If there has been a positive to emerge from the last couple of years, it’s been the renewed societal appreciation for healthcare workers. In a sense, it’s unfortunate that it took the world reeling from a global pandemic to shift its sympathies and gratitude to frontline professionals – but whatever the reason for this overdue gratitude, it’s heartening to see.
Ask anyone who’s spent time in a hospital or enjoyed professional care at home, and they’ll tell you the same thing: They couldn’t have done it without the tireless efforts, caring consolation and broad knowledgeability of a healthcare worker. “Not all heroes wear capes,” as the modern saying goes.
A knock-on effect of the widespread admiration for healthcare workers has been an uptick in post-secondary healthcare enrolment. As CBC reports, Ontario nursing programs saw record applications in 2022 – a 14% increase over 2021 and a 25% increase over 2018.
If you count yourself among the many young people eager to enter the public health sphere, there are a couple of things to know. One, the profession is necessary, but it can be challenging. And two, future healthcare workers must complete certain required high school courses (at specific minimum grades) to enter the field.
In this article, let’s review the online high school courses you need to embark on a journey toward healthcare work. We begin this article with a few housekeeping items: the importance of healthcare, how online school is uniquely suited to educate future practitioners, and a rundown of the role of prerequisites in post-secondary healthcare programs. If you want to skip past these resources to reach the “nitty gritty” list of courses, simply scroll to the “Online Courses for Future Healthcare Workers” section.
Why Healthcare? The Evergreen Importance and Applicability of Healthcare
There are few careers that were as important a millennium ago as they will be in another 1,000 years. Healthcare work is one of them. People will always experience sickness, and they will always need quality care. Here are a few reasons why young people enter the healthcare field:
- As mentioned directly above, healthcare work is evergreen, so there is nearly always workforce demand. According to a recent government job bank study, the number of new job openings in Canadian nursing far outpaces the number of new job seekers – which will likely mean urgent demand and easy post-college placement. Meanwhile, the job bank also reports good job opportunities for physicians in the near future across provinces.
- Healthcare work is more than just a career; it’s a calling. Helping people experience higher qualities of life and care can be spiritually enriching. And learning detailed medical procedures and wellness practices can also come in handy away from work.
- Communication is one of the cornerstones of healthcare work. Young people who enjoy interacting with others in a supportive, caring role may find a perfect fit in healthcare work.
- Many healthcare workers like the flexibility of migrating between careers within the profession. They can hold tenure in a NICU ward, move to the ER, take on case management, and even try at-home personal support work (PSW).
- Average salaries in healthcare are higher than the overall average salary in Canada. In some cases (specialized doctors, GPs and dentists), these salaries are much higher.
To recap, professional healthcare work is well-compensated, highly sought after and enriching. Moreover, it’s a “future-proof” career that will always enjoy a prominent spot on the job market.
How Online Education Can Set You on the Caring Path
Several future healthcare workers prefer online high school courses to complete their secondary education. Indeed, we at OES have welcomed many budding doctors, nurses, PSWs and medical technicians.
Here are a few ways that online education at OES can set you on the caring path:
- Computer literacy and familiarity: Healthcare is increasingly digital, encompassing data entry tools, communication portals and online research tools – all of which students at OES intimately familiarize themselves with.
- Understanding remote communication skills: Understanding how to evaluate health information remotely and deliver concise, caring written responses is essential in the healthcare field. Online learners practice their remote communication skills daily.
- Upgrade Courses for competitive programs: Most post-secondary healthcare programs are competitive, requiring high minimum required grades. If you feel your marks don’t quite match your tenacity and passion, don’t worry. Online schools like OES offer flexible, convenient upgrade courses that you can complete in the lead-up to application season.
- Flexible, self-paced learning: Lastly, online learners like the freedom and personalization of flexible schedules and self-paced learning. These hallmarks of online learning help them realize their full potential, laying the groundwork for rewarding careers in healthcare.
If you’re interested in setting yourself up for success in healthcare, consider booking a guidance appointment through our website.
Understanding Prerequisites for Post-Secondary Healthcare
Prerequisite course requirements vary from program to program, institution to institution. Still, nearly all healthcare and health sciences programs require a basic foundation of English proficiency, math, biology and chemistry.
Our advice to the fledgling healthcare workers reading this (or their parents!) is to start by searching particular programs. By way of illustration, we can link the admissions requirements for the University of Waterloo’s health sciences program. The university requires high school students to complete Biology 4U, Chemistry 4U, any grade 12 English and any grade 12 mathematics. They also recommend a physics course like SPH4U Grade 12 Physics for pre-clinical specialization.
As you peruse requirements, pay special attention to minimum required grades. Remember, there’s always time to take upgrade courses through OES if you want to remain competitive in healthcare program selections.
Online Courses for Future Healthcare Workers
We’ve covered why healthcare is a great opportunity, how online learning can facilitate your path toward a caring career, and where to look for course requirements and minimum grades. Now, there’s just that last question to answer: what OES online courses should future healthcare workers consider?
Below, we’ve listed a few often-required courses that teach you the fundamentals of healthcare, along with short descriptions of each course. Enroll in these today, or, as mentioned previously, book a guidance appointment through our website.
Mathematics is one of the “lingua franca” of the healthcare world (a fancy way of saying that a lot of medical professionals express their work through numbers and figures). You work out how much to put in an IV drip with BMI formulae and dosage ratios. You predict medical outcomes using statistics and probability. And you may even use algebra to target a tumour. That’s why most or all programs require advanced math.
OES’s MHF4H Advanced Functions course is the perfect primer for a healthcare career. Here students probe the properties and relations of polynomial, rational, exponential and logarithmic, and trigonometric functions.
These functions are especially relevant to healthcare. For instance, nurses use polynomials to record patient progress and schedule beds; meanwhile, doctors use rational equations to determine metabolization rates for medication. One of the Ontario curriculum’s sample problems for solving exponential equations even involves injecting dye into a pancreas.
Grade 12 Biology
We probably don’t need to sell you on the connection between healthcare professions and biology. Biology’s concern for bodily functions and systems makes it one of the essential fields of study for any aspiring healthcare worker.
And in OES’s SB14U Grade 12 Biology, students advance their understanding of human biology like never before. They investigate the inner workings of biochemistry, metabolic processes, molecular genetics and homeostasis for a rounded, directly applicable portrait of the human body. The lessons students learn in Grade 12 Biology – from common biotechnological tools to the impact of various drugs on homeostatic mechanisms – will remain relevant throughout their health careers.
Moreover, Bio 12 doesn’t just focus on the subjects themselves; it also hands students the tools for broad scientific investigation, teaching them to plan, perform, record, analyze and communicate their research.
Grade 12 English
“What does Shakespeare have to do with administering an IV drip,” an inquisitive mind might ask. The answer, as it turns out, is “quite a lot!”
There’s a reason most healthcare programs require grade 12 English. The healthcare profession doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it isn’t insular. Part of any public-facing healthcare job is communicating with people, understanding their complex emotions and delivering empathy. Moreover, healthcare professionals need to demonstrate a sharp critical edge to remain inoculated against (pun intended) misinformation and biases.
A student practices each of these skills in ENG4U Grade 12 English. They also develop a firmer control of writing (essential in modern healthcare) and brush up on how to use academic language coherently and confidently.
English is one of the requirements most often overlooked by students heading for a life sciences degree. If English is the only thing holding you back from enrolling in your dream program, consider a fast, straightforward and flexible online course with OES.
Grade 12 Chemistry
Chemistry – the study of matter’s properties, interactions and changes – forms another backbone of health sciences. It helps practitioners understand the mechanisms of disease, the efficacy of drugs and the principles of sterilization, among many other things.
In OES’s SCH4U Grade 12 Chemistry, students extend their knowledge of all things material. Specifically, they delve headlong into organic chemistry to explore “the structure and properties of matter, energy changes and rates of reaction, equilibrium in chemical systems, and electrochemistry.”
And throughout it all, the curriculum places special emphasis on real-world applications of chemistry. Once you start working in a hospital, practice or care home, chemistry will cease to be a theoretical exercise; it will be an essential, tangible component of your daily professional life. Understanding how the theory fits into real life starts with Chem 12.
Grade 12 Physics
Students hoping to attend an MD program one day may wish to play the long game by taking grade 12 physics (a course rewarding in its own right). We’ll explain. To join an MD graduate or post-graduate program, you need full course equivalents in undergrad life sciences. And in order to achieve those requirements, you often need physics. (See: these McGill requirements for Anatomy and Cell Biology). Sound confusing? You can always speak to a university academic guidance counsellor for more information.
In SPH4U Grade 12 Physics, students strengthen their understanding of energy transformations, motion, electromagnetic radiation and various fields. They also peek into lofty concepts like special relativity and quantum mechanics. The course is an exhilarating exploration of the fundamental principles of our universe – and should serve to equip future healthcare workers with the investigative curiosity they need to be successful in their future academic careers.
Grade 12 Nutrition and Health
While not a requirement for most programs, Grade 12 Nutrition and Health nevertheless represents a beneficial head start on several themes you will likely encounter as a healthcare worker.
In Grade 12 Nutrition and Health, students learn the ins and outs of nutrition: how it relates to energy balance, age, disease and society as a whole. Moreover, they learn actionable food-preparation techniques and healthy eating practices that can carry over into their personal and professional lives. Anyone who plans to pursue a public-facing healthcare career in an advisory or supportive role (like a personal support worker) should consider this richly informative course.
In summary, healthcare workers are the backbone of a healthy, happy society. Careers in healthcare are always in demand; they pay handsomely; and they can be incredibly enriching. Students who wish to pursue careers as doctors, technicians, nurses or personal support workers should consult with a guidance counsellor to determine what they need to achieve their goals. But nearly all post-secondary health programs require a solid foundation of grade 12 math, sciences and English.
If you’re looking for a flexible, self-paced environment to incubate your passion for health, Ontario eSecondary School has you covered. Our expert teachers and 24/7 tutors offer generous support to ensure that you grow into the caring, informed and skilled healthcare worker you want to be. And you can complete our courses from the comfort of… wherever you happen to be! Visit our website for more information.