Education is key

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"What do I want to be?" is a question most of us ask ourselves at some time. But it can be a difficult decision to make, and perhaps even harder when you have a congenital heart defect. Like most people you want a job that you enjoy and find stimulating. Luckily your heart shouldn’t be a barrier, with a few exceptions, young people with congenital heart defects can do whatever they want to do in life.

Think ahead

Sometimes it is difficult thinking long term. You might worry and feel uncertain about the future. Don’t worry! You can become a scientist, journalist, healthcare worker, welder, computer technician… or just about anything else you set your mind to. Just make sure you think about your options carefully and consider how education can help you achieve your dream job.

Consider career counseling

In some European countries there are clinics or experts for congenital heart defects that offer counseling and advice about education and careers. This may involve an interview with a cardiologist and a career counselor to outline your abilities and strengths. Unfortunately, at the moment, this type of counseling is not widely available in many countries.

Be a heart expert

Knowing about your heart defect and the consequences that it might or might not have always pays off – not only when choosing a career but in life in general. It is important to be able to tell other people about your heart defect – for example an employer. However, it is up to you how much you decide to say.

Education is key

Good education is really important as for many jobs you need to have some form of qualification. Some studies of people with congenital heart defects show that the more education the people had the more likely they were to be employed.

Stay motivated

Sometimes genetics, syndromes, the consequences of treatment, and the heart defect itself can put restrictions on your education and career choices. The key is to stay motivated. If you come across any challenges – such as being advised not to choose the career that you want, difficulty getting insurance, the need for surgery, or you are unable to work full-time – stay focused, there is usually a way to work around these things.

Being employed

There is not much data available about people with congenital heart defects who are in employment. However, some studies say that 57-77% of all adults with moderate or complicated congenital heart defects are working.

Remember, having a job doesn’t have to mean working a full day every day. Not everyone is healthy enough to work full-time. In fact, adults with congenital heart defects are more likely to work part-time than those who are healthy. But however often you work, being employed always pays off – you earn money, make new friends and generally improve your quality of life.

Author(s): Marit Haugdahl
Last updated: 2010-10-07

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Comments on this article

26.01.2013 | Vanessa Christina Birgel, Deutschland
Ich stehe gerade vor meiner; Zukunft wie soll sie ausehen?
Ich habe nicht nur einen angeboren Herzfehler sondern auch noch eine Halbseiten Lähmung links. Ich bin in einem Internat für Menschen mit Behinderung und arbeite zurzeit in einer Werkstatt für Menschen mit Behinderung. Da versucht man mit mir einen geeigneten Beruf zu finden. Wenn es möglich ist, möchte ich später einmal eine Ausbildung als Verkäuferin in der Modebranche machen.


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