Antelope Valley School District

Health Careers Academy

Health Careers Students sitting on bleachers

Established in 2006, the Palmdale High School Health Careers Academy is a comprehensive four-year program serving about 500 students that combines academic courses with clinical instruction. More specifically, the program integrates medicine and technology into common core subjects such as English, science, and social studies while involving students in service learning projects, job shadowing, and internships in the community. The Health Careers Academy has two primary goals:

  1. To provide all Academy students with an academically rigorous and experientially relevant educational program so they are exposed to and prepared for high-skill, high-wage careers in the health care industry.
  2. To prepare students to succeed in instructions of higher learning.

Key Characteristics

The Academy offers a comprehensive four-year curriculum, combining core academics with increasingly challenging technical instructions in many aspects of the health care professions. Key academic classes that meeting eligibility requirements for admission to the state's colleges and universities are integrated with relevant applications in the health industry and health professions.

The Academy encourages students to take several courses during the summer so that they have more time to take the Health Occupations courses in their junior and senior years.

Multiple photos of students working in classroom


  • In the first two years, students are exposed to general occupations in the health care industry.
  • The final two years are dedicated to providing students with as much "hands-on" experience as possible through extensive job shadowing and internships. The Health Occupations course provide students with technical medical expertise through classroom instruction and allow students to apply what they have learned through a series of rotations at various health care institutions. 


The Academy has built extensive partnerships with the health industry. Partnership sites include the following:

Multiple photos of student demonstrating their skills


  • For Rotation Sites - Antelope Valley Health Care, Antelope Valley Hospital, Antelope Nurse Care Center, Kaiser Permanente, Lancaster Community Hospital, and High Desert Health System.
  • For Internship Sites - In addition to those listed above, the Academy has also partnered with Desert Dental Palmdale and Lancaster, Vora (The Women's Clinic), Lancaster Sports Medicine, Athletic Injury Management (AIM), Antelope Valley Orthotics and Prosthetics (AVOP), and DeWald Chiropractic to name a few.


Student Benefits

As the demands to employ more health care providers are expected to grow faster than average for the next decade, the Health Careers Academy continues to train and educate nearly 500 students each year. Students in the Academy benefit in many ways.

Prepare for college

  • Enroll in a four-year academically rigorous, college preparatory program
  • Take Advanced Placement (AP) and honors courses
  • Take advantage of scholarship opportunities

Prepare for careers

  • Enroll in health occupations, sports medicine, and emergency medical technician courses
  • Through clinical rotations (job shadowing), explore a variety of jobs within the health care field
  • Through internships, apply classroom knowledge to assist health care providers serve patients in medical settings
  • Earn industry-recognized certificates that lead to entry level jobs upon high school graduation
  • Compete against other California students through Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) events

Pursue career interests through a vibrant learning community

  • Be part of a small Academy program that personalizes learning
  • Join other students and teachers with the same medical interest and goals
  • Participate in classroom learning that is fun, academically challenging, but engaging through real-world applications

Student Achievement

Sports Medicine students at a sporting eventsStudents in the Academy demonstrate high levels of academic achievement, as evidenced by

  • 100% of Academy graduates for the past three years have attended college or university immediately following graduation.
  • Academy students score up to 20% higher on state exams, such as CA High School Exit Exam (CASHEE) and CA Standards Test (CST).
  • Academy students are suspended and expelled from school at substantially lower rates.



As students proceed through the Academy program, they have the opportunity to earn the following certifications, which qualify them for good-paying jobs within the health care industry.

  • Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) - American Heart Association certification
  • First Aid - American Heart Association certification
  • Injection - California Association of Medical Assistants (CAMA)
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) - Course completion certificate; able to sit for the National Registry exam
  • Medical Assistant (CMA) - Course completion certificate; able to sit for the state CMA exam


For more information contact:

Angela Hefter, Health Career Academy Coordinator or (661) 273-3181 ext. 383

Click here for the 2024-2025 9th Grade Health Career Academy Application

Click here for the 2024-2025 10th Grade Health Career Academy Application

Click here for the 2024-2025 11th and 12th Grade Health Career Academy Application

Click here for the 2024-2025 EMT Application Form

Click here for the 2024-2025 Sports Medicine Form

Click here for the Recommendation Form