Science + Health

Uncover Your Curiosity

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Do you find yourself drawn to inquisition with a strong urge for innovation towards advancements towards analytical resolution? Does the thought of being engaged in life and global improvements excite you? Perhaps you are on the path towards becoming a scientist!

With the world at your fingertips, UCSB presents you with a number of opportunities, resources, and experts to help you build your career in Science + Health. Whether your interests lie in the life and physical sciences, health professions, biotechnology, environmental studies, physical geography, or other areas that ignite you, a career in Science + Health can put you at the forefront of humankind's greatest discoveries and advancements.



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Gain Experience: Clinical Healthcare

For complete information on internships, student jobs, research opportunities, extracurriculars, and more, review our starter tips to Gain Experience in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.


To gain experience in the clinical healthcare field, it is very common for students to shadow clinicians and volunteer at local hospitals and clinics. Gaining a better understanding of a clinical environment can help you understand where each healthcare role fits. In addition, many students also pursue paid work prior to graduate school to build experience in their CV, learn more about the field, and develop valuable connections while earning money to help fund their careers. Because careers in clinical healthcare often require graduate degrees, we recommend pursuing these experiences to not only enhance your CV for graduate school, but also develop an understanding of the intricate facets which are all interconnected in this field.


Types of Experience

Click below to see some ways in which you can build your experience and knowledge while pursuing your undergraduate degree.

Shadowing a clinician is one of the best ways to understand what a particular role in healthcare looks like on a day-to-day basis.  What are the everyday challenges?  What matters most in reality?  Shadowing is indispensable in understanding these things.

To obtain a shadowing opportunity, we recommend extending outreach to clinicians with positions that interest you; this is usually the most effective manner. However, this may require ingenuity, persistence, and extra research.  To start, find a mutual connection between you and a clinician and ask them for an introduction. Because this field is so broad, you likely have a connection to a clinician already; this can be a professional connection, someone from whom you have received treatment, or a family friend. Once you know someone to reach out to, introduce yourself and why you are interested in the field. If they cannot provide you with a shadowing opportunity, they can likely provide you with relative insight and connect you with other professionals to learn from.

Additionally, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with clinicians. Here, you can connect with those who are also UCSB alumni. Not only are these professionals more likely to speak with you, but they also have insightful advice about local and on-campus opportunities to take advantage of. To begin connecting with other gauchos, go to the UCSB Alumni LinkedIn page, and perform a targeted search for clinicians.  

Learn More 

To learn more about finding connections, read our pages on Making Targeted Connections and utilizing LinkedIn to its fullest extent. 

A more hands-on experience you can attain during your undergraduate career is through volunteering at local healthcare facilities. By doing so, not only will you gain an insightful grasp on the ins and outs of the healthcare industry, but you will also develop very valuable connections along the way. These connections can become your mentors, references, and potentially write your letters of recommendation for graduate school.

For UCSB students, the most common experience is to volunteer at Cottage Hospital.  Both the Goleta Valley and Santa Barbara locations will take volunteers, however you must be able to commit to at least 4 hours of volunteerism per week. Additional options include volunteering at Santa Barbara Street Medicine (Doctors Without Walls), Hospice of Santa Barbara, and participating in the COPE Health Scholars Program in Oxnard or Camarillo.

Don't be afraid of volunteering positions that aren't specifically medical or patient facing. Being in the environment can be very telling of the healthcare industry. It also gives you the opportunity to meet folks in various positions and can show you potential careers and how they function in a clinical setting.

Pursuing paid work (be it through a part-time job or an internship) is a fantastic way to gain healthcare experience while also assisting the community. Some career paths, such as a Physicians Assistant, require hands-on, paid, clinical work for admissions into graduate programs. Other paths do not require it, but do value it on candidates’ resumes, thus these may be of exceptional value in the long run. 

Commonly held entry-level roles in healthcare include:

  • Medical Assistant
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Medical Scribe
  • Dental Assistant
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Home Health Aid

This is only a select few of the roles available. Note that it is very common for paid clinical work to require a certification of some sort (which you will have to pay for). These can be valuable investments to make, as they will allow you to begin your clinical healthcare career before you are through with your educational preparation. In addition, these positions will provide you with valuable insight into the field and the ins and outs of its different facets. All of the professions in clinical healthcare are intertwined, as they coexist to maximize productivity. Because of this, having a background in various areas of this field can not only enhance your candidacy, but additionally your first-hand knowledge going into your long-term profession.

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