In September of 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the most influential document in American history: the United States Constitution. CAHE celebrates Constitution Day each September!
Congratulations! You got the interview. This accomplishment means you’re a viable candidate for the position you are seeking. However, you’re still far from getting an offer. It’s time to hone your sales skills and you prepare to sell an invaluable product…yourself! Here are five areas to focus on before your interview appointment.
1. Research the hiring company
You will see that each of these five tips focus on preparation. One of the most important is to learn about the company you’re about to speak to. Nothing better shows a hiring manager that you are detail oriented and diligent.
Read through the company’s website, and while you’re doing so make notes of areas you’d like to bring up during your interview conversation. Depending on the site content, you should be able to find product offerings that relate to your skills, and you may even find clients of the company with whom you’re familiar. This exercise also gives you an opportunity to learn about the company’s culture.
It’s important to look at the news and blog sections, as this is where you’ll find the most recent updated material. Google the company to get more objective information. You can impress your interviewer with a congratulations on a recent award or a question about the success of a new product launch.
2. Have questions ready
At the end of your interview, it’s almost certain that you will be asked, “do you have any questions for me?” The worst response you can give to this question is NO, even when is followed by an explanation, such as “No, I think I have all the information I need,” or “No, you covered everything.” Have two or three questions prepared that relate to the position, the company, or even the hiring manager and his or her responsibilities. Avoid questions about salary and benefits; especially on the first interview and never with anyone except for the human resources manager.
Here are a few examples of good questions you can have prepared:
• Is this a new position or am I replacing an employee? (this lets you know if a person left the company or was promoted)
• What kind of the training / on-boarding process do you provide?
• What EMR system (or other technology) do you use?
3. Prepare answers for common questions asked of applicants
You have some great questions ready, now it’s time for the even tougher part. You will inevitably be asked some, if not all, of these questions. Have your responses ready.
• What made you choose a career in healthcare? Or more specifically, why did you choose [your specific healthcare profession]?
• Why did you leave your last position?
• Why do you feel you’re a good fit for this job? Or, why should we select you over the other candidates?
Job websites provide a full list of potential “trick questions” hiring managers ask.
4. Quantify your experiences or studies
When you are asked about your achievements, put them in terms that will show direct benefits for the hiring company. For example:
Instead of “I set up a new inventory tracking system,”
Say “The new inventory tracking system I set up saved hundreds of dollars per month in misplaced supplies.”
Instead of “I passed the program assessment at school to qualify for this position,”
Say “I excelled at program assessment skills that have prepared me to work well as a team member, such as punctual attendance, class participation and project completion, cooperation with faculty.”
Instead of “In my last position I was required to handle the needs of patients,”
Say “I’ve received cards and letters from family members thanking me for my caring attitude towards their loved one.”
5. Follow up with all interviewers
It’s surprising how many applicants don’t follow-up. It’s a great way to set yourself apart.
Send a separate message (email or snail mail) to each person you spoke with. You should send it within 24 hours of your interview. Reiterate important aspects of the job and how you can directly meet their needs. You can also use this opportunity to add in anything important that you feel wasn’t covered during your interview(s). If you discussed any materials you created, you can attach them or mail them with your message.
The effort you put in before going on an interview will increase your chances of landing your dream job. Good luck!
In our blogs, we often speak of the soft skills that are key to a student’s successful healthcare career. Aptitudes that are important include written and oral communication, attention to detail, responsibility, and professionalism. These characteristics will also be helpful during the job search process.
Here are some tactics for combining your academic knowledge with your soft skills strengths that will help land the job you’ve been working towards.
1. Write a Winning Resume
Hiring managers scan each applicant’s resume for an average of six seconds. With that in mind, put the most important information first, and be sure to format the body of your resume so that key words and phrases will catch their attention. Here are some tips for arranging resume content.
- Begin with a focused objective statement and follow it with core strengths that are significant for success in the desired position.
- Follow with education and certification(s) so that they are on the upper part of the page. List key courses and their takeaways that relate to the job for which you’re applying.
- Either within the education section or directly after it, list relevant student experience that was gained in clinical training.
- List your work experience next. If you don’t have a history of medical experience, describe how your successes at prior jobs can translate to the new position; such as customer service, sales, inventory tracking, and project management.
- Include any volunteer experience and community organization work.
2. Create a Professional Social Profile
Linked-In is the primary social site for professionals. Your profile is critical; spend time creating a strong one. Include a copy of your resume and a professional-looking photo (avoid pets and avatars). To further strengthen your presence, ask former teachers and employers for recommendations.
Send invitations to fellow students, instructors, and other professionals you know to build a strong network. You can also join groups and follow companies and organizations of interest. LinkedIn has great job search resource.
It should go without saying that most hiring managers will Google your name and look at all of your online profiles and content. Be mindful of what you post and share!
3. Prepare for the Interview
Do your homework. Before your interview, read the company’s website. Make note of any news and press releases, such as corporate merges, management hires, or new product launches. This might provide you with the opportunity for smart questions or comments during the interview. Be sure to have some questions prepared. You’ll inevitably be asked, “Do you have any questions?” The worst response to this is “No!”
If you’re asked to tell the hiring manager about yourself, talk about successes, both professional and academic. Even if you don’t have a long list of job accolades, you can talk of experiences from your education that directly relate to the position. Even personal stories might be appropriate, such as volunteer experience or hobbies that positively reflect your personality. Have some examples mentally prepared, so you won’t be caught off guard.
All your preparation could be for naught if you don’t make a good first impression. Dress appropriately for the position you’re applying to and don’t overlook the cleanliness of hair, nails, shoes, and clothes.
Are you ready to present yourself as the perfectly qualified, well-rounded candidate? Prepare for your interview with a solid resume and professional readiness, and you should be at the top of the hiring manager’s list.
Last month’s blog, The Top 7 Reasons to Join the Healthcare Field, provided an outlook of the healthcare field. It discussed the reasons why healthcare is a good professional choice for students entering the workforce as well as for people looking to make a career change. This article is a shift from the pragmatic reasons to a discussion of the personal characteristics and soft skills that will drive success and happiness as a healthcare professional.
Many healthcare professionals witness pain and suffering on a daily basis. In these situations, they must treat patients and their families with compassion and respect. A kind word or action can make all the difference to a patient; whether in a doctor’s office, hospital, or treatment room.
Those who work in a patient-centered job must understand how important their disposition is to the people they will be assisting. And even if you’re having a bad day or you’re just not in a good mood – for whatever reason –personal feelings must be put aside on the job.
There are many areas where communication skills play an important role in a healthcare worker’s success. As it relates to empathy, employees dealing with patients must be a good listener to understand their medical and emotional needs. It’s also necessary to know how to find the right comforting words when the situation requires difficult conversations with patients and their families. Nonverbal communications, such as facial expressions and body language, are also important skills.
All members of a medical team must be able to understand and follow instructions and clearly articulate directions. Listening skills are essential. Clear communications give the entire team the information they need to respond quickly and accurately to every situation, including emergencies.
Medical professionals learn how to follow protocol that protects patient confidentiality. Be sure to understand HIPAA privacy rules, which have very stringent guidelines regarding verbal and written communications.
Accuracy is important in all professions, but in the medical field, the smallest error could have extreme repercussions. Missing a step or making an error is not an option. Medical facilities provide many technology tools that help with organization. There will also be department procedures in place that maintain orderliness and ensure thorough patient care. Ultimately, it’s up to the employee to use the tools at their disposal to do their job with precision.
Working with sick and injured people day in and day out can take its toll, even for the most steadfast personality. If you’re considering a patient facing career, it’s important to understand that you need to be able to deal responsibly with traumatic situations. Your coworkers and patients will depend on your ability to deal with stress.
Consider a time when you needed medical treatment. What was it about the nurse, lab technician, or office receptionist that made the experience easier for you? The person or persons who come to mind probably have many of these characteristics, giving them a great “bedside manner.” If your personality is a fit for your career choice, you will have the same impact on people you meet and work with throughout your career.
What do you plan to do for a living? This is a major decision that can’t be taken lightly. That’s not to say that a career choice is a lifetime commitment. There’s always the opportunity to make adjustments or even a bold move as your circumstances change. At CAHE, some students are at the beginning of their career, while others have worked outside of the healthcare industry and are now getting an education to change the path they’re on.
Ask yourself: Which industry and occupation will allow me to reach my definition of success? Determine what’s most important to you. Think about salary, job security, growth opportunities, geography circumstances, and anything else that would impact your achievement potential. Here are reasons why healthcare may be the right decision.
#1 Phenomenal Growth
The healthcare field is exploding. Baby boomers are now seniors, and people are living longer. There are a record-breaking 50 million people age 65 and older in the United States. This aging population requires more medical care and sophisticated treatments. The medical field is working nonstop to keep up with these demands. New advancements require specialized workers, which provide opportunities that span the industry. The goal of healthcare providers is to keep longevity worthwhile by providing seniors with a comfortable quality of life.
#2 Impressive Salaries
Salaries vary greatly based on specialization, education, and experience. Look at salary estimates and other data for healthcare occupations at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Healthcare workers can oftentimes expect a gratifying paycheck for rewarding work.
Benefits are an important part of any job compensation package. Whether employed by a hospital, medical practice, or in another healthcare environment, one can generally expect to find excellent working conditions with numerous perks. Benefit package can include healthcare, paid time off and leave, savings plans, life insurance, short- and long-term disability, and pension plans. Some healthcare employers will also contribute to continuing education to help maintain their employees’ skill set and improve their knowledge.
#4 Opportunity for advancement
The huge growth in the healthcare field provides advancement opportunities for its workers. As employees gain experience, master the requirements of their job, or add to their knowledgebase, employers may welcome the chance to give them additional responsibilities – which could result in a promotion. Many healthcare positions will offer better opportunities for employees who receive advanced certifications and degrees.
#5 Professional Flexibility
There are so many choices for individuals working in healthcare. Some people prefer to work with patients; others are more comfortable behind the scenes. Skill sets vary, and there are healthcare jobs for those who work well with numbers, technology, or people. Consider various work environments. Healthcare employees may work in a large, busy facility such as a hospital, or a calm, quiet setting such as a doctor’s office or a lab. There are various medical fields and doctor specializations for qualified workers, such as geriatric, pediatrics, dentistry, internal medicine, orthopedics, and the list goes on.
#6 Personal Flexibility
In healthcare, workers aren’t forced into a 9 to 5 work week. In fact, in many cases that isn’t a viable option! Hospital work requires night shifts, weekends, and even holiday coverage. But employees are compensated well for these “inconveniences.” A doctor’s office would offer a more customary work schedule for people who want a more predictable work week. Many healthcare occupations offer part-time work. This might be important to consider based on lifestyle goals.
#7 Make a Difference
Regardless of the job title, skill set, or work environment, or whether it’s a patient-facing role or work behind the scenes; healthcare workers know that their professional contributions have a positive impact on patients’ quality of life. Many contribute to saving lives. Feel free to move this up to the #1 reason to join the healthcare field.
Later this month we will follow up with an article that will look at the unique characteristics and personality traits that will help students determine what type of healthcare career is the best fit.
The Bureau of Labor Information for Healthcare Professions
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers helpful information for students and professionals researching nearly any career field. For those interested in starting or advancing a career in healthcare, you’re going to be happy with what the data tells us. In some of our prior blogs, we’ve provide BLS data that relates to CAHE programs or healthcare industry occupations. As the end of 2017 approaches, we’ve decided to pull everything together for those making career plans for the upcoming year. To simplify your research process, this article compares employment data across the healthcare professions for which CAHE offers training and certification.
How’s the job outlook?
It’s difficult to make a bad career choice in the healthcare industry.
- The population is aging and living longer, which continues to increase the need for professionals in healthcare fields that treat geriatric patients.
- The elderly population will require sophisticated treatments for conditions such as heart disease and cancer, and healthcare facilities will require employees with the knowledge to provide this care.
- Technology continues to evolve in the healthcare field. Office equipment, such as electronic medical record (EMR) software, as well as imaging, testing, and treatment equipment are skills that are needed by healthcare practitioners.
Here’s the BLS projected change in employment from 2016 to 2026:
|Diagnostic Medical Sonography||+ 23%|
|Medical Assistant||+ 29%|
|Radiation Therapy||+ 12%|
|Radiography / Radiologic Technologists||+ 12%|
|Surgical Technologists||+ 12%|
Where do you want to live?
There is an ongoing need for qualified healthcare professionals across the United States, whether you prefer to live in a big city or rural country. Although logic dictates that it’s easier to get a job in a more highly populated area, you will have the opportunity for a successful career wherever you choose to live. According to BLS data, the highest employment states for the healthcare careers listed in the job outlook section are: New York, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, and Florida.
How much education do you need?
There are considerations to make when planning your healthcare education. In most states, a certification in the respective field is required to qualify for employment in the field. Generally, graduates qualify for the respective certification exams upon successful completion of an accredited program/ institution. Center for Allied Health Education (CAHE- Brooklyn, NY) is institutionally accredited and simultaneously holds accreditation for each program.
No post-secondary education or degree is required for employment in the fields of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Surgical Technology, Medical Assistant, EMT or Paramedic.
An associate degree or above is required for entry-level jobs as Radiation Therapists or Radiologic Technologists (X-ray techs). Applicants seeking admissions to CAHE’s Radiography Program are able to obtain a degree while in the program through an affiliated college if they have not previously acquired a degree (in any field) from a regionally accredited institution.
Which healthcare industry most appeals to you?
Healthcare employees work in a variety of industry settings. If you have a facility-type preference, consider these top industries:
Hospitals: all the careers discussed in this article are employed by either general medical or surgical hospitals.
Physician Offices: Medical assistants commonly work in physician practices and health practitioner offices. Technologists such as sonographers, radiation therapists, and surgical technologists also work with medical practices.
Medical and diagnostic laboratories: careers such as the technologist mentioned above that focus on imaging, testing, and treatments may also work in lab facilities.
Here are a few different workplace opportunities that might spark your interest:
- If you don’t like being cooped up in an office or even a hospital, consider and EMT paramedic career.
- Nursing home and assisted living facilities have a need for sonographers and medical assistants.
- Surgical Technologists and medical assistants have high levels of employment in dental offices.
The BLS data provides industry information by level of employment, concentration of employment, and top paying industries for each occupation.
How much money can I make?
Although it shouldn’t be your only consideration, the reality is we all want to make a comfortable living. Here’s some data provided by BLS that shows wage and then compares it to Metro New York. You can look at the BLS page for your career choice to see additional salary information.
Mean Annual Wage
Mean Annual Wage
|Diagnostic Medical Sonography||$71,750||$72,120|
For further Bureau of Labor Statistics information, search for the career that interests you at www.bls.gov.
Students interested in a healthcare career as an emergency first responder have training and certification options.But regardless of career plans, from EMT to paramedic, the first step is to get certified as what’s referred to as an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT-B).
To become a certified EMT-B, students mustfirst take a program that teaches the emergency care skills required for EMT work. The coursework shouldprovide the competency needed to handle a variety of medical emergencies. Students will learn how to assess patients and correctly respond to their needs. They’ll learntrauma care, CPR, hemorrhage control, fracture and spine stabilization, and childbirth. EMTs save lives by administering glucose for diabetics, providing oxygen to patients, and assisting with asthma attacks and allergic reactions. Programs also teachthe proper use of related technology, such as life support and defibrillator equipment.
Once an EMT-B course is satisfactorily completed, there are a few additional requirements needed both for students who would like to move directly into the healthcare workforce as an EMT and for those moving on to paramedictraining and certification. First, graduates should take the New York State Practical and Written Exam. The Department of Health website provides information, such as the written exam schedule.
National EMS Certification
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) provides information on all levels of national emergency medical service (EMS) certification. New York EMS technicians can complete their national certification first by passing the two NREMT tests:
- National Registry psychomotor examinations are standardized scenario-based tests. This test shows your level of competence for emergency care skills.
- National Registry cognitive exam is a computer adaptive test (CAT) that covers all aspects of EMS care.
When the applicant has passed both exams, they area Nationally Certified EMS Technician.
Becoming a Paramedic
In addition to the solid foundation of life-saving skills learned during EMT-B studies, paramedics are certified to perform advanced skills in emergency situations.Paramedics can administer medications and start intravenous lines. They are able to free airway obstructions and resuscitate patients. To learn more, read our previous blog on A Day in the Life of a Paramedic.
Whichever plans you pursue in your EMSstudies, be sure you get the best training. Lives will depend on it.
Education and training is essential to success in any occupation, but it is especially true for a career in healthcare technology. Many healthcare fields offer opportunities for advancement when a specialization is added to your resume. Radiologic technologists (also referred to as radiographers) can take continuing education courses to prepare for certification as a CT or MRI tech.
The first step is to become a certified radiographer. To qualify for certification, students must have completed a radiography program and hold at minimum an associate’s degree. Once these qualifications are met, students must pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) National Certification Exam and apply for a New York State Department of Health Radiologic Technology license.
CT Imaging Prep
Computed tomography (CT) imaging uses x-ray equipment for internal body scans. They are also referred to as CAT scans, which is an acronym for Computerized Axial Tomography. As opposed to conventional x-ray images, CT test results provide cross-sectional images that are sometimes viewed in a three-dimensional format. CT scanning is often used to detect cancer, as they display the size and location of tumors.
New requirements for CT technologists were updated in 2016. Radiology Today reports that by 2018, all technologists who performed CT exams will be required to be certified. Students must have achieved mandatory CT competencies to pass the ARRT exam. The test contains questions on patient care, radiation safety, image production, and procedures. More details on the exam content can be found here.
CAHE provides a CT Registry Prep Course that has been approved for 28.75 Category A Continuing Education (CE) credits by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT). Students who opt for the clinical component of the course have a nine-month window to complete their clinical competencies using CAHE’s affiliated clinical sites.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technologists must have an extensive knowledge of cross-sectional anatomy and physics. MRI diagnostic imaging test results provide three-dimensional internal body images without the use of radiation. These tests are well suited for imaging soft tissue within the body, such as organs, muscles, the brain, and spinal cord and nerves.
It certainly appears to be worthwhile to enhance your skills with MRI certification. US News and World Report’s 2017 best jobs rank MRI technologists #17 in best healthcare support jobs and #78 in the overall 100 best jobs category. The MRI exam includes questions on patient care, safety, image production, and procedures. ARRT provides information on the MRI examination at this link.
CAHE’s MRI Registry Prep Course has been approved for 34.75 Category A Continuing Education (CE) credits by the ASRT. Students who opt for the clinical component of the course have a nine-month window to complete their clinical competencies using CAHE’s affiliated clinical sites.
ARRT is a valuable resource for radiographers and students studying to enter the field of radiologic technology. Visit their website for detailed information on how to achieve these additional certifications with the ARRT exams for CT and MRI imaging equipment. Radiographers should consider one or both of these specialties to enhance their career.
For individuals interested in either of these two continuing education programs, CAHE offers a FREE IV Contrast Injection Certification Course for individuals registered for the CT/MRI Registry Prep Course at CAHE.
Working with Cancer Patients
There is so much gratification associated with radiation therapy work. Two aspects that immediately come to mind are its humanitarian dividends and high financial compensation. It’s not an easy profession and radiation therapists are expected to complete a great deal of work and perform patient procedures to a very high level of standard. They perform daily duties that can be both emotionally and physically taxing. However, considering the gravity and the importance of such a job, many find that it is a rewarding career choice.
What qualities make a great radiation therapist?
Attention to detail and a technical aptitude are characteristics needed to be a successful radiation therapist. They are required to take patient x-rays prior to radiation treatment, operate computer programs that administer the correct dose of radiation, as well as to deliver radiation treatment with various pieces of equipment. Another critical job requirement is to ensure that all equipment is working properly.
Due to the intensity of radiation treatments, there are soft skills that are vital for a radiation therapist’s success. Interpersonal teamwork and clear and accurate communications (both spoken and written) are critical for the success of the oncology team. Communications are also important for interactions with patients and their families during such a trying time. Radiation Therapists must be sympathetic, compassionate, and sensitive to each patient’s unique situation.
What are the educational requirements for radiation therapists?
Topics covered in a Radiation Therapy Program include anatomy, physiology and physics, to name a few. Most programs will also include courses in medical terminology, imaging, radiologic technology and radiation oncology. Clinical training will be the capstone of a student’s studies.
After successful completion of an accredited program and possessing a minimum of an associate degree, graduates qualify for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) national certification exam. In New York State, radiation therapists receive their license after passing this national registry.
How is the job outlook for radiation therapy?
According to the US Department of Labor:
• The national mean annual wage for a licensed radiation therapist is $84,980. In the New York tri-state area it’s $101,480.
• Due somewhat to the aging US populations, the job outlook for radiation therapy is expected to grow faster than average at a rate of 14% from 2014 to 2024. Approximately 60% of cancer patients will require radiation at some point in their disease.
• About one-half of the jobs for radiation therapy are in hospitals. There is also a demand for work in physicians’ offices, outpatient care centers, and in higher education.
Below are links to more Department of Labor data on occupations in radiation therapy:
As an important member of the oncology team, this is a career that’s a good fit for many medical students. Look at CAHE’s Radiation Therapy Program to learn more.
Visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation website to learn what you can do for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
How to Balance Ambition and Affordability
A healthcare education is an investment in your success, your happiness, and a secure future. When you consider the time and money you’ll be expending on preparing for a great career, be sure that you investigate all of the financial opportunities available to accredited higher education programs. Whatever your aspirations are, don’t let personal financial restrictions defer your goals. There’s plenty of help out there for determined students.
Student loans are a conduit for many students who otherwise would not be able to afford a higher education. Government programs are usually preferred, but private lenders are also available to help finance accredited programs. Many of these loans offer lower administrative costs, easy approval, and helpful payback policies.
Here’s what to look for when researching student loans.
- Student loans are considered low risk loans, and they are sometimes government-subsidized. This keeps loan application fees low. Be sure that your loan has a fixed rate, so you’re not faced with any surprises in the future.
- Lenders understand that students might not work while they are in school, and they may not have an established credit history. For these reasons, credit checks are more lenient for student loans than for other types of loans.
- Carefully review a loan’s repayment policy. Many lenders do not require payments until after you complete school. See if the loan carries an unemployment deferment clause, which will suspend payments if you are unemployed for a period of time.
- There are different types of loans that can be based on the borrower’s situation, the degree you are pursuing, or your field of study. The best place to start is the FAFSA website, where you can complete a free application online.
Just because you can get easy approval on a substantial sum of money, proceed cautiously. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that one day you do have to pay it all back. Hopefully, your successful career will make loan repayment a breeze; but, in any event, you want your payments as low as possible. Look into “free money” such as grants and scholarships to lower your loan requirements.
How to Apply for Grants and Scholarships
Loans are often the first option people explore when they are planning to finance their education. But they shouldn’t be the only option. Before you sign for your student loan, research the free money that is available through grants and scholarships. Grants are allocated based on financial need, and scholarships are merit based.
- The financial aid department at your school is a good place to start. They will be able to provide guidelines, and they can inform you of awards available to your school by local donors and corporations.
- Search online for scholarship and grant awards. There are websites that list available awards by type of medical program, or search for financial opportunities available that may specifically pertain to you, such as programs for minorities and veterans.
- Look for Associations in your future profession. They often offer scholarships and grants to students. As a side note, it’s a good idea to join one of these organizations. Not only will you have easier access to financial opportunities, you’ll also have use of a resource center and the opportunity to network with students and professionals.
- All students should look at the free application on the FAFSA This Department of Education office provides more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans, andwork-study funds each year to more than 13 million students.
CAHE offers financial aid for our accredited programs in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Radiography, Radiation Therapy, Surgical Technology, Medical Assistant and Paramedic Programs.