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Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing an Allied Health School

Interested in allied health careers? Today there are over five million allied health professionals serving in over 80 different professions, representing approximately 60 percent of all health care providers, according to ExploreHealthCareers.org. With numbers like that, those who choose to attend allied health schools are in good company.

Allied Health

Avoid these allied health school mistakes

The right school means the right start to a fulfilling career. Unfortunately, many students make a few simple mistakes when choosing an allied health school, and that can mean a more difficult road to their degree. Here are some serious pitfalls to avoid when choosing the right allied health school.

  1. Not doing your homework. Sure, you know you have to hit the books hard once the first day of school rolls around, but what about the homework you must do before admission? Start by learning everything you can about allied heath schools, financial aid options, degree requirements, internships or clinical work, and any other points that pertain to a certain allied health field. The more you know about your chosen profession and the requirements for getting your degree, license or certification, the more prepared you will be when it's time to enroll.
  2. Ignoring accreditation. When it comes to a high-quality education, accreditation can be an essential element. Accreditation typically means that a school has been assessed by an independent body, and has been found to meet the requirements of the accrediting body. Institutional accreditation is meant to show that the school has met these requirements, while the programmatic accreditation applies to specific programs within the school. In some cases, a license to practice in the allied health fields can only be granted to those who have graduated from an accredited school. For more information on accreditation, visit the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, or CAAHEP.org.
  3. Taking the wait-and-see approach. Many students enter college with the idea that they still have a few years to figure things out and decide on their career path. But for those in allied health careers, education can move fast, and you could be ready to enter the workforce within just a few years. That leaves very little time to decide whether your educational path is really the one you want, so make the decision before you send off a request for admission.
  4. Going only by the school's reputation. A school might have an excellent reputation, but does that mean it will be the right fit for you? Maybe not, according to FastWeb.com. You might need a smaller classroom setting in order to thrive, or you might desire the type of learning experience that simply isn't offered by the more prestigious, expensive or highly-ranked school. Always check out the school on your own, rather than relying on the reputation -- no matter how great it might be.
  5. Assuming on your major. Let's say you are certain you want to work as an MRI technician, but once you are deep into your studies, you realize that respiratory therapy is actually what you want to do. Before you choose a particular allied health program, take a hard look at related occupations that you might enjoy. Spend time talking with those who have already taken the path into allied health careers and ask about their experiences in choosing a major.
  6. Ignoring the resources available to you. It can be very easy to assume that you can find all you need to know about an allied health school through a good online search. But why ignore the other possibilities for learning even more? Talk to former students, get in touch with admissions counselors, speak to those in the financial aid office, and take a tour -- either in person or virtual -- of the colleges you are considering. Learn as much as you can about the school and programs before you put it on your short list of definite possibilities.

According to the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professionals, those in allied health are involved with the delivery of health or related services pertaining to the identification, evaluation, and prevention of diseases and disorders, dietary and nutrition services, and rehabilitation and health systems management, among others. Becoming one of these allied health professionals may begin with the right education. Choose your allied health school wisely, and what you learn there may just hold you in good stead for a fulfilling life-long career.

Sources

"Allied Health Professions Overview," July 16, 2014, Explore Health Careers, July 16, 2014, http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/Field/1/Allied_Health_Professions

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, Accessed July 16, 2014, http://www.caahep.org/default.aspx

"Top 15 Mistakes to Avoid in College in Choosing a College," Fastweb!, Elizabeth Hoyt, April 1, 2014, http://www.fastweb.com/college-search/articles/3690-top-15-mistakes-to-avoid-in-choosing-a-college

"What Is Allied Health?," Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, 2014, http://www.asahp.org/about-us/what-is-allied-health/

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