The Perfect Formula for Professional Development
Northeast has a proven history of providing resources and services to help students excel not only in the classroom and clinic, but also as newly credentialed healthcare professionals in the working world. Students looking for assistance often seek out the College's career development services first.
The Office of Student Engagement offers: résumé assistance, job search support, interviewing help, salary negotiation tips, career coaching and counseling and identification of career options. But there's more to it than that -- because Northeast is not your typical institution of higher ed.
"What makes us different is that, because we work with specialized professions, we must first understand the practice environment they operate in so that we can understand the career opportunities that are available," says a member of the Student Engagement staff. "It's a blending of general knowledge along with the specialized occupational information."
Whether a student's dream job is to manage their own practice, work with elite athletes, or teach at a university, Northeast offers tools and guidance that supplement each student's classroom and practical education. This might be a significant factor in the fact that, according to recent surveys, 92% of Northeast graduates secure a professional position within six months of graduation!
First and foremost, the College's career support services provides information. Students seek out career development services because they are seeking knowledge relevant to their futures that they can't find any other place. Staff may help them polish their résumé or cover letter, but more important is guiding students in crafting their goals and putting together a plan that is realistic and achievable.
"Students must know what it is they really want to accomplish in their careers," a staff member says. "Satisfying that sense of purpose is the way to build solid career success. That's what gets you up in the morning, motivates you to work through the obstacles, and keeps you headed in the right direction."
How do they arrive at these goals? One tactic that Student Engagement staff use is to tell students to think about what brought them to Northeast in the first place. What made them choose this career path? What do they hope to achieve?
"The program is a demanding one, and it is easy for students to lose track of their blueprint in the daily routines and deadlines of classes, projects and exams," a staff member says. "Keeping it visible so that they can see it every day helps to keep them in touch with it and with their sense of purpose for being here."
Mentoring and Networking
Another way career development services help Northeast students inch closer to their dream job is through an extensive program of mentoring, created in collaboration with the Alumni Services, that connects current students with successful graduates.
"Our alumni play an extremely important role in our students' professional development," a Student Engagement staff member says. "Through their own career success, they show students that they, too, can be successful."
Alumni Relations operates a database of graduates that provides the names of those who are willing to have students shadow them while they work. Students who are shadowing can ask questions and see real-world applications of the skills they've been learning.
The two offices also collaborate on events throughout the year, offering sessions on job search strategies and more to give students a leg up when they go out into the job market. A speaker series is the final piece in the puzzle. "The speakers are primarily alumni who have built successful careers and who return to share their experience and knowledge with students to help them do the same," a staff member says.
A common goal for many Northeast students is business ownership: creating a thriving practice that allows them to treat patients, either on their own or associated with other healthcare professionals.
All Northeast students have access to classes where they can learn the basics of running a business, such as "Coding, Billing, and Documentation," which gives students an in-depth understanding of the American health care system, and "Marketing Strategies for Healthcare Professionals."
Beyond that, however, career development services help students with bigger-picture issues, such as evaluating geographic areas for practice favorability. Through these services, for example, students can access ChiroMapTM which includes demographic information on regions in the U.S. that have a high potential for a successful integrated healthcare practice.
Career development services also help sort through the complexities of licensing and healthcare law in each state. They guide students through the vetting procedures of the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Board, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and more.
As one 2010 alumnus put it, "Northeast provided me with tremendous academic knowledge and the discipline to needed to begin my own chiropractic practice."
Classroom Learning, Plus
Northeast students have many opportunities to practice their newly-learned skills in hands-on clinical settings, gaining critical experience and getting opportunities to interact with people who may be able to help them achieve their career goals.
Students also learn career-focused leadership skills when they become involved in College clubs and organizations such as the Student Government Association or Applied Kinesiology Club as well as national organizations such as the Student American Chiropractic Association and World Federation of Chiropractic. "Students who choose to become active with these organizations are able to connect with industry leaders and engage in advocacy activities for the profession," a staff member says.
Taken together, these elements -- the mentoring, on- and off-campus leadership opportunities, ChiroMap and more -- guide students ever closer to a professional position that utilizes all their abilities while offering a satisfying work experience.
A staff member in career development services recalls one student, who arrived in their office several years ago with a page full of career goals. After he graduated, he came back to visit and tell them about his growing practice. They immediately signed him up to speak to the current students.
"By the time he spoke for us," the staff member says, "his practice had grown to two locations, and he had created for himself two opportunities to work with elite professional athletes on the national level -- his dream job!"