How to get work experience in a hospital

Updated July 20, 2017

Working in a hospital is exciting, challenging and an excellent career choice for those who like to help others in a fast-paced environment. While health care careers are not 100 per cent recession-proof, there is more stability and room for growth than in most industries. Many hospitals seek people who are meticulous, caring and not just there for the paycheck.

Define what type of work you want to do in a hospital, and find out what qualifications or skills you may already have. Note related positions where similar skills are needed. For example, a person who is trained in medical transcription may also apply to be a medical secretary or admitting clerk.

Inquire at the volunteer department if you have no actual skills that can be utilised in health care or little work experience in an acute care hospital. Competition is steep in the job market these days, and fewer hospitals are training new grads on the job. This is also a good way to familiarise yourself with the work environment.

Attend a vocational school or other higher education institution that offers an externship program. Good schools normally have active relationships with hospitals that will allow students to gain unpaid work experience. This is normally called an externship and may be included in a resume' or transferred into educational credits.

Create a hard copy CV that highlights the skills and credentials you have. This can be registartion, skills obtained through college studies, vocational training or volunteer work. If you have little work experience, use a functional-style resume that shows off skills and training before actual work history.

Organise and make copies of every document possible that verifies your education and training. This can include licenses, certificates or diplomas, and transcripts. Names and phone numbers of references may be included as well.

Create an electronic CV that is compatible with most word-processing software for employers who only accept uploaded resumes. This can be done by saving your resume as a document (.doc) or rich text format (.rtf) file. If using MS Word 2007 (or later version), be sure to save one copy as .doc just in case an employer is unable to open a .docx file.


Scan credentials and save as a JPEG file, just in case a hospital's personnel department requests that copies be uploaded. Always check in with the hospital's human resource department at least once a month to find listings geared towards those wanting to get their foot in the door. These opportunities may not be found on the website, and it will help you become familiar with those who have a hand in getting hired.


It important to not falsify documents or experience to get a job. Especially when it comes to duties involving phlebotomy (drawing of blood) or connecting equipment to a human body. Even for non-clinical jobs like medical coding or jobs involving use of medical terminology, keep a current "Physician's Desk Reference" and similar reference books nearby.

Things You'll Need

  • Resume (hard copy and electronic)
  • Credentials (first aid certification, college transcripts,etc.)
  • Clean, white sneakers or hospital shoes (optional if not working on the floor)
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