If you’re looking to work in healthcare, you have a rewarding yet challenging journey ahead of you. You’ll get to make a difference in people’s lives every single day, but you’ll also need to find the right school, secure funding, prepare for certification, and make sure you stay mentally healthy and well throughout the entire process. This page is a starting point. For students and current professionals alike, it contains dozens of resources you can use to prepare for your healthcare education and/or make the leap from successful student to exciting career. Are you ready to take the next step?
Education & Training
The single biggest
challenge for anyone working toward a career in healthcare is getting
the necessary education. This applies not only to prospective
healthcare students, but to those currently working in the medical
profession. You might be starting from scratch, about to attend your
very first college class. Or you might be in the midst of a
comfortable career, but feel the need to enhance your management
prospects or have your eye on that promotion. Or perhaps you’re in
healthcare already, but you’re quite interested in making a lateral
move to another area of the hospital or clinic. Whatever the case may
be, additional education can help you get there. These resources are
a great place to begin the important job of getting through the
training and education you’ll need to pursue something new.
Guide to Accelerated Training Programs
Accelerated (or “Fast-Track”) programs give experienced students a way to earn credentials faster than traditional courses or programs. Already an LPN and looking to earn a bachelor’s? See if an accelerated program makes sense for you.
Online Schools & Programs
Flexible education is a must in today’s fast-paced, multi-task world. Even if you don’t have a family or other commitments, online learning can be a convenient way to pursue your healthcare certificate, diploma, or degree.
How to Become
The wide range of medical-related careers and education options means that paths to a profession can be varied. What’s the best way for YOU to become the career you want? Learn how to become a registered nurse, a medical assistant, an occupational therapist, or just about any job in the field today. And if you’re not sure, answer a few questions to assess your interests, strengths, and wants and needs to get started.
AAPC Message Boards
The AAPC is a professional organization for medical professionals in the billing, coding, and compliance fields. It has a comprehensive message board that allows anyone to read and search among the active threads, where people ask for advice and discuss pertinent issues.
College Confidential – Forums
College Confidential is one of the more popular online one-stop-shop information websites for anyone looking to earn a post-secondary degree. One of its key features is its much visited forums, where you can post questions or obtain advice from seasoned professionals.
HHS.gov – HIPAA for Professionals
The US Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website that provides easy access to rules and education resources for medical professionals. It never hurts to brush up on HIPAA rules.
Registered Nurse RN
This website is intended to help aspiring and new nurses who would like more information about a variety of healthcare topics, from types of specialty nurses to salary information to strategies for passing the NCLEX-RN.
This is where anyone can come to access the books and documents provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, on the topics of healthcare and life sciences. Though this resource is exceptional for the layperson, it is also great for those who are considering moving into a different career.
University of California OERN
The University of California’s Open Educational Resources for Nursing is free to anyone who wants to find training and education about any topic related to the nursing field. A look at this site might help aspiring students make better-informed decisions about moving into different aspects of healthcare.
JHSPH Open Courseware
Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health provides free access to its public health course materials. As Johns Hopkins is a leader in healthcare education, it’s clear that the resources available here will be up-to-date.
Paying for School
Cost is often the
single biggest hurdle for students who want to obtain a
post-secondary education. Because the financial burden is such a
common challenge, there are literally thousands of opportunities for
students to obtain financial assistance. Some of these are nicer than
others in that they’re gift-based, like scholarships and grants,
and don’t need to be paid back. Others need to be paid back, but
come with relatively generous terms, such as low interest rates and
deferred payments. The following resources can help you learn what
you need to know to finance your healthcare education and, in some
cases, can help you get aid directly.
EduMed’s Financial Aid Guide
Our guide breaks down the numerous ways that students in the medical field can pay for their education, from scholarships and grants to federal, state, and private financial aid. It also details how to create a financial plan and, most importantly, how to maximize your financial reward to minimize what you pay out-of-pocket.
Scholarships for Healthcare Students
This resource is a full page of scholarships and “free money” opportunities for students in healthcare. The guide includes more than 50 scholarships for nurses, medical assistants, radiologic technologists, and others. It also has details on how to apply for and win the money you need to move your education forward.
Cappex has one of the largest databases of college scholarships online. The site offers a handy search function that enables students to sift through the more than $11 billion in available scholarship money.
What the FAFSA is to federal financial aid, the CSS Profile is to institution financial aid. This financial aid is made available to students through the form of school-specific scholarships, grants and fellowships. Students can complete the CSS Profile to apply for financial aid offered by specific schools.
Mostly known for its standardized tests, the College Board has a comprehensive website with almost any piece of information a future college students could want, including an in-depth scholarship search tool.
Federal Student Aid
This is the official website for federal financial aid. Students can learn about their various options as well as complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
SallieMae is a major source for college student loans, which is how most students have heard of the organization. But it also has an impressive database of more than five million college scholarships worth sorting through.
UNIGO helps high school students choose the right college and find a way to pay for it. Through its college scholarship database, students can explore what’s out there for any healthcare and medical field.
Niche.com is a review site to help individuals find a great school or a place to live. But it also helps students find ways to pay for those things, which is why it includes a popular scholarship database that’s broken down by category.
Check with Your School
Some schools provide a wealth of financial aid, but many students aren’t even aware of it. It’s always worth asking if there are scholarships or grants available. These are some of the best financial aid options because there’s relatively little competition for them – only those enrolled in the school are eligible.
Special Interest Students
Sometimes, it pays
to be a little different. Students who are of a minority group, those
who served in the military, or even those who choose a career a bit
off the beaten path can all find resources and assistance that is
tailored to their special status. This also applies to those who are
choosing a career on the basis of being able to help those who are
members of underserved groups, or those who are members of certain
groups that need help in a special ways, such as wounded veterans or
those with disabilities.
The following is a
list of organizations and resources that can help students with
special interests. Keep in mind that this list is just a starting
point – there are thousands of special interest groups out there!
AAPINA: The Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association represents Asian American Pacific Islander nurses, no matter where in the world they work, and works to promote good health among Asian American Pacific Islanders.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: As the world’s leading professional group of nutrition and food professionals, this organization strives to improve the health of everyone through the context of nutrition. Though the site is great for the layperson, there is also in-depth information on careers in nutrition.
American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN): When someone thinks of a nurse, they usually picture a woman – but there are many men in this caring profession. The AAMN is a national organization that promotes the practice and acceptance of men in nursing.
American Public Health Association (APHA): The APHA works to improve public health and advocate on behalf of public health professionals. In addition to providing a wealth of information on professional development and education, this organization works hard to influence public policy.
Association of American Indian Physicians: This is a professional organization made up of licensed doctors. All members are American Indians and are committed to improving the health of underserved Alaska Native and American Indian communities.
Hispanic Dental Association (HDA): As a nonprofit organization, the HDA’s members consist of dental students and professionals who promote the monitoring and improvement of oral health in the Hispanic community.
National Medical Association (NMA): Those of color are often underrepresented in the medical field, especially among physicians. The NMA represents the interests of African American doctors and seeks to remove disparities in healthcare.
National Pharmaceutical Association (NPA): The NPA is a professional organization made up of pharmacists who work to promote the interests of minorities in the pharmacy profession and help the underserved.
RHIhub: The Rural Health Information Hub is a leading source of information for anyone with an interest in learning, improving or working in a rural health setting. Traveling nurses and those who work in rural clinics might be especially interested in this website.
TOEFL: The Test of English as a Foreign Language is a standardized test that non-native English speaking students must often take before enrolling in a post-secondary institution in the United States.
Health & Wellness
College is a
challenging time on many levels. Even when classes are relatively
easy, there’s still the task of balancing personal and work lives
with what the school requires. For some, there’s intense pressure
to graduate and get the highest grades possible. So it’s common for
college students, especially those in medical and health-related
programs, to be under a lot of stress – and as everyone knows, as
stress levels go up, good health can begin to suffer.
Finding some time to
relax, breathe, and simply step away from school for a day is healthy
and strongly encouraged. Here are a few ideas to help students to
stay healthy, relax, and reduce their stress levels. Some of these
resources have suggestions that might take time away from school, but
the benefits will more than make up for any lost time studying.
Mental Health & Wellness as a Medical Professional
Even those who take care of others need a little TLC once in a while. Stress and sleeplessness are real challenges for those in all areas of medical and health. Read about the top mental health issues that medical professionals face, including warning signs and where to get help.
American College Health Association (ACHA)
The ACHA uses advocacy, research, and education to improve the health of students in higher education. This is a great place to learn about stress levels and the health of others in college, which might help you feel less alone in your struggles.
Edutopia – Resources on Managing Stress
Edutopia’s mission is to improve K-12 education, but it has a number of excellent articles on how to deal with and manage stress. These are great for anyone, from teachers to college students.
Dartmouth College – Relaxation Downloads
Dartmouth College, through its Student Wellness Center, provides a number of audio recordings to help students handle stressful events in their personal or academic lives.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
The National Institute of Mental Health serves as a comprehensive online source for helping people treat and understand mental health challenges, including how to get treatment.
ULifeline was created to serve as an online resource for college students with mental health concerns or issues. It’s a site that can lead students to immediate assistance if that’s what they need.
WebMD – Stress Management
WebMD is one of the more prominent online health information centers. They have a large selection of articles that give advice on relaxation techniques and stress management.
What’s Up? – Mental Health App
Available on Android and iOS devices, this free app make use of cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance commitment therapy techniques to help users reduce stress and deal with depression, anger and anxiety.
MIT Medical – Additional Sleep Resources
Getting adequate sleep is essential for maintaining good health and overall wellness. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a great list of audio and print resources to deal with insomnia and improve the quality of sleep.
Certifications & Exams
Given the level of
skills, knowledge and responsibility that medical professionals must
possess, it’s not surprising that states and professional
organizations regulate many of the medical professionals that work
with patients. And even if there is no licensing requirement, many
medical professionals are often encouraged to gain one or more
certifications, as it looks great on a resume and helps assure
employers that graduates have a certain level of expertise.
After completing classes, recent graduates should be ready to take the licensing exam for their particular career. Those who don’t need a license might want to take a look at the certifications that can provide them with greater income or better job security. Some of these examinations can be quite difficult, but these resources are designed to make it much easier for students to pass those exams with flying colors. Here are some of the best online resources we’ve found to help out.
Medical Assistant Certification
Learn the benefits of certification, the process, the cost, and how to prepare and pass the exam. Also see why certification can make a medical assistant a more competitive job seeker.
Home Health Aide Certification
Becoming a home health aide requires the right certification and training. Read how to become certified and where to go if you need study tools, tips, and tricks to pass the exam.
Kaplan is one of the more well-known prep test companies. It offers various test prep programs for healthcare fields, including medicine, nursing and allied health. Even though most of these exclusive prep materials cost money, Kaplan usually offers a portion of their materials for free.
Nurselabs – NCLEX-RN Practice Questions
There are more than 3,500 practice items available on this website, making it one of the must-see sites for those who will eventually have to take the NCLEX_RN. Nurselabs’ website also has study guides to help students better prepare for the exam.
Medical Billing & Coding Certification
Medical billers and coders have a number of certifications that can boost their knowledge and their careers. Read about each certification, how to get it, and what it means once you have the credential under your belt.
American Medical Technologists (AMT)
The AMT is a certifying body of several common allied health occupations. They offer all the nitty-gritty details about the options, as well as various online study resources for individuals seeking certification.
The Khan Academy offers free academic resources in health-related subject areas, like human anatomy. Simply go online to the site and look up what you want to research. It also has a section with NCLEX-RN practice questions.
NCSBN – Resources
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing is a nonprofit organization that oversees the regulation of nurses in the United States. The website has an extensive resource section with information about various nursing topics, including answers to the common licensure questions many nursing students have.
This is a fun, free site that allows anyone to make, distribute, and customize online flashcards on any subject. The options include several medical and allied health topics and certification exams, such as the NCLEX-RN.