Start Early to Get Ahead in the Health Care Field

High school is a great time for students to learn more about their career interests before they begin an undergraduate program. In fact, if you plan your high school coursework well enough, you could even get an edge on fellow college applicants! Here are some suggestions for having a productive four years.

AP Coursework

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are programs created by the College Board that offer college-level courses and a final test for college credit. Most students take these courses to get transferable credit or get acknowledgement for their hard work in the subject matter. For health care programs, students will want to consider taking an AP science course, specifically biology, physics or chemistry.

Colleges and universities make the ultimate decision about whether they will award credit and placement. Most programs accept AP courses, but you should be sure to research whether your future program will factor in your AP credit.


Get a sense of what programs you want to consider for a health care career by taking elective classes. These give you a chance to learn if you want to continue to focus on a particular health care field or if another field strikes your fancy. Electives vary from school to school, but here are some common classes that match up with health care careers:

Check in with your guidance counselor to see what electives your school offers and which ones may match with your health care career interests.

SAT and ACT Prep

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) and the ACT (American College Testing) are the two tests that every high schooler should know about. Students have to choose to take either one as most programs require it for college admission. The SAT is divided into three sections: reading, math and writing/language. The ACT is divided into four sections: reading, math, english and science. Either one is accepted, but you’ll want to work with your guidance counselor to decide which test(s) you should ultimately take.

You’ll want to take these tests as early as possible to leave yourself enough time to do retakes. If your score isn’t exactly as high as you want it to be, many schools offer SAT or ACT prep classes and tutors and community colleges offer preparatory classes as well.

Dual Enrollment

If a local college offers it, you have the option to take dual enrollment classes. About 2 million students across the country are enrolled in these programs. Dual enrollment courses provide the opportunity to get college credit so students can begin their official first year at a college as a sophomore or junior. This means saving time and money for undergraduate courses. Keep in mind that not all colleges accept awarded credit from dual enrollment courses, so be sure to check with the registrar’s office when you apply.

High school should be fun, but it’s not a time to slack off! Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about your career interests and get an early start on your college career.

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