The Health Professions concentration offers students a focused, effective start to a career in healthcare. The curriculum includes courses in natural sciences, social sciences, and liberal arts, as well as application-based coursework in healthcare. Within Health Professions students have the opportunity to participate in health-related student organizations, gain real-world experience through undergraduate practicums and internships, and conduct undergraduate research with UH West O‘ahu and UH System Faculty and Scholars.
Students can choose to specialize in one of several plans of study including pre-nursing, pre-physicians assistant, pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy, pre-pharmacy, or pre-medicine. A General Health Sciences plan is designed to prepare pre-nursing students for nursing academic pathways. Other specializations, or tracks, allow the student to follow a clear career path and fulfill potential prerequisites necessary for graduate and/or professional school in medicine and health sciences. Students interested in graduate and/or professional school in medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and physician assistant studies may opt to follow a pre-health focus, which includes courses required for entrance into graduate school.
Graduates are prepared for entry-level career opportunities in healthcare and health-related services or for entry into graduate and professional programs.
Students who successfully complete the program will be certified in CPR/AED and First Aid, trained in Bloodborne pathogen safety, and may be eligible to apply to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination.
Internships / Practicums
All Health Professions students must complete an approved, graded, and supervised internship/practicum. This experience provides the opportunity for students to integrate and apply classroom learning in the healthcare environment, obtaining clinical skills while contributing to community organization’s resources. UHWO has developed relationships with a diverse array of healthcare organizations in the community, providing students with a wide range of opportunities from which to select. Potential internships/practicum sites include hospitals, healthcare clinics, private physician offices, physical therapy clinics, long-term care facilities (i.e. nursing facilities, sub-acute facilities, and assisted living) and community-based services (i.e. hospice, home care, and adult day care centers).
Careers and Earning Potential
Health professions is one of the fastest growing career areas in Hawaiʻi. According to the Hawaiʻi Industry Sector website, there is a projected increase in jobs from 2018-2027 showing growth in physical therapy (17 percent), occupational therapy (17 percent), and physician assistant (19 percent) fields. Additionally, the need for healthcare support staff is increasing. As demonstrated by data from Zippia.com, health science careers occupy seven out of the top 10 fastest growing jobs in Hawaiʻi. This information is supported by the State of Hawaiʻi Employment Projections for Industries and Occupations, with projections that show health care and social assistance careers will experience sizable growth of 17.52 percent from 2016 to 2026, with two out of the top three occupational groups advancing the fastest during this time related to the health field.
Students who decide to enter the work force immediately after graduation will be qualified for a variety of careers including positions as a health education specialist, medical equipment/pharmaceutical sales representative, community health specialists, health and patient educator, Healthy Start coordinator, home health care coordinator, health and wellness coordinator, and school health and program specialist.
For more information on careers and earning potential, visit the Hawaiʻi Career Explorer website.