What Is HOSA and How Does It Benefit Health Science Students?
As a health science curriculum provider, we work with hundreds of CTE health science teachers every year.
Many of these teachers are brand new and have heard of HOSA, but aren’t familiar with what HOSA is and how it can help their students prepare for careers.
On this page, we’ll answer the most common questions health science teachers ask us about HOSA:
- What is HOSA?
- Who can join HOSA?
- How does HOSA benefit your students?
- How can teachers support their students in HOSA?
In addition to finding answers to these questions, you’ll learn how teachers like you use digital curriculum to prepare students for success in HOSA.
1. What Is HOSA?
HOSA, officially known as HOSA-Future Health Professionals, is the career and technical student organization (CTSO) specifically dedicated to preparing students for careers in the Health Science career cluster.
The mission of HOSA is to empower its members “to become leaders in the global health community through education, collaboration, and experience.”
Currently, there are more than 245,000 HOSA members across 54 chartered HOSA Associations across the world.
2. Who Can Join HOSA?
HOSA has three levels of student membership, that it calls “divisions”:
- Middle School Division
- Secondary Division
- Postsecondary/Collegiate Division
To become a member of one of the divisions, a student must meet two criteria. The first is that the student must be in the appropriate level of schooling (as described in the division names).
Second, the student must either be in a health science program or plan to pursue a career in healthcare. This is key to note, as interested students may not be enrolled in a CTE health science program but can still join HOSA.
The only exception is the third division – postsecondary/collegiate. In order to join, a student must be enrolled in a postsecondary or college health science program.
Along with those specific criteria, students who want to join HOSA must join an official HOSA chapter by getting in touch with their school’s chapter advisor.
If students are interested in joining HOSA but their school doesn’t have a chapter, they need to talk to their health science instructors about starting a new HOSA chapter themselves!
3. How Does HOSA Benefit Health Science Students?
Like any CTSO, HOSA provides its members with opportunities to grow their skills in order to have successful careers.
Being involved in an organization like HOSA, students quickly build soft skills like teamwork and communication skills. Additionally, students can take on leadership roles as officers at the local, state, or national level.
Along with interpersonal skills, HOSA helps students hone their hands-on healthcare skills through the HOSA Competitive Events Program.
Events are initially held at the regional level and students who qualify there can go on to compete at the state or national events.
During the events, students demonstrate a wide range of professional and healthcare skills, such as:
- Health Career Exploration
- Medical Math
- Speaking Skills
- Cultural Diversities & Disparities
- Human Growth & Development
- Public Health
- Medical Law & Ethics
- Medical Terminology
- Behavioral Health
- Clinical Nursing
- Medical Assisting
- Nursing Assistant
- Sports Medicine
- CPR/First Aid
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Interviewing Skills
- Job Seeking Skills
- And more!
While receiving an award or recognition can be a highlight for students, HOSA reinforces that there is more to the programs and events than just getting an award.
Overall, the goal for HOSA members is to hone their skills and knowledge to prepare for a successful career in healthcare!
4. How Can You Support HOSA as a Teacher?
As a health science instructor, you play an important role in helping prepare students for the workforce.
This is also true when it comes to supporting students in HOSA, as the organization states: “Just as HOSA wouldn’t exist without students; HOSA Advisors are the backbone to the organization.”
So how can you support HOSA in your school and give your students these amazing opportunities?
HOSA has a Chapter Advisor Resource Guide with information, guidelines, and tips to help you! This resource is broken into 11 sections to take you from square one to a full-fledged HOSA advisor:
- Get to know HOSA
- Get connected
- Recruit students
- Develop bylaws
- Role of the HOSA advisor
- Elect officers
- Hold chapter meetings
- Plan activities
- HOSA in the classroom through competitive events
- Attend conferences
While this is a lot of information to go through, supporting your students through HOSA comes down to one thing -- effectively helping your students develop skills for success in health care careers.
Because the Competitive Events Program is such a huge part of being a HOSA member, that’s often a teacher’s main focus when planning.
To accomplish this, you need to help students meet event standards in your day to day instruction. Additionally, your students need ways to review and practice the skills you’ve already covered.
In our experience, we’ve found teachers have the most success with HOSA event prep by following three steps:
- Helping students pick the best events for them
- Incorporating HOSA events into their daily lessons
- Sharing resources that align to HOSA events
To accomplish this, you could create your own checklists, rubrics, and review guides.
However, preparing students for HOSA events is only one part of your position. You also need to plan lessons, teach classes, and assess student learning.
Balance Being a HOSA Advisor With Teaching Your Classes
If you’re looking for a structured way to teach your classes and help your HOSA students succeed, consider looking into the AES digital curriculum, HealthCenter21.
HealthCenter21 is a system built to empower health science educators and help students succeed.
This is made possible with more than 600 curriculum hours of content and hundreds of ready-to-use resources teaching materials.
Because it’s online, HealthCenter21 is updated as the healthcare industry changes or new standards are released. This makes it the perfect tool for both in the classroom and for your students to use when preparing for competitions.
HOSA advisors across the United States are already taking advantage of the flexibility provided by digital curriculum.
Here’s how Jessica Wentworth, a health science instructor in Missouri uses it:
“For HOSA students, teachers mainly request the HealthCenter21 digital curriculum so they can prepare on their own. Students can select topics that are appropriate and complete them at their own pace.
Because some of our HOSA clubs are a pretty decent size, it gives the instructor time to focus on more students or the whole group as opposed to helping one person practice at a time.”
Click below to learn more about how Jessica uses digital curriculum for HOSA: