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Choosing the Path

Post: June 15, 2018

Did you know that you could start working toward many medical field certifications in high school? Certifications such as Pharmacy Technician (CPhT), Nursing Assistant (CNA), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Veterinary Technician (CVT), and Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) are just a few.

But, how do you decide which certification to start preparing for? It may seem a little overwhelming at first, but let's start with some basics.

Can I tolerate blood or other bodily fluids?


How well would I do in a fast-paced environment?

  • CPhT, EMT, CVT

Do I want to help people or animals?

  • CPhT, CNA, EMT, or CVT

Who do I want to work with - the general public or just my coworkers?

  • EMT or MCBA

Answering these questions will help you get a better understanding of what direction to go (remember: the certifications listed above are just samples and not the only options). In fact, there is ABSOLUTELY no harm in getting multiple certifications - it is even encouraged in today's world! Being well-rounded in your certifications makes you more marketable to employers, so don't think that you have to stop getting certifications or licenses after high school, technical school or college.

HOSA-Future Health Professionals (Health Occupations Students of America) is a great organization to join at your high school. Not only is HOSA made up of a group of students who have the same interests as you, but it has events that you can compete in at the state and national/international level. Click here for more information about HOSA-Future Health Professionals competitive events. HOSA will look great on those technical school or college applications.

Attending the competitions and conferences not only expand your mind, but they also start the foundation of your professional network - a skill that is very important in your later years when it comes to advancing your career and skills. If your high school doesn't have HOSA, get one started!

After you decide which area you want to get a certification in, talk to your counselor or health science teacher about the process for enrolling in the appropriate courses. Each school district has criteria that will need to be met - things like prerequisites, grade level, and GPA. Once you've enrolled in the course you are on your way to joining the health industry!