What Is HOSA?

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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 200,000 members in 3,500 HOSA chapters across the US and other countries. (Yep, HOSA is international!)

On this page, we’ll take a look who can join HOSA, the opportunities that members have, how HOSA benefits students, and how health science instructors can support their students through HOSA.

Who Can Join HOSA?

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HOSA has three levels of student membership, that it calls “divisions”:

  1. Middle School Division
  2. Secondary Division
  3. 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 be planning to pursue a career in health care. 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!

Programs & Events for HOSA Members

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To help members become leaders in health care and succeed in their future careers, HOSA hosts several opportunities and events at the local, regional, state, and national levels.

As members in a local chapter, students partake in activities both in and out of the classroom to build their health care skills. These include service projects, following a dedicated program of work, and more.

Along with those activities, students have the opportunity to partake in the Competitive Events Program. This program is described as a way to “motivate HOSA members to improve their knowledge and skills.”

Events are initially held at the regional level and students who qualify there can go on to compete at the state or national events.

HOSA provided 60 different events for members for the 2018-19 school year.

The events are broken into six categories. One category is called Recognition Events. These events are designed so that anyone who meets the required standard is awarded a pin, certificate, or plaque. For the Recognition events there are no first, second, or third place awards.

The other five categories are truly competitive – in which only the top-scoring teams are awarded. The competitive categories are:

  1. Health Science Events
  2. Health Professions Events
  3. Emergency Preparedness Events
  4. Leadership Events
  5. Teamwork Events

The Competitive Events Program is highlighted on a national level at the HOSA International Leadership Conference (ILC). This event has been running for more than 40 years, and each year has a unique theme.hosa-ilc

The conference is held every June and provides attendees with opportunities they won’t find anywhere else. At the ILC, students can:

  • Attend general sessions
  • Check out exhibitors
  • Connect with others pursuing health care careers
  • Take classes through “HOSA University"
  • Earn health science certificates
  • Meet industry professionals
  • Compete in individual and team events

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 health care.

How Does HOSA Benefit Health Science Students?

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Like any CTSO, HOSA provides its student members with many opportunities, like the events and conferences mentioned above. Everything HOSA does is specifically designed to help students in three areas:

  1. Personal growth
  2. Professional growth
  3. Future opportunities

Personal Growth

Students involved in HOSA can personally grow in ways they may never have considered. Being in a HOSA chapter helps students build teamwork and communication skills as well as confidence in themselves.

Additionally, students can take on leadership roles as officers at the local, state, or even national level, which helps them gain even more.

Professional Growth

Some of the personal skills students gain from HOSA also flow into professional growth. As a health care professional, they will need to have good communication and teamwork skills every day on the job — and you can’t develop those in a classroom alone.

But they will also need to have a wide knowledge of health care concepts and the hands-on skills to back that knowledge up. The competitive skills events help students focus on building those critical skills.

Future Opportunities

Being in HOSA ultimately gives students access to opportunities they may not otherwise have. At conferences and events, students can meet industry professionals and potential employers.

In addition, members are eligible to apply for a wide range of scholarships to continue their education in the health care field. Specifically, HOSA has partnered with STEM Premier in order to provide scholarships to its members.

These scholarships are available for a number of career pathways such as pharmacist, nurse, speech therapist, occupational therapist, and more. With the partnership between these two organizations, finding and applying for scholarships is a snap!

Overall, the combination of personal growth, professional skills, and other opportunities will open up a wide world of potential careers for those in HOSA!

How Can You Support HOSA as a Teacher?

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Health science instructors play a unique and important role in helping prepare their 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:

  1. Get to know HOSA
  2. Get connected
  3. Recruit students
  4. Affiliate
  5. Develop bylaws
  6. Role of the HOSA advisor
  7. Elect officers
  8. Hold chapter meetings
  9. Plan activities
  10. HOSA in the classroom through competitive events
  11. 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.

To accomplish this, you could create your own checklists, rubrics, and review guides.

Or you could try the next big thing in health science education -- digital curriculum.

How Digital Curriculum Helps HOSA Students

Digital curriculum is an online system built to empower health science educators and help students succeed.

This is made possible with hundreds of ready-to-use resources, classroom management tools, and student tracking.

Because it’s online, digital curriculum is updated as the health care 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 US 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:

Learn More about Using Digital Curriculum for HOSA >