from the Mayo Clinic's Future of Health Care Blog)
This is an opportunity for any college student at any level who might find themselves interested in a health care career. If you have the least bit of interest in health care, take more science classes, or try out a health care-related business or assisting class. If you do decide to take a degree in medical assisting, lab technician or other, be sure that your school is appropriately accredited. In my area, there are two schools offering a degree in medical assisting: the local technical college and a for-profit college. Compared with the tech, the for-profit college's MA program is twice as long, costs twice as much and their graduates are not able to take the national Medical Assistant certification test because the for-profit college is not accredited for that program. Be sure to do your research!
Given the shortages in trained medical personnel, the Mayo Clinic has instituted and/or partnered with seven different programs for high school students, to educate them on their options in the health care industry. These programs include: (click the title of the program to visit its website)
Exploring-Learning for Life— a partnership with the Boy Scouts of America, the program provides a learning experience for high schoolers revolving around the goals of career exploration, life skill development, service learning experiences, character education and leadership opportunities.
Career Observation Program—intended to help confirm interest in health care career paths. Students receive information for career decision-making and insight into Mayo Clinic careers and Mayo Clinic as a potential employer.
High School Mentorship—brings students to Mayo Clinic to work with a mentor on an identified, specific project for a minimum of 60 hours. The program is intended for high academic performers to introduce them to career opportunities in a wide variety of biomedical science fields.
Health Occupation Students of America—a national career and technical student organization endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education. Nationally, there are more than 66,000 members. Mayo Clinic works with local chapters and supports them with classroom resources, on-campus tours and more.
Mayo Clinic Health Care Career Festival— offers high school students in Southeastern Minnesota the opportunity each October to explore a wide range of exciting career opportunities in a festive, engaging atmosphere. More than 900 students from 45 area schools (who apply to attend) participate each year.
Youth Apprenticeship—a paid experience in which a student works at Mayo Clinic for 400 hours in the summer between his or her high school junior and senior years and 400 hours during the student’s senior year. The opportunity is open to students enrolled in the Health Science Careers Center in Rochester, Minn.
Teacher Externship—a continuing education graduate credit course for five secondary career educators, health occupations educators and counselors for 40 hours over the summer. They work as a cohort, and the experience is hands-on. In the health care industry, Mayo Clinic realizes many students who express interest in health care careers are poorly informed about the variety of opportunities available. This program helps educators learn more so they can guide students.
Lessa Scherrer is an college admissions consultant who has worked with college-bound students for many years. She is a member of NACAC and WACAC and also teaches ACT Prep, speed-reading, college study skills and college-level writing.
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