Health care advocates help patients understand and navigate the difficult aspects of the medical system and health care industry, including diagnosis, treatment options, doctor preferences, coordination of benefits and insurance. Although a history in the medical community is not required, many health care advocates are doctors, nurses or social workers.
Determine whether health care advocacy is the field for you. For an introduction, take online classes that discuss patient care and introduce you to the field of health care advocacy.
Get an education. Although a college degree is not required to become a private health care advocate, many health care advocates who work for hospitals or medical programs have at least a Bachelor's degree. Many colleges and universities now offer certificates or even Master's programs in Health Care Advocacy. Common fields of study for health care advocates include social work, nursing, medicine and behavioral science.
Check the job boards. Many private firms, hospitals and clinics have healthcare advocates on staff, and you may already qualify for a position as a health care advocate. If you can't get a job as a health care advocate right away, you may be able to gain some experience in the field by volunteering for a non-profit organization.
Take the training. Once you're employed as a health care advocate, many hospitals offer specialized in-house training or tuition reimbursement for health care advocacy certification. Take advantage of these opportunities to further your career.
Network with other health care professionals. Many health care advocates eventually become private contractors, and who you know can be the difference between getting the job or not.
When you're looking for a job as a health care advocate, be sure to look for patient advocate and health advocate jobs. Both names are used to refer to health care advocates.