Sanford-Brown Blogs

How to Get Hands-on Experience in the Healthcare Industry

March 22, 2009 0 Comments

These days, as the healthcare field expands and incorporates more technology, there are increasingly more career opportunities for medical professionals. For instance, employment is projected to grow faster than average in the fields of radiologic technology, cardiovascular technologist and technicians, and medical billing and coding specialists, just to name a few. But where do individuals without healthcare backgrounds get the hands-on experience they need to foster a career in cardiovascular technology, medical billing and coding, diagnostic medical sonography, and other emerging healthcare professions?

One of the best ways for an individual seeking a career in the healthcare industry to gain hands-on experience is through educational pharmacy technology programs, radiography programs, medical assistant programs, and other educational programs in the healthcare industry that offer hands-on training as part of their curriculums. Within these programs, students complete externships as part of their medical billing and coding training, cardiovascular technology programs, or other programs that offer diplomas, certificates or specialized associate degrees in the ever-growing healthcare field.

For instance, as part of a pharmacy technology program, students may complete an externship that consists of supervised experiences in pharmacy technology training. As part of this experience, students may have to demonstrate competency as pharmacy technicians. They may have to complete logs to prove they received hands-on instruction as part of their pharmacy technology training. Students may also have to complete evaluations as part of their experience.

In externships that accompany medical assistant courses, diagnostic medical sonography training, or other courses of study, students observe healthcare professionals at work and can gain hands-on experience in their chosen area. Students also get to work one-on-one with professionals working as radiographers, pharmacy technicians, and other types of professionals in the healthcare field. Depending on their individual programs and the healthcare facilities where they extern, students may work in one department or rotate through several departments. This real-life experience helps students develop the critical-thinking and assessment skills they can't necessarily develop in the classroom.

At the conclusion of an externship that accompanies a radiography degree, medical assistant diploma, or other degree or program in a healthcare-related field, students can be well-prepared to seek entry-level employment in their field of study.

In addition, externships at healthcare facilities can help open the door to an entry-level job in cardiovascular technology, radiography, or other healthcare specialty. While receiving hands-on training, students develop a work history that could lead to a job offer once they have completed their educational training.

If you are seeking a career in the healthcare industry and are currently looking for a pharmacy technology program, diagnostic medical sonography program, or similar educational training, look for a program that includes an externship as part of the requirements. The hands-on training you receive can be invaluable, both in expanding your knowledge base and making you more marketable once you’ve received your degree or diploma.

Sanford-Brown College - Cleveland is close to many locations:
Elyria, OH - approximately 22.3 miles
Lakewood, OH - approximately 8.7 miles
Medina, OH - approximately 20.8 miles
Strongsville, OH - approximately 4.8 miles


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Radiologic Technologists and Technicians, on the Internet at (visited January 13, 2009).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, on the Internet at (visited January 13, 2009).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, on the Internet at (visited January 13, 2009).


What do you think?




Terms and Conditions

By providing your mobile number, you agree to receive text messages from Sanford-Brown via its mobile text message provider.  You may opt out of receiving messages by texting the word STOP to 94576, or simply reply with the word STOP to any text message you receive from Sanford-Brown.

While CEC or its mobile text message provider will not charge end users for receiving/responding to promotional messages, depending on the terms of your mobile phone plan, you may incur a cost from your mobile service carrier to receive and respond to any promotional text messages (standard messaging and data rates/fees and other charges may apply).  Charges will appear on your mobile phone bill or will be deducted from pre-paid amounts.  Current participating/supported carriers are: Alltel, AT&T, Boost, Cellcom, Cellular One, Cellular South, Cincinnati Bell, Cricket, Element Wireless, Golden State Cellular, iWireless, Metro PCS, Nextel, nTelos, Plateau Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless, Viaero Wireless, Virgin, and more.