How to take advantage of growing health care opportunities in Augusta

healthcareThe health care industry is strong in Augusta. In fact, it is the county’s third-largest industry, behind government and manufacturing. The health industry is leading other industries in its new hiring, creating a number of opportunities for local residents. Some of the top employers include The Augusta Medical Center, the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, and the Augusta Medical Group.

Virginia’s governor just recently announced an incentive to improve education and training across the board in health care and other industries to try to help the state’s economy grow. Education is key to entering the health care industry, whether that means enrolling in an accelerated nursing program or entering medical school.

Joining the health care field can set you up for a long and profitable career. You can enjoy career security and above-average salaries in many positions.

Here’s what you need to do to take advantage of this opportunity and join this rewarding field:


Narrow Down Your Interests

The health care industry is a big one, and there are many different types of jobs from which to choose. If you like working with people directly, you should consider jobs in patient care such as nursing, rehabilitation therapy, ultrasound technology, or radiation technology. If you like to study the science instead, you could consider jobs like phlebotomist, lab technician, or research.

You really need to have some idea of what you’d like to do before you start looking at education requirements or jobs. Each job has a different path, and you need to identify it so you don’t waste any time with unnecessary or unproductive training or preparation.


Get a Great Education 

Getting the right education is perhaps the most important thing you can do to get started in the health care industry. Each job requires specialized knowledge in topics like biology, anatomy, chemistry, and physics. You need specific training for the job you want.

Going back to school doesn’t have to mean entering a traditional, four-year program. For example, you can sign up for an accelerated nursing degree that allows you to graduate in just 15 months. Other programs allow you to take classes online or at night and on weekends so you can fit in your training around working another job or taking care of a family.

The most important thing to look for in any program is that it is accredited and offers the fundamentals for what you will need to know on the job.


Get Practical Experience

One of the most important parts of learning is doing. When you work in the health care field, making mistakes can often cost people their lives. That’s why it is so important that you get practical, hands-on training before you have the full-time responsibility of patient care.

Many health care professions require that you log clinic hours before you graduate or before you can be licensed or hired. You can get these clinic hours through formal internship programs or even fellowships. Work with your school counselor to identify opportunities and apply for them.

Just as you would when you choose a school to get your degree, you should identify and apply for the best internships that you can. The better the experience, the better the training you will get. That internship could also become your first employer when you graduate.

Making the right entry into the health care field can set you up for a long and profitable career. Use these tips to get the best start and take advantage of all the burgeoning health care field Augusta has to offer!


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