Student Opportunities

Developing a qualified rural student base to fill health profession workforce shortages is a challenge in many rural communities.  Reasons cited include:
  • lack of knowledge
  • lack of interest
  • limited financial resources
  • lack of information about the courses at universities
  • and lack of employment opportunities upon graduation
Previous research studies document that although people who grew up in rural areas are more likely to return to work in these communities, there are often low numbers of rural students admitted into the health career professions.  While the training period varies for each health profession, it takes at least eleven years from the time a high school graduate begins preparing for medical school to be fully qualified as a practicing physician.  Therefore, a long-term recruitment strategy is needed to address the health workforce shortage in rural Illinois. 

One such strategy to increase the number of students pursuing health profession careers in rural areas is to develop successful pipeline programs that expand the number of well-qualified applicants, students accepted and graduates from health professions programs. 

Programs targeting students in rural areas are needed to strengthen students’ educational backgrounds and interest in the health professions.  In addition to AHEC and SEIgrow, NCRHP offers several pipeline programs including:



4-H Health Jam




Rural Health Careers Camp





3-Day Rural Health Experience




6-Week Rural Interdisciplinary Health Professions Summer Preceptorship