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Career Preparation: Tips for High School Students

Thinking about becoming a health sciences librarian? Here are some things you can do now to get ready for this career path:

Medical librarians work with a variety of health care providers: doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, etc. The more you know about what they do and where they work, the better a librarian you’ll be.

  • Volunteer in a hospital to learn more about the daily efforts of these professionals.
  • See if your state has an Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program. If so, contact them about what they offer to teens interested in health careers.
  • Take any opportunity in high school to learn about health careers.
  • Take a course in medical terminology in your high school or check out a self-teaching book from your local library.

Medical librarians use computers and mobile devices heavily in their daily work. Some librarians are systems librarians, responsible for fixing computers, for running local area networks, or for training others to use technology. Librarians frequently create web pages for their library; some are even responsible for the website for their institution.

  • Take computer courses at your high school.
  • Take a courses in web design, web development. Find out about content management systems.
  • Look at health sciences library websites to learn more about style, presentation, and how they organize content.
  • Use your own mobile device to access health websites or health sciences library websites. Go to a local electronics store and try out other types of mobile devices. Learn what they do. Which ones do you like best?
  • Learn more about health-related software and apps and their uses in medical settings.

Health sciences librarians look for information from lots of sources to help them do their jobs. They do the research without having to write the paper!

  • Use your school or public library to find information you need to complete homework assignments or to write papers.
  • Choose a health-related topic for your next paper in English, history, or even science. Be sure to use the library and the librarian to find information!

Medical librarians are well educated! They need to be able to talk intelligently with physicians and hospital administrators, professors and university chancellors.

  • Take college preparation courses in high school. Join a debate, speech, drama, or other team or activity that will help you become familiar with speaking in public.
  • Plan to go to college! You don’t have to major in a health-related program, but the more you know about your customers, the easier it will be to do your job as a medical librarian.
  • Know the requirements for getting your master’s in library science. Ask your school librarian to help you identify schools where you can get a master’s in library science or review the
  • list of graduate library science programs that offer health sciences courses.

Most librarians don’t actually fit the old stereotype of what librarians do!  That is especially true of health sciences librarians. Get familiar with the kinds of services they provide.

  • Call your local health sciences library—check a university medical school or a hospital—and ask if you can shadow a librarian for part of a day to see what they do.
  • See if you can get an internship in a local health sciences library.
  • Look at health sciences library websites to learn more about the work they do.