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Haley Harris, a first-year occupational therapy student at the University of Central Arkansas, listened intently to Brent Harrolle, regional vice president of recruiting for MedTravelers explain how Harris could join his firm, travel America and make between $80,000 to $100,000.
The UCA Health Career Fair held its annual event 9-4 p.m. Wednesday, drawing about 700 students looking to see what opportunities exist when they graduate.
Students dressed in jeans were turned away at the door. The fair is a professional event, officials said.
Several students, dressed in business slacks and bow ties, said they came for class but were surprised at how useful the fair is.
"I'm more aware now of what's out there," said Ashley Paxton, a first-year occupational therapy student.
Harrolle said many hospitals and businesses seeking health professionals will leave without having hired enough people. Health professionals are in demand, he said.
At the booth for NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, Ashley House, with career opportunities, said the hospital plans to hire about 300 more people starting this spring. Baptist is doubling in size and opening its new hospital in Jonesboro this coming summer, she said.
Third-year physical therapy student Konrad Siemek had been at the fair since 10 a.m. Everyone seemed to want physical therapists, he said. Good thing too, because he needs a job when he graduates August 2013, he said.
"I'm trying to find a job," Siemek said. "I have a lot of student loans to pay off."
UCA has been holding a health fair for more than 15 years, said Tiffany Johnson, associate director of Career Services at UCA. She said this year's fair drew more venders and was definitely a success.
"The biggest plus (to the fair) is that students are actually able to network with companies all in one place and to actually get hired," Johnson said.
Harris said she is interested in traveling through the South. She took information from Harrolle's booth and looked around at the other venders at the health fair.
"I'm really glad they do this," Harris said.