Did you ever imagine becoming a doctor as a child? Maybe you spent time checking your teddy bears for ear infections, or testing mom's reflexes in the kitchen. What students often don't realize are the possibilities that exist in the medical field outside of being a doctor. For many students, becoming a doctor has always been on their list of potential careers, but the path to get there can seem endless. Many medical professions contribute to the greater good each day, without ever stepping into an operating room. The time to prepare for them is now.
Exploring Medical Careers Early
If you've ever watched a medical drama on TV, you've probably noticed they leave some things out. The path to becoming a physician is a long one that requires years of schooling and tens of thousands of dollars in tuition past high school. The U.S. Department of Education reported in 2017 that within three years of enrolling in an associate or bachelor's degree program, more than 30 percent of students had changed their major. This is why students need to explore their passions before committing to this path. Offering students career-focused courses while still in high school allows them to explore different career paths before graduating. In doing so, students may uncover a better fit to pursue a healthcare career.
Students may start with the dream of being a doctor in their minds, but other medical careers also lead to relevant and important contributions. If your student's dream is to discover a cure for cancer, they may find that a medical research career can accomplish their goal. If your student shows a passion for helping the elderly, Certified Nursing Assistant may be the right career for them. Whatever their aspirations may be, starting career readiness courses in high school will prepare students for required certification exams.
Health and Human Service Career Pathways
Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing career fields in the United States. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects job growth in the healthcare industry to rise at a rate of 14 percent from 2018 to 2028. This growing demand for healthcare workers expands beyond doctors and nurses. Hospitals require a wide range of technicians and specialists every day to operate. This includes Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), phlebotomists, medical billing coders, and everything in between.
Although your student may have never considered a career in medical assisting or transcription, career readiness education at K12 will open up the possibility to them. K12's Destinations Career Academy offers numerous career pathway exploration programs that prepare students to work in these fields:
- Medical Assisting
- Medical Billing and Coding
- Nursing Assisting
- Pharmacy Tech
- Sports Medicine
Medical Billing and Coding
When a student thinks of medical billing and coding, they may assume that it is all a numbers game. What most students don't consider is the way that this career impacts patients directly. A career in medical billing and coding means you are responsible for ensuring the right prescriptions get to the patient, checking the documentation of proper insurance forms, and that patients receive the correct services. Talk about making a difference for patients. Additionally, medical billing and coding has a projected growth rate of 11 percent from 2018 to 2028. With a median annual salary of $40,350 and only a postsecondary certification required, medical billing and coding may appeal to students who want to work in healthcare immediately after high school.
Medical Billing and Coding requires certification from passing the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam. To prepare students for this exam, Destinations Career Academy students take the following courses:
- Health Sciences 1 & 2
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy and Physiology 1 & 2
- Essentials of Health Information Management
- Medical Coding 1 & 2
Certified Nursing Assistant
Just as a bone can't reset without the help of a cast or brace, doctors and nurses lean on nursing assistants to help them provide the best care to their patients. Destinations Career Academy courses will immerse your student in what it takes to be the right-hand person to doctors and nurses each day. Destinations students interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) can enroll in courses that prepare them to earn their desired certifications.
Certification-oriented classes include:
- Health Sciences 1 & 2
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy and Physiology 1 & 2
- Nursing Assistant 1, 2, & 3
If your student is eager to join the workforce after graduation, the outlook for nursing assistants is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2018, the median salary of a nursing assistant was $28,530, with a projected job outlook of 9 percent from 2018 to 2028. A career-focused education in the nursing assistant program will prepare students for two types of certification exams: the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) exam and the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA) Nursing Assistant Certification (NAC) exam. Both of these exams qualify students to start working as CNAs after graduation.
Getting Ahead with Destinations Career Academy
A career in the medical field becomes accessible earlier for students attending Destinations. They explore career readiness pathways while also completing their traditional high school curriculum. One of the most popular career fields is Health and Human Services, which encompasses a wide range of career pathways. Through Destinations Career Academy's cutting-edge approach to career readiness, students have a unique opportunity to prepare for their medical career through project-based learning, job shadowing, and using immersive technology. These experiences ready them for a workplace that thrives off of independent work, the use of technology, and an appreciation for being hands-on.
Your student may not be a doctor, but they can certainly "play" one in school. Your student will have an opportunity to complete work directly related to their area of study. They might learn medical code by looking at actual insurance communications, or they could start to master the skills of a nursing assistant by understanding prescription dosage. Students interested in any Health and Human Services pathway always begin their path with Healthcare Explorations, a Project-Based Learning (PBL) course. This class exposes students to the career pathways available and gives them a chance to apply their learnings through hands-on projects. As they learn by doing, they begin to realize which aspects of a career in healthcare appeal to them the most and can decide on a path to move forward.
Job Shadowing and Apprenticeships
Your student's hands-on medical training doesn't end in the classroom. At Destinations, they also learn from people already working in their area of interest. They might shadow a nursing assistant through rounds at a hospital or sit side-by-side with a mentor as they complete medical billing and coding work. Destinations students use a tool called Tallo to help facilitate these connections. Tallo matches students with mentors in the medical field to encourage both personal and professional growth.
As students learn through this cutting-edge education technology, Destinations Career Academy guides students through immersive experiences that allow them to carve out a path for their future. Beyond learning anatomy in textbooks, students in medical-related pathways can dive into the body through virtual, 3-D simulations.
If your student wants to innovate the world of medicine, Destinations Career Academy's pathways programs may be the perfect fit. Our specialized courses and real-world learning experiences start students' careers off on the right foot and lead them to success for what's to come, whether that is going to college or diving right into the workforce. The experiences our students have and the skills they learn in their time at Destinations make their high school education stand out among the rest.
*Opportunities vary by school; please visit your school page or check with your school counselor.
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