What is HOSA and How Does it Help Launch Medical Careers

Written by: Alex Brown
Published on: Jul 29, 2021


HOSA – Future Health Professionals (formerly Health Occupations Students of America) is an international organization that includes students of all backgrounds – from middle school to post-graduate – dedicated to career development in health professions and improvement of health services delivery.

The organization boasts a membership of over 260,000 members through 54 chartered HOSA Associations, American Samoa, Canada, China, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In the US, 165,000 students across the country participate in HOSA activities through its 3,000 chapters.

HOSA encourages students to build a variety of skills that include leadership, creativity, technical application, communication, and teamwork. Additionally, it helps students develop character, self-esteem, and a path towards personal responsibility.

Students gain experience through chapter activities and the HOSA Competitive Events Program. These events are held at regional, state, and national levels.

HOSA Origin Story

HOSA was officially chartered in 1976 during an American Vocational Association convention attended by over 380 delegates and advisors from six states that had organized state associations as well as interested persons from twelve other states. 

Oklahoma was selected as the site for the first National HOSA Conference in 1978. Among the initial activities were competitive events related to Informative and Extemporaneous Speaking, Job Interviews, Medical Terminology, and development of the HOSA emblem and motto.

Read more about the creation of HOSA here.

HOSA Events

A core part of HOSA membership is participation in the Competitive Events Program. Categories for these events include the following:

  1. Health Science

Health science events, such as medical math, provide a testing-only challenge for categories such as:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Behavioral Health
  • Health Career Exploration
  • Pharmacology
  1. Health Professions

The Health Professions challenge offers a test whereby the top scorers advance to a clinical round where they perform skills in front of judges in areas including:

  • Biomedical Laboratory Science
  • Dental Science
  • Home Health Aide
  • Physical Therapy
  • Veterinary Science
  1. Leadership

Leadership events are generally more creative, and include events like photography and poster making, which are then judged based off the quality and presentation. Focus areas include:

  • Extemporaneous Writing
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Forensic Science
  • Original Medical Innovation

Networking in Healthcare

Intern Programs

One of the more beneficial programs the organization offers is to connect its members with internship opportunities. For example, HOSA provides two-week programs designed for American high school and college students to gain real-world experience. One program is the Hospital Doctor Shadowing Program in the Dominican Republic, which gives you over 40 clinical shadowing hours.

The other experience is the Global Health Experience Program in East Africa, which takes life experience even further by adding hands-on practical learning from traditional healers, tribal communities, and global health specialists.

Should You Join HOSA?

Membership in HOSA can be very helpful if you are planning to pursue a healthcare profession or are already enrolled in a health science program (the latter is necessary if you’re a postsecondary or collegiate program). 

For students looking for career guidance, support, and networking opportunities, HOSA can empower you to understand early in your education what to look for in a healthcare career and why pursuing a career in healthcare may be a good choice for you.

If you’re considering a career in medicine, take a look at the HOSA website. And be sure to check out the job landscape at the myHealthTalent job board.