Health Sciences Career Pathway

Dental students

Explore careers in health care

The health care industry is seeing a surge in the need for high-quality graduates to work in nearly every aspect of the health care field. There are many career paths in this field from direct patient care to public health to medical administration and more.

Learn More About the Many Careers in Health Care

Watch Videos About Health Care Professions

Explore Real world Experiences in Health Care

A great way to explore whether an academic and career path is a good fit for you is to find opportunities to get real world experience early on in your journey: career fairs, entry-level training and jobs, internships, job shadowing, informational interviews, and more.

Real World Experiences in Health Care

Health Care Education Programs

Students can earn certifications in health care in as little as a few weeks to months.  These short programs are a great way to get experience in health care and obtain a job early on in your health care career.  Additionally, there are many longer programs in health care to help you advance your skills and increase your wages (from one year certificates to graduate school). See below for examples of the many degree and certificate paths in health care.

Degrees and certificates in health care

COCC Health Career Programs



Training Certifications

  • Peer Support Specialist (4 weeks)
  • Community Health Worker (10 weeks)
  • Phlebotomy (10 weeks)
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (10 weeks)
  • Emergency Medical Technician (20 weeks)

Certificates of Completion (1-2 years)

  • Medical Assisting
  • Dental Assisting
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Medical Office Specialist

Associate Degrees (2-4 years)

  • Licensed Massage Therapist
  • Health Information Management
  • Veterinary Technician
  • Paramedic
  • Registered Nurse
  • AAOT in Exercise Science/Kinesiology
  • AAOT in Public Health

Transfer Students

Students interested in a health career program at another community college can start at COCC to complete their pre-requisites and then transfer to another program. 

Students interested in a Bachelor's degree program can start at COCC to complete their Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) degree and then transfer to a Bachelor degree program at a University at the Junior level.  After earning a Bachelor's degree, students may choose to continue their education in health care in a graduate degree program.

COCC Academic Advisors will help students develop a plan for transfer based on the student's program and school of interest.

Explore Degrees at Oregon State University-Cascades


How to Research Academic Programs and Schools

Oregon Career Information System is an excellent resource for researching colleges and universities for health care training.

Simple Step By Step Guide for Using Oregon CIS to Research Programs & Schools





Earn College Credits in High School

High school students can jump start their college education by taking college classes while still in high school. At COCC, high school students can earn college credit through two options: College Now and Concurrent Enrollment (including Expanded Options):

  • Suggested COCC Classes for High Students Interested in Health Care
    Attached is a document outlining the suggested COCC classes for high school students interested in COCC health care programs and wanting to take college classes while they are in high school. High School students can earn COCC college credits through College Now (at their high school) or Concurrent Enrollment (COCC classes online or on-campus.

    COCC Health Careers Concurrent Enrollment Recommendations
  • College Now (Take college credit classes at your high school)
    College Now: COCC works with area high schools to offer college level courses taught by high school instructors, exclusively for high school students. 

    Click here to see the College Now classes offered at your high school.

    Talk to your high school counselor if you are interested in taking College Now classes.
  • Concurrent Enrollment (Take college classes through COCC)
    Concurrent Enrollment: Take online or on-campus college classes at COCC while enrolled in high school.

    Expanded Options: Available to some Central Oregon high school students. The high school pays for associated tuition, fees and books. High school counselors approve Expanded Options classes for students.  So talk to your high school counselor if you are interested in taking Expanded Options classes.

    Check out the Concurrent Enrollment website for more information
  • Are You Ready To Take College Classes? What You Need To Know
    It is important to make an informed decision before taking college classes as a high school:

    There can be future financial aid implications for unsatisfactory academic progress (grade of D or F) in a college class. Unsatisfactory academic progress includes a cumulative college GPA below 2.0 and a completion rate below 66.67% of credits at the end of each term. Withdrawing from a class after the drop deadline can impact completion rate.

    When you apply for financial aid, the Financial Aid office at the college you plan on attending evaluates all prior grades and credits on your transcript. This includes grades and credits you earned or attempted for college credit while you were in high school. Unsatisfactory academic progress on your transcript may impact your future financial aid eligibility.

    In addition, students are limited to financial aid eligibility for 150% of the published credit length of a selected academic program. All credits listed on your transcript, including college credits attempted in high school, count toward the 150% limit for your selected program. Additionally Oregon Promise only covers up to 90 credits.  So high students don't want to load up on unnecessary credits that may impact future funding.

    The bottom line is that is it important for high school students to work with their school counselors and a COCC Academic advisor to make sure they are taking "credits with a purpose" towards an academic program. Additionally, high school students need to make informed choices about the academic load they can manage to ensure that they are creating success in their dual enrollment classes.


Health Care Student Scholarships