Career Paths: Medical Vocational Programs for High School Students

Updated |
Career Paths: Medical Vocational Programs for High School Students
Teenagers can begin preparing for a medical career right in high school. Learn about public high school programs that are preparing students for a medical career immediately upon graduation.
Entering into the medical field no longer means demanding college lab classes, medical school, and residency programs. In fact, you can start your medical career right at your local public school. Indeed, some public high schools are offering medical vocational programs that prepare their students for the medical industry – right after earning their high school diploma.
The NCES report, Vocational Education in the U.S. reports that "Most public high school students participate in vocational education. In 1992, almost all public high school graduates (97 percent) completed at least one vocational education course, and 87 percent completed at least one occupationally specific course (table 1). On average, graduates completed the equivalent of almost four full-year courses in vocational education (3.8 credits), with two and a half of these courses in occupational program areas."
Medical Training during High School
While many public schools across the country offer their own unique versions of vocational training, schools in the Western Colorado region are earning great acclaim for their healthcare profession programs, which are held in conjunction with the local community college.   
As the Daily Sentinel reports, eligible juniors and seniors from the area’s seven high schools can apply for an advanced medical training program hosted at Western Colorado Community College. Focusing on the profession of healthcare, “The courses whet students’ appetites for careers in health care by offering a broad introduction to the field.” High school students in the program receive advanced instructional methods, as well as hands-on experience to prepare for the field of medical service.
Participants in the program start with the Medical Prep I course, followed by the Medical Prep II class. While Medical Prep I teaches students the advanced foundations of patient care and wellbeing, Medical Prep II introduces pharmacology, lab skills, phlebotomy, and even teaches students how to draw blood using fake veins and arms. Adding to these skills, students are required to complete work in select nursing homes, as the teens perform guided clinical rounds by meeting with patients. 
By completing all mandatory lessons, assessments, and designated services, students can earn a first responder certification or veterinarian assistant credentials – all before graduating from high school. While students in the program are certainly required to complete more work than the average high school student, they are well prepared for a career ahead of their peers.   
In addition, early training opportunities for high school students help to combat the impending shortage of workers in the health care industry. Indeed, with the seven public high schools working in conjunction with Western Colorado Community College, both the students and community benefit.   
This video reports on the path from high school to becoming a doctor.
Paramedic Firefighting Training for High School Students
Of course, a medical career extends far beyond hospital walls. Students in Janesville, Wisconsin can begin preparing for a paramedic firefighting career during high school. 
As the Janesville Gazette reveals, nine high schools in the Janesville area are providing students with the unique chance to partake in professional firefighter training courses. This program allows participants to earn credits towards both their high school and associate’s degrees. To prepare them for the workforce, students are provided with formal instruction, as well as hands-on simulated exercises and training experiences. 
Allowing students to gain, “An opportunity to get a jump-start on college and explore a possible career in firefighting,” students learn how to work as a team, breathe using oxygen tank support, diminish the spread of a fire, and help injured victims. In addition, students learn how to respond to an array of medical emergencies. With CPR training, injury awareness and training, as well as emergency response instruction, participants engage in courses that undoubtedly prepare them for a rewarding future in medical and public services.     
Upon completion of the program, high school students earn 25 credits towards their advanced degree in fire science. Adding to this perk, many participants report that the classes are both challenging and enjoyable, as the opportunity provides students with a greater motivation to work hard and stay focused in school. 
This video offers another take on the path from high school to becoming a doctor.
The Future of Vocational Training in High School
Perhaps based upon the success of the medical-vocational program in Western Colorado, the Colorado Springs School District is considering opening a vocational center to prepare its students for the workforce upon graduation. While the school district would still have vocational courses on its high school campus, the center would supplement the education with focused programs, such as:
  • A hands-on clinic where students can practice the concepts and skills learned through their medical technology and nursing courses 
  • A student-operated restaurant to help culinary arts students hone their expertise
  • An art gallery that would give students an opportunity to not only sell art but understand gallery management and how the art industry operates
This video reports on Stanford's introduction to medicine program for high schools.
Even if students do not immediately enter into the job force upon graduating from high school, these vocational high school programs certainly prepare students for continued education, helping them earn credits in high school that will apply towards degrees or certifications. 
Today’s public schools are exploring new ways to prepare their students for the world outside of high school corridors. Whether the students attend college or enter directly into the workforce upon high school graduation, today’s students certainly have vocational opportunities to prepare for an immediate medical services career.
Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @publicschoolreview

Additional Resources [+]
comments powered by Disqus
Preparing for a Fashion Career through Public High School Classes
Preparing for a Fashion Career through Public High School Classes
Modern Sex Ed: Should Public Schools Provide Condoms to Students?
Modern Sex Ed: Should Public Schools Provide Condoms to Students?
Recent Articles
Summer vacation may be a time for relaxation, but being away from school may result in significant learning loss. Learn about how you can keep your child’s brain sharp this summer.
As more schools return to in-person learning, teachers and parents find themselves dealing with the trauma and stress created by the pandemic.
After more than a year of remote learning, schools are finally returning to in-person instruction but how has the pandemic changed the face of public education and what will it look like moving forward?
Parenting and Learning Issues

High School Issues

Learn more about issues specific to high school students. Get an overview of high school graduation rates, college readiness, career choice and social issues impacting teenagers in public schools.