Health Careers Program

Connecting High School and College Students to Health Careers

About the Program

The South Carolina AHEC Health Careers Program (HCP) supports diverse groups of students on their paths to becoming healthcare professionals, building a future healthcare workforce that will reflect the diverse range of communities it serves in South Carolina.

Our Health Careers Programs strive to increase the number of students entering the health professions in South Carolina. Emphasis is placed on supporting underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students on their paths to careers in healthcare in order to address disparities in the healthcare workforce. Our programs are designed to provide students with academic preparation, skills development and career exploration to develop successful future healthcare professionals.

Health Careers Programs Last Year

Contact hours of programming delivered to high school & college students throughout the state
Students participated in HCP programming
Of HCP students were from a rural area
Of HCP students identified as Black, Indigenous and People of Color*

*Percent of total students for whom race/ethnicity data was available

Students & Parents

Are you thinking about a career in healthcare? Maybe you know exactly what you want to do but aren’t sure how to get started? Or are you unsure about your career direction but just want to learn more?

Why participate in the Health Careers Program?

  • Discover your interests and what health careers align with them
  • Develop skills that help you in school now and the application process for future education programs
  • Learn more about the steps and requirements involved in obtaining a health career
  • Meet and network with current health professionals and health professions students
  • Learn more about public health, health disparities, and the healthcare needs of South Carolina communities

Explore health career options, learn more about education and training opportunities, and build the skills and knowledge needed to pursue your passion in the Health Careers Program. Browse student opportunities below.

A group of students practice hands on skills during a simulation activity

Each regional AHEC Center hosts a Health Careers Academy that is an introduction to the careers available in healthcare. The Health Careers Academy focuses on communication skills, job qualifications, educational requirements, career opportunities for healthcare professionals, health disparities, the workforce of the state, and health equity. Students will have the opportunity to gain real-world experience, network with healthcare professionals, attend virtual workshops and seminars, go on field trips, and explore undiscovered areas of healthcare.

Visit your regional AHEC Center's website to learn more or contact your regional HCP Coordinator to get started!
A screenshot of a health careers module about where different types of health professionals work

South Carolina AHEC offers free, self-paced, online modules open to students in the state interested in careers in healthcare. The topics fall into three categories: career preparation, soft skills, and healthcare terms and trends. The modules are available 24/7 and are designed to help students expand their knowledge and develop skills that will help them on their path to a career in healthcare.

Students can register on the South Carolina AHEC Learning Portal to access the modules. Contact your regional HCP Coordinator for assistance with registration and answer any questions.

A screenshot of a health careers students participating in a webinar

Several statewide education seminars will be offered during the academic year, conducted virtually by videoconference. Students will learn more about health careers, public health topics, personal health, and understanding the healthcare needs of South Carolina.

Students participate in a community service activity

Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that combines meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to provide a rich learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

Community service projects are open to interested students and members of the Health Careers Academy are required to complete a minimum of two coordinator-approved service activities (internal or external) per year. Students who earn 50 or more approved service hours will be awarded the Dr. Sabra C. Slaughter Humanitarian Award.

Visit your regional AHEC Center's website to learn more or contact your regional HCP Coordinator to get started!
Students participate in a hands-on skills lab.

The South Carolina AHEC Regional Centers also offer summer programs. Programs vary by region and may include workshops, college level course instruction, internships in healthcare offices or facilities, or health professions training.

Visit your regional AHEC Center's website to learn more or contact your regional HCP Coordinator to get started!
Students and an instuctor prepare to begin a skills lab at the MUSC College of Dental Medicine during the Summer Careers Academy

The Summer Careers Academy (SCA) is presented by South Carolina AHEC in collaboration with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Colleges of Dental Medicine, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and the MUSC Library.

The SCA is a one-week summer program for students enrolled in or admitted to college. The SCA is designed to help students, especially students from underrepresented minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds, prepare for entry into health professions programs in South Carolina.

The Summer Careers Academy supports students' career goals by helping them learn more about:

  • Health professions
  • Admission requirements for graduate health professions programs
  • Financial assistance resources
  • Academic success skills
  • Professional techniques and hands-on skills workshops
  • Educational/professional opportunities

Available Summer Careers Academy Health Professions Tracks:

  • Dental Medicine
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Physician Assistant

2024 Summer Careers Academy

This year’s program will be a blended format: instruction on June 3-4 will be online followed with in-person programming on MUSC’s campus in Charleston from June 5-7.

  • Classroom lectures and project topics will focus on several health disparities prevalent in South Carolina. Academy Fellows will research assigned topics and engage in Socratic discussions to foster collaborative dialogue.
  • Hotel lodging and food are provided for the on-campus portion of the Summer Academy. Students are responsible for travel to and from Charleston.
  • Fellows will receive a stipend of $200 upon the successful completion of the Academy.

Applications Currently Closed

The application cycle for the 2024 Summer Careers Academy has closed.

Regional Health Careers Program Coordinators

Your regional HCP Coordinator is available to assist you in finding any additional information regarding your career of choice, community service projects, and internships or experiential experiences.

They are also eager to help you with:

  • Examining a variety of healthcare careers and understanding the type of work involved
  • Preparing for a selected health profession
  • Applying to undergraduate schools
  • And more!

Contact your regional coordinator today to get started!

AHEC Map: Four regional centers: Lowcountry AHEC in Walterboro, Mid-Carolina AHEC in Lancaster, Pee Dee AHEC in Florence and Upstate AHEC in Greenville. Lowcountry AHEC serves Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton, Jasper, and Orangeburg counties. Mid-Carolina AHEC serves Aiken, Cherokee, Chester, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lexington, Newberry, Richland, Union, and York counties. Pee Dee AHEC serves Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Sumter, and Williamsburg counties. Upstate AHEC serves Abbeville, Anderson, Edgefield, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Oconee, Pickens, Saluda, and Spartanburg counties.

Lowcountry AHEC |

Jalacy Green

LaRonda Johnson

Mid-Carolina AHEC |

Whitney Amaker

Taylor McCurry

Pee Dee AHEC |

Jason Brown

Subira W. Smalls

Upstate AHEC |

LaToya Dodson

Victoria D. Johnson

Educators & Partners

The South Carolina AHEC Health Careers Program introduces students to health careers, supports their preparation for health professions education programs, and develops skills that help them succeed on their path to a health career.

Student benefits of the Health Careers Program

  • Introduction to and exploration of careers in healthcare
  • Networking, job shadowing and hands-on learning experience
  • Academic and career preparation
  • Soft skills (e.g., communication, problem-solving) development

Opportunities for Schools and Partners

  • Curriculum supplement and resource for educators
  • Support for students interested in health careers
  • Opportunities for student engagement, service learning and job shadowing
  • Develop our future healthcare workforce

Reach out to your regional AHEC coordinator or Paula M. Jones, Director of Health Careers Programs, for more information and to get involved.

Melanie F., H C P student

Student Today, Dentist Tomorrow

"I am grateful for AHEC because I want to know as much as I can about what to expect [in dental school]. I want to be ready. You guys have helped me feel prepared . . . [I want to] be an example to first generation Americans and one day own a practice that helps low income and disadvantaged communities."

-Melanie F., HCP participant and Francis Marion University student