Early Pathway Resources

Health workforce pathways seek to expose interested individuals to health fields and to train staff throughout their careers. Early pathway programs are typically those that seek to reach kindergarten through 12th grade students in order to expose them to the wide variety of health professions available and/or prepare them for a future in health care. These resources have been designed to help health centers and Primary Care Associations implement and improve programs for these individuals, increasing the exposure of young students from rural or medically underserved areas to health careers, encouraging communities to participate in these programs, sharing opportunities with interested patients, etc.

Please click or scroll down for:
Program Examples
Additional Online Resources


Center for Rural Health University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences
R-Cool-Health Scrubs Camp
A program for rural students in grades 5-12 to increase awareness of and interest in health careers available in rural North Dakota.

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
CDU Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP)
A supportive pathway program supported by HRSA that offers pre-professional learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students interested in serving their local community as health professionals.

Davis Technical College
Start Training While in High School
A Utah technical college that offers dental assistant, emergency medical technician, medical assistant, etc. initial training while in high school.

Determined to a Be a Doctor Someday
What is D.D.S.?
A workforce pathway program that exposes students to various disciplines in healthcare and provides a STEM-based curriculum outside of a traditional school setting.

Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA)
HOSA Future Health Professionals
HOSA is dedicated to promoting health professions and ensuring future health professionals are prepared for college and their health profession of choice. Explore HOSA chapters near you, find scholarship opportunities, and more.

National Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Organization
Area Health Education Center
AHECs are federally-funded organizations committed to expanding the health care workforce by offering health career curriculums for pre-college level students. Learn more and find an AHEC near you:
Colorado Area Health Education Center
Montana Office of Rural Health and Area Health Education Center
North Dakota Area Health Education Center
South Dakota Area Health Education Center
Utah Area Health Education Centers
Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WWAMI) Area Health Education Center

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)
Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP)
An affordable pathway to healthcare education for students pursuing careers in 10 fields across 11 different Western states and territories including Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.


How to Prepare for a Healthcare Career in High School
A description of the courses, skills, and extracurricular activities needed to begin preparing for a career in healthcare.

Explore Health Careers
A website of resources and tools on the latest health career information to help students prepare for a future in health care.

Montana University System
Health Professions Career Pathway
A description of health professions career pathways in Montana for medical assistants, dental hygienists, register nurses, medical laboratory technologists, hospital services administrators, and pharmacists.

Healthcare Career Guide for Students
An article exploring healthcare career pathways and the education necessary for each role.

My Colorado Journey
Behavioral Health
A tool with resources and information on behavioral health career pathways in Colorado, including counseling, therapy, and social work, psychiatric nursing, and psychology and psychiatry.

A tool with resources and information on healthcare career pathways in Colorado for health support disciplines as well as nursing, dentistry, and physician disciplines.

PSB Learning Media
The Providers
A collection of film resources for grades 9-12 that follows three healthcare providers at El Centro health center in Northern New Mexico through the physician shortage and opioid epidemic in rural America.

South Dakota Board of Regents
Health Career Programs at the South Dakota Public Universities
A list of university programs in South Dakota that prepare students for careers in healthcare.

University of Colorado Boulder
Preparing for a Health Career
A list of resources to help prepare for a health career, including financial guidelines, application timeline information, and extracurricular experience considerations.

University of Wyoming
Pre-Health Preparation
A resource page for pre-health students to learn more about expectations for admission to medical school and general professional school expectations.