Professions and occupations in healthcare are in high demand, now and for the foreseeable future. But the phrase “professions and occupations in healthcare” encompasses a broad spectrum of avenues and options.
For students who’d like to explore those many-faceted opportunities in this wide-ranging field, Fort Lewis College now offers the “Pre-Health Certificate,” a year-long program that exposes them to the diversity of educational and professional paths toward careers in public and personal healthcare.
"The way healthcare is organized, there's a more prevention-oriented public-health branch, and there are diagnostic and treatment branches. What this certificate is going to do is give you an introduction to those two aspects of the healthcare spectrum,” explains Professor of Biology Shere Byrd.
Given the nature of different healthcare fields, the certificate program offers different course packages for science and non-science majors that include selected courses in biology, chemistry, anthropology, psychology, and other areas that assist interested students in pursuing health-related careers.
"The science element is important, but the coursework also addresses social aspects of the health-care industry, such as poverty, disparities in health care access, and cultural differences in health,” says Byrd. “Courses like Health Psychology, Medical Anthropology, Socio-Cultural Anthropology, Global Perspectives in Education, Poverty in the United States, and Native American & Indigenous Studies give students completing this program a breadth of understanding of health care from public health issues, to health related problems throughout the human lifespan.”
“Those courses are going to give students a better perspective of the type of issues they're going to see in health fields," she adds. “Then they can decide which way they want to go.”
To further assist students in deciding which way they want to go toward their own personal healthcare calling, students in the certificate program also have access to seven pre-health-professions faculty advisors.
"When people think of working in healthcare, most of what people think of are doctors and nurses and medical technicians. But there are many health field options and jobs students don't think of,” says Byrd. “In fact, much of the healthcare industry is comprised of positions, not requiring medical school, or clinical or other technical training."
While having the Pre-Health Certificate on a transcript is a resume builder, it marks only the first step toward a public health or medical career. What it does do, however, “is to give a student a taste of what they need to do and in what direction they need to go to complete study toward many healthcare professions. They're going to see how healthcare is perceived from a lot of different perspectives."
Learn more about healthcare professions preparation at Fort Lewis College here.