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Iowa High School Students Check Out Healthcare Education Options

PHOTO: Some Iowa high school students are spending today learning about job opportunities in health care and the required education. The health care sector is expected to add more U.S. jobs than any other in the years ahead. Photo credit: DMACC
PHOTO: Some Iowa high school students are spending today learning about job opportunities in health care and the required education. The health care sector is expected to add more U.S. jobs than any other in the years ahead. Photo credit: DMACC
April 8, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa - A group of nearly 200 high school students and their parents is attending Discover Healthcare Day today at Des Moines Area Community College, where according to Dean of Health and Public Services Sally Schroeder, each will get a taste of about half of the 19 programs offered in such areas as dental, lab, optometry, pharmacy and nursing.

"For instance, nursing: What type of nursing is it? Is it hospital nursing? Is it clinic nursing or home care? So many things have changed in the individual programs, so it's really opening up their eyes to the many different areas of health," Schroeder said.

It's projected that the U.S. will add some 5 million health-care and social-assistance jobs in the decade ending in 2022, making that the fastest-growing of all economic sectors.

A growing number of those health care positions, said Schroeder, will require some post-secondary education.

"It's more critical thinking skills ... how we give them the information, but then how do they apply it," she said. "That's really, really important and that's what our employers, that's what our hospitals, that's what our clinics really want."

Schroeder said it's especially important to get more young people interested in health care work, because in rural states like Iowa, there's an even greater need for such workers.

"There really is, because the more rural the area, the smaller the hospital. For instance they don't have that base for employees, so there's always a need in rural Iowa," she pointed out. "And of course, we're an elderly state too, so somebody's got to take care of us."

In addition to that aging population, the growth in the need for health care workers is also being fueled by the increased access expected with the Affordable Care Act.

Discover Healthcare Day details are at go.dmacc.edu. Iowa jobs information is at IowaWorkForce.org. Job projections for the U.S. are at 1.usa.gov/1kD6wFK.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA