How to Advance Your Career in Simulation

07/19/2017

Blog post by SimGHOSTS Training Director Kirrian Steer

How to Advance Your Career in Simulation

Recently I have seen and heard many SimTechs asking how to best advance their career in simulation. They want to engage in some sort of study or training but aren’t sure what will get them the best return on investment. I assume that those who are asking this question have some sort of career goal that they are trying to work towards. As with all plans, you need to know where you want to go before you start your journey, otherwise you get to enjoy the ride but it can take you a heck of a lot longer (and cost a lot more) to get there.

There are many formal and informal ways of advancing your career that will fit with any budget or timeframe that you may have.

For those who are new to simulation technology and need to learn the ropes quickly my advice is:

  1. Take every opportunity you can to learn from those around you. Ask questions, ask for advice, ask for assistance and then repay their generosity with your own wisdom, food or coffee.
  2. Connect on social media channels for professional groups, industry updates and forums.
  3. Check out the SimGHOSTS video library from previous events and the online courses available to members.

For those who have got their general work responsibilities under control but would like to expand their skills and knowledge or pursue an area of interest my advice is:

  1. Enrol in a MOOC on a platform such as Coursera.org or Edx.org. These are courses from universities around the world and range from general to highly specialised topics. Most course content is available for free and your only cost is for a certificate if you choose to complete the assessments. Most courses are around $50-100. In Australia there is the NHET-Sim program which is a series of online modules on a variety of simulation topics.
  2. YouTube has videos on how to do just about anything. Of course the quality varies so it will take you a bit of time to find the gems but if you do find them, make sure you share them with the SimTech community.
  3. If you need to push yourself to actually follow through on your learning why not submit an abstract to present at a conference or training event? For me there is no better motivator to make me learn something well enough to be able to teach it to others.

If there is a particular role or position you are aiming for I suggest you search recruitment notices for position descriptions of similar roles as they will give you the best idea of what it takes to be successful in the role. If you are looking for certification as a way of getting recognition for existing skills and expertise then Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist (CHSOS) might be the answer for you. Preparing for the exam is good revision and will help you to identify and address any skills gaps that you have. Keep in mind that you will need to maintain certification through professional development and re-certification at regular intervals. Your certification history can be used as supporting evidence of industry knowledge and years of experience in job applications.

Many recruitment notices and position descriptions for simulation technology and operation roles do not specify a qualification and instead suggest an appropriate education level for the role, such as a Diploma, Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent combination of qualification and experience. Senior positions are more likely to request a formal simulation qualification or certification with most simulation program management/director positions requiring or preferring a Masters level qualification. There are many universities offering Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Masters programs in simulation so it is worth investigating these and investing the time and money if your aspirations are for a senior position. If certifications and qualifications don’t fit in your budget why not volunteer with an organization that can help you develop the skills and experience you need to advance? This has the added bonus of expanding your professional network and the relationships you develop here may lead to future opportunities. I was self-employed for 15 years and when I applied for my first position in simulation I realised that I had very few options when it came to providing referees for job applications. Thankfully I had been an active volunteer with two organizations and leaders within those organizations were able to provide references for me. Conference presentations, guest blog posts on simulation websites and even publications in Simulation or Technology journals are all other great ways to raise your profile and demonstrate your expertise in the industry.