There are a number of steps involved in preparing for a health career and a great many resources to help you along the way.

In this section we outline core competencies for healthcare professionals, basic pre-health requirements, how to gain experience, and how to build connections. The preparation process will not happen overnight, but through this section you will have the tools and know how to succeed.

Characteristics of the Successful Healthcare Professional

Will You Make a Good Healthcare Professional?

"Good healthcare professionals are good communicators. They are able to truly listen to their patients, empathize, and provide information about diagnosis and treatment in a way their patients will understand. Good healthcare professionals are altruistic (that is, they are always ready to put their patients' needs first). Good healthcare professionals also have a strong sense of service, of wanting to help people feel better, making health care work better, and, in many cases, giving back to their communities. Above all, good healthcare professionals are motivated by a strong sense of professionalism - they have integrity and honor and are committed to upholding medicine's timeless values".

Will You Be a Good Applicant?

Schools seek well-rounded applicants who are passionate about a career in healthcare. Volunteer and health related experiences, enrichment program participation, and/or research involvement are important, but not as important as what you learn from these experiences. Here are some other skills and qualities that schools look for:

  • Schools are interested in applicants who demonstrate leadership through volunteer work, school activities, and employment.
  • Understanding of a healthcare career. Your experiences should indicate that you understand what a career in healthcare involves, and could include volunteering at a hospital, clinic, or nursing home or working as a research assistant. While you should have a variety of experiences, they shouldn't appear to have been selected in a random or arbitrary manner.
  • Ability to balance school and other activities. Most important, don't overextend yourself and thereby compromise your academic performance. Candidates are selected on the basis of the candidate's complete profile (undergraduate and/or graduate record, entrance exam scores, personal characteristics, letters of recommendation, and experiences).