Laura Berlinsky-Schine 3 min read Extracurricular Activities

What is HOSA? Should You Join?

Formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, HOSA – Future Health Professionals is an organization that prepares students to lead and innovate in this pivotal sector of healthcare. Endorsed by both the U.S. Department of Education and Health Science Education Division of ACTE, the organization seeks to help both future healthcare professionals and the industry, which is always in need of qualified, compassionate workers.

 

What is HOSA?

 

HOSA is a student organization that provides professional healthcare and skill development for students of all ages, from middle school to post-graduate. For future and current healthcare professionals in many different niches, this serves as excellent preparation and offers extensive networking opportunities.

 

HOSA encourages students to build a multitude of skills, including leadership, technical, interpersonal, communication, and teamwork. Additionally, it helps students build character, self-esteem, and the characteristics of responsible citizenship, all toward the ultimate goal of assisting and motivating students to become qualified healthcare providers.

 

Students gain experience through chapter activities and the HOSA Competitive Events Program. These events are held at regional, state, and national levels. The organization also operates internationally.

 

Typical HOSA Events and Activities

 

Day-to-day HOSA activities should allow students to work toward the goal of planning for the future, promote career guidance, instill leadership and self-esteem, and encourage enthusiasm for and in the healthcare field. They should also expose students to the world of healthcare and encourage them to develop positive relationships with healthcare providers and others in the field.

 

A local HOSA chapter is governed by an advisor, who must familiarize themselves with the structure and mission of the larger organization. This advisor serves in a mentorship position and helps students develop personally and professionally. They are also responsible for assisting students with coordinating activities and relating them to their schoolwork. 

 

As part of their membership, students participate in service projects, sometimes together and sometimes individually. HOSA offers ideas like:

 

  • Coordinating a clothing, book, toy, or food drive
  • Sending care packages or cards to deployed troops, first-responders, or veterans
  • Teaching or tutoring important skills at a senior center, school, or ESL center
  • Organizing a charity walk
  • HOSA also has an annual week during which members give back to their communities through activities and service.

 

One core part of HOSA is the Competitive Events Program. This is foundational to each chapter’s day-to-day activities. In this program, students compete in events at the regional, state, and international level. Events fall into categories including skills-based, leadership, and team-based.

 

There are 58 events in total (not all events are offered for every age group). Examples include:

 

Health Science

  • Medical Terminology
  • Behavioral Health
  • Health Career Exploration
  • Pharmacology

 

Health Professions

  • Biomedical Laboratory Science
  • Dental Science
  • Home Health Aide
  • Physical Therapy
  • Veterinary Science

 

Leadership

  • Extemporaneous Writing
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Forensic Science
  • Original Medical Innovation

 

HOSA members may also be recognized for exemplary participation, projects, and leadership.

 

Who Can Join HOSA?

 

There are three student divisions: Middle School, Secondary, and Postsecondary/Collegiate. So, to join, you’ll need to fall into the appropriate division and age group. You’ll also need to plan on pursuing a healthcare profession or already be enrolled in a health science program (the latter is necessary if you’re a postsecondary or collegiate program). 

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How to Start a HOSA Chapter

 

To participate, you must join a HOSA chapter at your school by first speaking with the chapter advisor. If none exists already, look into starting one. 

 

Begin by talking to a health career program instructor if there is a health science program at your school, explaining the benefits of HOSA. You can work with them to create a chapter at the school.

 

At the collegiate level, you should work with like-minded healthcare students to establish a HOSA chapter. You’ll need to have a faculty member serve as your chapter advisor and check with your college about the procedures for starting a student organization. 

 

This information offers additional guidance for starting a school chapter.

 

A HOSA membership will help future healthcare professionals boost their applications. For more advice on improving your profile, try CollegeVine’s Chancing Engine. Not only will you receive tips on applying to college, but you’ll also see how you compare to accepted students at your dream school and find out your real odds of getting in. It’s completely free!

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.