High school or college students should speak with a career or guidance counselor as soon as the interest in healthcare begins to crystallize. At El Centro College, make an appointment to talk with a counselor (214.860.2084). Bring any information you have collected on careers with you and take the results of any vocational preference tests with you. Ask questions such as:
- Are there are any other tests that might help?
- Is there a computer-based program available for career searches?
- What reading or resource materials are available?
Most healthcare occupations require a grounding in science, particularly biology, chemistry and physics, as well as math. All require good communication skills. Many of the individual El Centro College health career program pages have suggestions for high school coursework that will help you prepare. It's important to your success to be as prepared for as you can be.
If you are thinking about a health career, try to spend time in the actual work place. You might work as a volunteer in a hospital or nursing home. Nothing can take the place of experience in the actual work place.
Conduct some career interviews. The program coordinators and instructors at El Centro have all worked in their professions. They can discuss career options with you. They may also be able to set up an appointment with a working professional so that you may spend some time with them on the job. There is no better way to learn about a career than to talk with someone who works in the position you are striving to reach. Prepare to talk to them by writing down your questions. You may want to ask:
- How did you get into this career?
- What training have you had?
- Did you go to El Centro?
- What do you like best about this job? What don't you like?
- What are some of your usual daily duties?
- Do you have suggestions for me if I decide to pursue this career?
Many of our health occupations students are mature and changing the direction of their lives. They are taking advantage of the opportunity to enter into the career of their dreams.
Our health occupations counselors and program coordinators would be glad to answer your questions.
Here are some questions you should be able to answer about all your career choices. Many of these questions may be answered by reading all the information on our programs' webpages.
- What are the specific training and educational requirements? What kind of training - classroom or clinical? How much education? Where are the clinical affiliates located where I would take classes?
- How much will it cost? Is there financial aid available?
- What other qualifications are needed? Does the career demand a certain training, skill, or aptitude I do or do not have?
- What are the main elements of the career? Would I like them? Are they the sort of things I could do over a long period of time?
- Where is the work done? Is the occupation only in a hospital? Office? What about the hours? Can I work only part-time?
- What kind of salary can I earn? Will this amount of money satisfy me?
- Where can I find such a job? Only in a big city? In a small town? Is the job located where I want to live?
- What is the employment outlook for the job? Will there be openings after I complete my education?
- Will the career permit me to live the lifestyle I want? How much freedom will I have? Will I be expected to take emergency call? Would I have to work nights or weekends?
- What are the pressures? Is this a high-stress job? Will the job be in keeping with my personal values?
- Does this career mean I would be forced to work for a big hospital? If so, would I be able to cope with it?
- Would I be successful? Would the career push me to meet my potential? Would I be bored with the job in a few years?