5 Things to Know Before Enrolling in a Healthcare Program
A career in healthcare is often considered to be a stable and secure option. If you enjoy working with people and have an interest in science and medicine, there are many career choices available in the health sciences. Often, the first step toward a health career is to enroll in a certificate program. After earning a career certificate, you are typically prepared to pass a licensure examination and begin working.
There are many things to consider before you sign up for a healthcare program. It’s important that the program aligns with your career goals and that it is something that can fit into your life. As you investigate and research healthcare education programs, here are five things to find out.
1. The Time Commitment
Although some careers in healthcare require years and years of training, many do not. In some instances, you can be ready to launch a new career in under a year. When you’re researching programs, take a look at the extended duration for the ones you’re most interested in. Some last 9 months, others last for 10 months, and some last for 12 months.
In addition to looking at the program’s duration, pay attention to the weekly time commitment required. The program’s description will most likely list the number of courses you’ll need to take to earn your certificate and how many hours of class you’ll have each week.
If the weekly class commitment seems like too much for your schedule, it’s a good idea to ask if it’s possible to enroll on a part-time basis or to seek out programs that offer a part-time option. Becoming a part-time student means that it will take more months for you to complete a program and receive your certificate. But you’ll also commit to going to class for fewer hours each week, giving you more time for work commitments or for spending with your family.
2. What the Program Covers
Another thing to find out before you enroll in a healthcare program is you’ll be taught. For example, many healthcare careers require a mix of clinical skills and theoretical knowledge. For that reason, it’s important to choose a program that will give you some clinical experience. Read over the list of required courses and ask the admissions officer questions if anything is unclear.
You can also ask to talk to current students or recent graduates of the program to learn more about their experience and about the subjects they studied.
3. The Enrollment Requirements
Healthcare career certificate programs often have entrance requirements that students need to meet before they are admitted. Just because you might not meet the entrance requirements today doesn’t mean that the program will be out of your reach.
Although some programs do require a high school diploma or GED before enrollment, dual-enrollment if occasionally available for people who are currently in high school. If you’re still a high school student or had to leave school before graduating, you might be able to enroll in a career certificate before earning your GED or diploma.
Often, you’ll need to take assessment tests before you enroll in a program. The Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) is often required for healthcare certificate programs. Usually, you need to place at the 10th-grade level before you can begin a career certificate. Basic education programs are available to help students who might not be academically ready to enroll in a career certificate program just yet.
4. What the Program Qualifies You to Do
Ideally, earning a career certificate should open doors for you and create the potential for new opportunities. For example, if you’re interested in beginning a career as a medical assistant, it’s worthwhile to confirm that you’ll be ready to take and pass the certification exams that will allow you to get a license and begin applying for medical assistant jobs after you finish a certificate program.
Some people often look at earning a career certificate as one step a long career path. If you’re interested in continuing your education or moving up in your career, it can be helpful to review any advancement opportunities that are available to those who earn a certificate. For example, you might be qualified to transfer to an associate’s degree program after graduation or you might be able to enroll in a four-year program later on.
5. The Program Cost and Financial Aid Options
While the cost of a certificate program shouldn’t be the sole factor in determining whether it’s right for you or not, it is something to consider. Program costs vary from institution to institution. Public schools, such as Orange Technical College, are often able to provide a high-quality education that prepares students for careers at a fraction of the cost of private schools. Remember that a higher program cost doesn’t necessarily mean that one program is better than another.
Another thing to learn about is the financial aid that’s available from the school. A mix of need-based grants and scholarships can help to make a program affordable.
Orange Technical College offers a variety of career certificates in the health sciences at our five campuses in Florida. Take a look at our programs and get in touch to learn more about the enrollment and admissions process.