Pipeline Programs Expand Career Options

Are you the first person in your family to go to college? Are you interested in pursuing a health care career but don’t meet all of the requirements to gain admissions to a health professions program? Then a pipeline program may be a good career-boosting choice for you.

What are pipeline programs?

Pipeline programs are design to provide educational and career support to students belonging to racial/ethnic minorities or who have other challenges applying to or entering health professions programs. A student might participate in a series of programs starting in secondary school through college and beyond.

Pipeline interventions can include test preparation, academic coursework, shadowing experiences and mentoring. The end goal is to increase academic skills, teach you about the health professions and/or introduce you to the rigor of the academic program in a health professions school.

Where can you find a pipeline program?

Pipeline programs are offered in many locations across the country and target students in the surrounding local communities. The Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) is a federal program that provides grants to accredited health professions schools to enhance the academic skills of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and support them in successfully entering and graduating from health professions training programs.

Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) have state and local programs that are committed to expanding the health care workforce, maximizing diversity and facilitating distribution of health care professionals, especially in underserved communities. AHECs offer creative, hands-on and innovative health careers curricula for high school and college students.

Ask your teacher, guidance counselor, professor or pre-med advisor for more information about pipeline program opportunities. If you’re already in college, consider joining a prehealth club on your campus. It’s a great way to network with peers and learn about local and national recruitment events.

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