Career Guidance Interview: How to Choose the Right School for You

February 6, 2015

Transitioning out of high school to pursue new, higher levels of education is a pivotal point in your life. A number of questions, even fears, may start to overwhelm you. Confusion and indecision are only natural stages of the process. But you have to sort through all your options, and at the end of the day, make a decision.

If you've decided to pursue a career as an allied health professional, you probably have your eye on several potential schools already. To be sure you're going with the right healthcare training institute, you have to be confident not only in the education they offer but also in the career guidance they'll provide.

We sat down with Richard Auslander from AIMS Education to talk about the real options students have, how to deal with the stress, and how to make the right decision without any regrets.

Richard is involved in the Career Services and Internship departments, and we cover the these important topics: job fairs, how to review schools, internships, career guidance, allied health careers in demand, affiliations with the top teaching hospitals, and more.

Hi, Richard. Could you tell us a bit about your current occupation and professional experience?

Richard: I am currently an Administrator at AIMS Education. My area of concentration is working with our students in both the Career Services and Internship departments. Prior to working in education I traveled and conducted business globally as a Director of Quality Assurance in the apparel industry.

What keeps you motivated to keep working with young students year after year? Doesn’t it get monotonous or tiring at some point?

Richard Auslander's motivation are med students

uonottingham / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA

Richard: Our students come from many backgrounds and ethnicities so every student we work with has their own unique set of traits, qualities and abilities. Thanks to the diversity of our student population and each student’s distinctive qualities no two meetings are the same.

Some of your responsibilities include attending career and college fairs. Would you tell us more about the topics you address during those events? What can students expect to learn if they decide to drop by and listen to one of your presentations?

Richard: At college fairs I speak with prospective students and their parents about the programs we offer at AIMS. We offer programs ranging from as little as 80 hours in duration up to 2,660 hours. Many high school students may not know what they want to do with their future or they may not be ready to commit to a four year program at a “traditional college” either emotionally or financially.

At AIMS, since we offer the range of program lengths, some students can attend a short term program and start working in their field of study in as little as a month. This is a great way for a student to start a career and have earnings allowing them to consider all of the options available. At career fairs I often conduct seminars on resume writing, interview skills and job search techniques.

If you were a student searching for the right college today, how would you structure your “investigation” and research? A lot of students feel confused because of the overwhelming number of schools available, or they're afraid they’ll make the wrong decision. What would you advise them?

Richard: It is generally best for students to review their options with their families prior to starting their research. Many students are confused and frustrated by the decision making process. Their distress can be due to financial concerns, grades, length of time for a particular field of study and that “long term commitment”.

I advise the students to take time to do their research and try to get their choices to the two or three best fits based on their needs and interests. Of course I feel strongly about our school and the opportunities we offer, but I tell the students to continue their education, wherever they decide to go once high school is completed. The additional education allows the student to find more career opportunities and that knowledge cannot be taken away.      

You also work closely with students during their internships. Let’s imagine one of your students wants to apply at one of the top teaching hospitals in the US. How important is it for them to be properly supervised and guided during this stage of their education?

Richard: The Internship component may be the most important portion of their studies.  We do work with many of the top hospitals and our Internship department monitors each student closely to ensure they are offered excellent training at their clinical sites.

We visit the sites and do evaluations of the site, the site preceptor and the students’ progress. The Internship is also valuable when we work with the graduates in Career Services. The Internship success is included as career experience and shows prospective employers that the student has worked in the field.      

Students deal with a lot of stress and even lack of confidence during their first job interviews. How do you help them prepare and build the skills which help them get their dream job?

Richard: We offer every student group seminars as well as individual instruction. Our Career Services team helps students to craft a great resume targeted to the position they desire. We also demonstrate how to search for jobs in their field and the skills needed for a successful interview as well as the follow-up and thank you notes after an interview.

Students learn that their “soft” skills can be just as important as their education. It is critical that students know that their body language during an interview sometimes is more telling than the words they use. We also cover posture, eye contact, handshakes, etc.

What kind of approach do you use when you prepare students for their professional experience?

Richard: Our approach is tailored to each individual. We do have group seminars, but we want to give each student the individual attention they need to be successful.

Receiving a Commendation from NJ State Assemblyman Chivukula

Does AIMS have affiliations with any healthcare facilities or individual professionals? Are your connections mainly limited to New Jersey or do they reach other states as well?

Richard: We do have affiliations with many of the top teaching hospitals, doctors, clinics and offices for our students' internship rotations, and the majority of our clinical affiliations are in New Jersey. Our Career Services team receives job requests from organizations and offices in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania and we try to help our students find positions close to their homes.

We have a job board in a convenient location on campus where we post opportunities for our students. As an additional support to our graduates, we provide them with a listing of hospital, pharmacy, laboratory, state (Healthcare Talent Network) and general healthcare web sites with instructions where to “click” on each site to explore additional job opportunities.

Explore our website to learn more about the AIMS Education Career Services Team and discover more of their expert tips on starting confidently on your career path.