healthcare workerThere are many ways to gain professional experience for a health professions career. Everyone’s professional journey can look different, and pre-health students are encouraged to take opportunities they find interesting—even if they are not directly related to their field of interest. Every experience can add depth to your resume and future application, and also give you great stories to share during interviews to demonstrate your strengths and skills.

Here are some opportunities that can help you gain professional experience.

Search for internships and jobs on Handshake

If you are looking for an internship or job, Handshake is a great place to find opportunities. Handshake is CU’s free online recruiting tool used by thousands of employers. There are over 8,000 active positions posted, and many of these are in health-related settings. 

Try these keyword searches on Handshake to find opportunities: “technician,” “patient care,” “medical assistant” and “medical bill coding.” Roles like these can help pre-health students gain relevant experience:

  • Medical assistant
  • Medical scribe
  • Certified nursing assistant (CNA)
  • Emergency medical technician (EMT)
  • Phlebotomist
  • Surgery tech

Some of these roles require or prefer applicants that have a certification, but not all of them do. 

Just like on LinkedIn, you are much more likely to get noticed on Handshake if you have a completed and public profile. Follow these steps for setting up your Handshake profile.

Volunteer for a cause that’s important to you

One of the best ways to learn about yourself, develop skills and give back to others is through volunteering. Additionally, most health fields encourage applicants to engage in service opportunities that they are passionate about. The experience you gain through volunteering can help you become a well-rounded candidate when the time comes to apply. 

Volunteer roles can vary—you may find yourself doing everything from working in a health-related setting to helping at food pantries to collecting data for organizations. There are plenty of opportunities to find a role that matches your interests and fits your schedule. Connect with the Volunteer Resource Center (VRC) to learn more about finding service opportunities.

If you’re not in the Boulder area, you can find local opportunities through the United Way. There are also opportunities to volunteer virtually at these organizations: 

Consider an applicable certification

Some opportunities, like job shadowing and clinical experiences, may be challenging to find right now. But this is a great time to acquire certifications that can help you embark on those paths when they become available. 

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Medical Assistant (MA) certification will qualify you to work in direct patient-care settings. Additionally, certificates in contract tracing or medical scribe can help you gain experience and prepare you for a career in a health field. 

Keep learning

Learning new things and expanding on skill development can also help you become a well-rounded candidate. CU students have free access to LinkedIn Learning with hundreds of courses on a wide variety of topics. You can find learning paths and courses directly related to health professions, including: 

There are also many courses on non-technical skills like communication, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership that apply to all industries.

Here are a few other ways to keep learning outside of the classroom:

  • Opt for educational entertainment. Check out documentaries, podcasts and books on topics related to health. These can include racism and inequality in healthcare, nutrition and food industries, stress and self-care, medical history and innovations, etc.
  • Connect with others. Use the Forever Buffs Network to find and connect with CU Boulder alumni, and consider setting up some informational interviews to learn more about jobs or industries you’re interested in. 
  • Stay informed. Pay attention to current events and other news related to the health industry.

Career Services is here to support your path towards a career in a health profession. Learn more about getting started in health professions.