HOSA: The All-Inclusive Guide

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Who Can Join HOSA?

HOSA has a middle school division, secondary division, and postsecondary/collegiate division. High school students are in the secondary division.

To join, you must be in a health science program or plan to pursue a career in healthcare. At the collegiate level, members must be enrolled in a college health science program.

If you’re in a health science program and/or plan to work in the health field, get in touch with your high school’s HOSA chapter advisor to join. If your school doesn’t have a HOSA chapter, talk to a health science instructor at your school about starting one!

What Do HOSA Members Do?

HOSA helps future health professionals develop essential skills through chapter activities and competitions.

Each HOSA chapter is led by an advisor, who mentors students and helps them develop personal and professional skills. They work with students to coordinate activities that promote career guidance and planning, build leadership and self-esteem, and instill enthusiasm about working in the health professions.

Activities may include job shadowing, learning from guest speakers, and participating in training for skills like CPR and First Aid. Members also fundraise for travel to HOSA competitions and complete community service projects, such as organizing charity walks, tutoring younger students, or coordinating food and clothing drives.

In addition, many day to day HOSA activities revolve around preparing and practicing for HOSA’s Competitive Events Program.

HOSA Competitive Events Program

Through HOSA’s Competitive Events Program, members compete in regional, state, and international events. The purpose of competition is to motivate HOSA members and recognize their achievements.

Event categories include health science, health professions, emergency preparedness, leadership, and teamwork. There are 58 total events, although some events are not offered for every age group. Examples of HOSA competitive events include:

Health Sciences

  •       Medical law and ethics
  •       Medical reading
  •       Medical spelling
  •       Medical terminology
  •       Nutrition
  •       Pharmacology

Health Professions

  •       Clinical nursing
  •       Dental science
  •       Medical assisting
  •       Physical therapy
  •       Sports medicine
  •       Veterinary science

Emergency Preparedness

  •       CERT skills
  •       CPR/First Aid
  •       Emergency medical technician
  •       Epidemiology
  •       Life support skills
  •       Public health

Leadership

  •       Extemporaneous writing
  •       Interviewing skills
  •       Job seeking skills
  •       Organizational leadership
  •       Prepared speaking
  •       Research poster

Teamwork

  •       Biomedical debate
  •       Creative problem solving
  •       Forensic science
  •       HOSA Bowl
  •       Medical innovation
  •       Public service announcement

Most regions hold two conferences annually, a leadership conference in the fall and a competitive events conference in the winter or spring. State HOSA competitions are held in the spring to identify members eligible for competition at the HOSA International Leadership Conference. First, second, and third place winners receive HOSA Medallions.

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What Are the Benefits of Joining HOSA?

HOSA members get education and hands-on experience in the skills that are essential to healthcare professionals, including technical skills, communication, leadership, teamwork, and more.

You may meet helpful mentors, shadow healthcare professionals on the job, receive training in various skills, and compete with other ambitious future health professionals from across the country. You’ll also have the opportunity to win awards and recognition at the state or even international level, along with scholarships to help fund your college education.

Joining HOSA is a great way to prepare for college and career success, impress college admissions teams, and jumpstart an impactful career in healthcare.

Network and Connect

If you plan to pursue a career in healthcare, you can meet students with similar goals and interests through HOSA. You might connect with a future college roommate, co-worker, or simply some lifelong friends.

In addition to meeting like-minded students your own age, you’ll connect with successful healthcare professionals who can guide you along the way. These mentors will not only provide valuable advice, but they may offer you an internship or even a job in the future. In any career, the connections and network you build is essential for support and success.

Build Leadership Skills

HOSA gives you a jumpstart on many of the technical skills you’ll need in your future career, but that’s not all. You’ll also develop “soft skills” that are essential to success, like communication, collaboration, and leadership.

Demonstrating leadership in high school will also help you stand out when you apply to colleges. High school leaders are likely to become leaders in college as well, so college admissions teams look for applicants with proven leadership qualities.

You can also take on formal leadership roles through HOSA, such as becoming a chapter officer or running a HOSA program or initiative. These leadership roles are another bonus for your college applications — and your life experiences.

Enjoy Unique Opportunities

Most high school students don’t get the hands-on training and exposure to the health field that you’ll receive as a HOSA member. These unique opportunities will give you a head start in your college coursework and your career.

Additionally, HOSA’s regional, national, and international events are not just about competition. They bring together some of the brightest future healthcare professionals —like you— for fun, networking, and learning. In addition to competing in unique events, you’ll attend seminars, workshops, and exhibits about current trends and issues in healthcare.

With the valuable opportunities and experiences you gain through HOSA, you’ll feel more confident and prepared as you advance to the next step in your career.

Earn Awards and Scholarships

Your college applications are more competitive when you can list awards and recognition, especially when these honors are relevant to your major and career plans.

Through HOSA, you can win both competition medallions and a variety of other honors. These include the Barbara James Service Award, Outstanding HOSA Achievement, and Outstanding HOSA Leader.

HOSA can help you get into college, and it can help you pay for college too. HOSA members can earn scholarships from sponsors like CVS Health, American Dental Education Association, U.S. Public Health Service, Health Professions Network, National Consortium for Health Science Education, and many more.

In addition to the national HOSA scholarships, you may be eligible for HOSA scholarships at the state level too. For example, Florida HOSA members who plan to attend college in Florida and enroll in a health occupation program can apply for a Florida HOSA scholarship.

Many other organizations offer scholarships for the health professions that are not affiliated with HOSA. Still, your healthcare experience through HOSA can help you stand out and earn these scholarships.

So, joining HOSA can not only give your college applications a boost, but it can also help you pay for your college tuition.

Final Thoughts: Should I Join HOSA in High School?

Joining HOSA is highly beneficial for high school students interested in a career in healthcare.

You’ll gain both the technical and soft skills necessary for health professionals, from CPR and First Aid to communication, leadership, and teamwork. You’ll also make valuable connections and enjoy unique hands-on experiences in your future profession. By taking on leadership roles and earning awards and recognition, you’ll even boost the competitiveness of your college applications.

HOSA members also qualify for a wide range of scholarships that can help you pay for your college education. And if you enjoy the experience, you can continue participating in HOSA in college, further developing your skills and extending your professional network.

However, it’s important to note that HOSA is specifically for students who want to work in the health field. Plus, when it comes to extracurricular experience, colleges want to see what you’re genuinely passionate about. If you’re passionate about healthcare and plan to pursue it in the future, then joining HOSA will absolutely benefit you!

But if healthcare isn’t for you, high schools offer many other organizations that will be a better fit for your interests and goals. Extracurricular participation is ultimately about pursuing your passions and building on your strengths, so find opportunities that are right for you.

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