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How Do I Become a Health Care Provider?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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The steps you will have take to become a health care provider depend on the specific field of health care you hope to enter. In most cases, however, you will need to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent and then move on to complete an education and training program that prepares you for your chosen career. In most cases, you will also have to secure licensing to become a health care provider; in most jurisdictions, this will require you to pass a licensing exam. It's important to keep in mind that some careers in health care will require less preparation, such as nursing assistant positions, while others will require you to spend many years focused on education and training.

Before you can begin working toward a career as a health care provider, you will typically have to consider your options and decide which type of health care position suits you. You may, for example, decide to seek a career as a nursing, medical, or dental assistant or enter the health care field as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. Alternatively, you may decide that a career as a nurse practitioner, doctor, or surgeon sounds more appealing. You could even decide to enter the health care field as a chiropractor or dentist.

No matter which type of health care provider you want to become, some education and training is required. The length of time you will have to spend preparing for your career depends on the position you choose. In general, assistant positions, such as those in nursing or dental care, often require less preparation, and many do not require a college education. To seek one of the higher-paying careers in health care, however, you will usually need more education and preparation. For example, you may need a couple of years of training to become a nurse, and doctors typically spend about four years in college, four years in medical school, and three or more years on residency training.

After you complete the education and training required to become a health care provider, you may have to seek licensing or certification as well. Whether or not you need such a credential does, however, depend on the jurisdiction in which you live and the career that interests you. When licensing or certification is required, you will typically have to complete an application and pass an exam. Additionally, you may have to submit to a background check to become a health care provider.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
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Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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