Enjoy working in a fast-paced environment and helping people? If so, a career in healthcare might be for you. In Westchester County, a variety of healthcare programs available at local schools such as PNW BOCES and Westchester Community College don’t require a degree.
“Being in healthcare adds many layers of beauty and fulfillment to your life,” says PNW BOCES Instructor Caroline Murphy. “It is a career that I will never regret embarking on and one that I now parlay my love for by teaching the next generation.”
Murphy currently teaches the Certified Nursing Assistant course and New Visions Health course at PNW BOCES. In addition, the school offers courses such as Certified First Responder, EMT, Intro to Health Occupations, Intro to Physical Therapy, Sports Medicine, and Veterinary Science.
“We have added a Patient Care Technician program which will roll out this fall,” PNW BOCES Executive Principal Preeti De says. “In addition, many of our students get opportunities to do internships and work-based learning experiences with hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare institutions.”
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The New Visions Health course requires students to participate in internships through which they get to experience the profession first-hand at partner hospitals. During the course, students shadow doctors, RNs, and pharmacists as they witness surgeries, oncology, births, and other activities happening in healthcare settings.
“This is a field that has a large shortage in the workforce,” De adds. “Lot of students think they want to enter this profession, but don’t realize the work ethic, compassion, and psychological preparedness that are essential to the job.”
Westchester Community College also offers healthcare courses such as Clinical Medical Assistant, Electrocardiography (ECG), Phlebotomy Technician, Infection Control for Healthcare Programs, Medical Administrative Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, and more. The programs are designed to give students real experience in the medical field as they develop skills and ethical practices in their desired specialty.
Many of the educational and certificate programs offered in Westchester help people enter the healthcare field and fill jobs that are in high demand. Local hospitals such as Montefiore are constantly hiring for entry-level positions, according to Peter Semczuk, the Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the Moses and Wakefield Campuses. He also oversees Montefiore’s Faculty Practice, including Montefiore Einstein Advanced Care in Westchester.
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“We are constantly on the lookout for diverse people because that’s the population of patients that we care for,” Semczuk says. “If you’re going to join an organization like this, you have to understand that your primary commitment is the community you serve. The center of the universe in healthcare is the patient.”
Entry-level positions often lead to further training and advancement, which allow people to build long-term careers in the field. In addition to the personal growth opportunities in healthcare, careers in the field are expected to grow much faster than other occupations over the next decade. Between 2020 and 2030, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be about 2.6 million new jobs in healthcare due to growth and replacement needs.
Like Westchester Community College and PNW BOCES, Montefiore helps students gain hands-on experience in healthcare environments through its internship program. It holds a paid summer enrichment program for high school and college students interested in health careers who come from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The program connects students to the larger community and acts as a stepping stone for them to pursue a lifelong career in healthcare.
“One of the most important things that we can do is build and create opportunities for people where they live,” Semczuk says. “Healthcare is an extremely rewarding career and, if you are looking for a place that connects your head to your heart, it’s here.”