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CTE Career Clusters | Health Science | NCHSE

Emerging Trends for the Health Science Career Cluster

February 9th, 2017 | 7 min. read

Bri Stauffer

Bri Stauffer

For nearly 10 years, Bri has focused on creating content to address the questions and concerns educators have about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the iCEV curriculum system.

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At Applied Educational Systems, we work to support thousands of health science educators across the United States to have success in the classroom. We hope to support these educators by helping them stay up to date on educational and industry trends related to the CTE Health Science Career Cluster. One way we do this is to attend relevant conferences and meetings and “report back” on what we think health science instructors should be aware of.

phyllis-johnson-and-cindy-lecoq-181615-edited.jpegPhyllis Johnson, President-Elect, and Cindy Le Coq, Current President of NCHSE

The 2017 Annual Board Meeting for the National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE) was held February 1-2 in Phoenix, AZ. Because AES is part of the NCHSE Publishers/Resources Coalition, Anne Kuser attended to represent AES as a supporter of health science education. Anne has attended this meeting for a number of years, and is on the Special Projects Committee and the Assessment Committee.

After she returned from the meeting, Jim Schultz interviewed Anne to learn about any emerging trends that impact the Health Science Career Cluster. Among many topics discussed at the meeting, the two biggest trends Anne heard from the NCHSE members were:

  • The need for sports medicine curriculum across the country
  • The shift of Introduction to Health Care Foundations courses to the middle school level

In this article, I will review these two topics and explain why they are important to health science education. I will also explore potential impacts they could have on your own health science program.

The Need for Sports Medicine Curriculum

When Jim asked Anne what the biggest trends she heard from the CTE Health Science Specialists, Anne quickly replied:

It seems that there’s a definite need for curriculum for sports medicine… It’s a hot topic right now. In fact, I just wrote to Randy Honeywell in Nevada and asked if she is gearing up on Sports Medicine courses. She wrote back and said ‘We have lots of sports medicine courses here.’

That’s one state, but a majority of them did mention it. In Utah, Exercise and Sports Medicine… Also, South Carolina, Kansas, Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Washington state. That doesn’t mean they don’t all have a need, those are just the ones that cited it specifically when they were asked to talk about needing sports medicine curriculum.”

How could a shift towards including more sports medicine courses impact your health science program? If your school doesn’t yet have sports medicine as a course, with this trend that may change. Be aware that you may need to adjust your curriculum, or even get new instructional materials. It won’t happen overnight, though, so your administration should give you plenty of time to prepare!

Middle School Health Care Foundations Courses

Along with sports medicine curriculum, Anne said the other biggest area of discussion was the increase of middle school health science programs:

Introduction to Health Care Foundations is flowing down into the middle schools. There were several states that will be implementing in middle schools, and other will be picking it up in the near future.”

Here at AES we have seen this already, with some of our HealthCenter21 users in Florida and Georgia. Anne continued on in sharing why the State Leads for Health Science are looking to create a health science framework at the middle school level. First, citing the feelings of Cindy Le Coq, NCHSE Chair:

Cindy was very specific about how she felt… that it’s getting a little late at the high school level, and that the Health Care Foundations program should actually be implemented for middle school students.

A lot of the State Leads have heard that eventually they will be implementing those programs. They’re not necessarily there now, although we know in South Carolina they are starting to look for middle school health science curriculum.

As a group, they all agreed with Cindy that it should come down to the middle school, and they are seeing some strides in that direction.”

How would a change to having middle school health science programs impact your courses? Similarly to the addition of sports medicine courses, the movement of the introductory health science courses to middle school will impact your program. If you are primarily teaching Introduction to Health Science or Health Care Foundations, you might be asked to move from the high school to a middle school starting a health science program. Though, just like the sports medicine courses, this won’t happen very quickly, so you should have time to prepare for the transition.

Good News for Students Interested in Health Care Careers

Anne_with_HOSA_President_Elizabeth_Carnegie.jpegAnne pictured with HOSA President, Elizabeth Carnegie

Perhaps the best part of the 2017 Annual Board Meeting was when Edson Barton, the CEO of Precision Exams presented numbers on careers in the health care industry.

  • 445,000 new Health Science related jobs in the last 12 months
  • 33,000 new Health Science related jobs in September 2016
  • 3.8 Million net new Health Science jobs by 2024 
  • Healthcare jobs are to grow faster than any other industry, at 22% between 2014-2024
  • Home Health Aides have an expected 38% growth between 2014 to 2024

Data from:

If anything, those numbers will impact your health science program in a very positive way. As more students learn that a career in the health care industry is an option, and a good pathway to take, those students will start coming to your classroom. Not only is this a benefit to health science programs, and inevitably the health care industry… but students taking part in a CTE Pathway are having better success in school than those who are not:

Average High School Graduation Rate:

  • Concentrating in CTE = 90%
  • Overall = 75%

Average Postsecondary Education Rate:

  • Concentrating in CTE = 70%
  • Overall = 58%

Data from US Department of Education

So where can you go from here with all of this information? One place to get started is to learn more about the National Consortium for Health Science Education. Here’s how NCHSE is described on their website:

The National Consortium for Health Science Education (formerly known as National Consortium on Health Science and Technology Education) is a national partnership of individuals and organizations with a vested interest in health science education. The consortium was organized in 1991 to stimulate creative and innovative leadership for ensuring a well prepared healthcare workforce.”

To learn more about NCHSE, and how you can become a member, visit their website.

To read an interview between Jim Schultz and Cindy Le Coq of NCHSE on helping health science programs improve, click here: Expert Advice on How To Help CTE Health Science Programs