March 7, 2008
Bradley A. Leidich, MSEd, RRT, FAARC has been enjoying a rewarding career as a respiratory therapist for 37 years and understands the joy of finding the right occupational fit.

Leidich, who is Allied Health Department Chair at HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, adds that with the shortage of professionals working in health care, many people are gravitating toward a career in allied health.

But, he adds, they don't always know what their options are and immediately think of nursing or becoming a doctor, dentist or pharmacist.

"Allied health can be broken down into more then 200 occupations. There is a tremendous variety of occupations to choose from but people aren't always aware what is out there. If we resolved the nursing shortage tomorrow we would still have shortage in numerous (allied health) occupations," said Leidich.

"This is something that you will be doing for the next 20-30 years so you want to enjoy what you are doing. Thoroughly research the career you are considering on-line, shadow a professional in the occupation that you are considering, take a virtual tour. It might turn out that what you originally were considering isn't a good fit for you," he said.

Leidich encourages those interested in a health care career to take a trip to HACC's Harrisburg Campus between 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday for the eighth annual Health Careers Exploration and Job Fair. The free event is open to the public and will be held in the Cooper Student Center.

Throughout the evening, attendees will be able to talk to potential employers in the health care industry and will have the chance to learn more about HACC's more than 30 health career programs, admissions and financial aid options along with various bachelor's degree completion options and RN to BSN programs. Whether they have a an interest in dental hygiene, massage therapy, cardiovascular technology, phlebotomy or medical assisting or have a passion for paramedics? there will be an opportunity to start a meaningful dialogue with professionals from HACC, PinnacleHealth, HealthSouth, and PrimeCare Medical.

Revolving information sessions, offered every 20 minutes, will provide participants with detailed information about opportunities in health care (both nursing and allied health), college admissions processes and financial aid options. Eastern University, Shippensburg University, Penn State Harrisburg, Pennsylvania College of Technology School of Health and the York College of Pennsylvania will also be in attendance and will be representing their RN-BSN or heath care administration degrees.

"We want people to know as much as they can about the field because we want them to be happy and successful in their chosen professions. You wouldn't buy a dress without trying it on. We want their careers to fit them," said HACC's Health Recruiter Vicki Gentzel. "So the main focus of this event is for people to learn more specifics about what it would be like to work in their chosen career. We are providing them the opportunity to actually sit down to talk to someone face to face who is already doing the job. They can also learn about admission to clinicals and if they want to turn in a college application before they leave - they can."

"Anyone who is undecided about what career path they need to take, who is thinking about a career change or is thinking about a career in health care" should not miss this event, said Gentzel.

Free parking is available and no registration is necessary. For more information, call 717-780-1988 or send an e-mail at the address below.

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