Who are health professions advisors?
How can a health professions advisor help you?
Who can be aided by a health professions advisor?
How can you find a health professions advisor?
Locate your advisor
Colleges and universities with NAAHP members?
For Which Health Professions Can I Get Advice?
Students exploring or planning a career in medicine or in any other health profession should seek out the health professions advisor on their campus to assist them. Most U.S. colleges and universities designate an individual as the school's health professions advisor. That person is often a faculty member, often in the sciences, who advises health professions students as well as teaches them, and perhaps even performs scientific research. The health professions advisor may be a member of the academic dean's office that oversees all academic advising at the institution. Another possibility is that the advisor is housed in the school's career center, specializing in advice regarding health careers. The common denominator is that health professions advisors are knowledgeable, supportive individuals whose role is to provide information and guidance as you prepare for your chosen profession.
Your advisor can help you determine which courses satisfy premedical or other health professions requirements, how to best sequence them, and how to find tutoring or other academic support if you are having difficulty. An advisor can guide you in incorporating study abroad, a double major, or a senior honors thesis into your course of study and still prepare well for medical school. Your advisor will encourage you to seek experience in the health care field as a way of informing yourself about the profession as well as strengthening your application to medical school. He or she will also support you as you try to determine the right career path for yourself, by assessing your own strengths and weaknesses, values and life goals. Although it may be possible to choose the proper courses, find meaningful health-related experience, explore your own personal strengths and weaknesses and negotiate the complexities of the medical school admissions process independently, seeking the advice of your health professions advisor will greatly ease your burden.
Who can a health professions advisor help?
All health professions advisors meet with students individually at their campuses to offer the assistance described above. But while many students applying to medical school or other programs for other health careers are traditional college-age, some are not. Increasingly advisors work with older or "nontraditional" students who have graduated from their institution or who have come to the school to pursue post-baccalaureate course work. All students, regardless of age or status, should seek out the health professions advisor where they are currently studying or at their alma mater. Policies differ from school to school, but some students with access to health professions advising are unaware of this valuable resource.
Many health professions advisors are members of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions or its regional affiliates. By supporting and informing health professions advisors, the association helps ensure that students receive accurate, up-to-date information and skilled counseling from their advisors. The association maintains close working relationships with health profession groups such as the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Dental Education Association to keep advisors informed and to plan collaborative efforts to benefit students. In addition, NAAHP offers several official publications to aid students in their preparation for medical school.
A significant service that NAAHP provides to students is a mechanism for identifying a health professions advisor. We believe that all students should be able to find affordable, quality health professions advising.
Locating your advisor
The majority of colleges and universities throughout the country have designated an individual to serve as advisor to students applying to health professions schools (for example, medical, dental, veterinary medical, optometry, physical therapy, physician assistant, chiropractic, nursing, genetic counseling, naturopathic medical, and pharmacy). Whether you are a current student or an alumnus/a, you are encouraged to contact that individual for information and advice. If you are uncertain, you should first contact your Academic Dean to determine if there is an advisor who serves this role.
NAAHP is pleased to have among its members advisors from the schools listed. If you see your current institution or alma mater listed, you can be assured that there is an advisor at that institution. More than that, you can assume this individual is committed to staying informed so they can be as helpful as possible to their students.
However, it is sometimes the case that a student's institution does not have an NAAHP member or even a health professions advisor. Some institutions are not able to offer advice to their alumni. If you have investigated and know this is the case at your institution or alma mater, then you may contact a NAAHP advisor.
NAAHP members have volunteered to be available to those individuals who have no other access to advising. Please send your detailed question, along with your full name, to: firstname.lastname@example.org — Please indicate the undergraduate school that you are attending, or have graduated from and when you graduated. In addition, please indicate which particular health profession you are interested in, and in what State you currently reside.
Your questions will be forwarded to one of our volunteer advisors and that individual will respond to you directly.
NAAHP volunteer advisors have the expertise to help answer questions about the diversity of health careers, which include, but are not limited to the following health careers: Audiology and Speech Pathology, Nursing, Osteopathic Medicine, Podiatric Medicine, Dentistry, Medicine, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Naturopathic Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Chiropractic Medicine, Optometry, Public Health, Health Administration, Physician Assistant, and Genetic Counseling.