Allied Health Quick Careers Guide
In this career guide, we will discuss the jobs and responsibilities of each position, the salary, the entry-level education required to be a legitimate applicant, and lastly, the projected growth or decline of the position over the coming years.
What are the Character Traits of Allied Health Workers?
What are the Education Requirements for Allied Health Workers?
How to Prepare for a Career in Allied Health?
What are the Main Disciplines of Allied Health?
Allied Health Careers Guide
For some of these positions, you only need a GED or high school diploma along with training to get one of these jobs. With others, you need to become a doctor.
It also depends on the position you want, lower-level positions do not need as much education while higher ones do.
Take general health courses and specialized courses for your career goals. Get internships, apprenticeships, and work experience to further your understanding of the job and give you a leg above the other applicants later.
Allied health workers are compassionate, caring, passionate, cool under pressure, friendly, and creative thinkers. They are also fast to react in emergencies, logical, and analytical thinkers who can assess a situation and act accordingly.
There are tons of disciplines when it comes to allied health, however, there are 16 main disciplines that you can read about below in detail. They are as follows:
A dental hygienist is a person who works closely with a dentist to meet the oral needs of patients. A dental hygienist may perfrom a variety of tasks related to oral health and education. The job of a dental hygienist is to help patients keep their mouths, gums and teeth healthy and clean.
Dental hygienists are licensed professionals, who are legally allowed and permitted to practice dental hygiene. Since each state has its own specific regulations regarding their responsibilities, the scope and range of services provided by dental hygienists varies from state to state. Some of the responsibilities of dental hygienists may include: patient screening and assessment such as oral screening and reviewing health history, taking ex-rays, educating patients on oral care such as proper tooth brushing, flossing, etc., application of fluoride and other materials to the teeth, plaque removal, office management and administration duties.
Salary: Dental hygienists' median salary is $76,220 per year, or $36.65 per hour, in 2021, but can vary due to job experience and education*.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Minimum of an associate’s degree in dental hygiene required, bachelor’s degree recommended.
Job Outlook: Dental hygienists have a projected job grow of 6% from 2021 to 2029.
A dialysis technician is a medical specialist who works with patients suffering from kidney disorders by performing dialysis on their blood. The technician helps to set up and monitor the dialysis machine in order to help clean and purify the blood where the kidneys failed to do so. A dialysis technician is responsible for assembling the dialysis machine and ensuring that it is sterile for patient use. A dialysis technician will monitor and adjust fluid removal rates as needed and attend to patient needs throughout the dialysis process. In addition, a dialysis technician may respond to emergency situations, administer local anasthesia and provide educational training to patients.
This is a specialist type of position typically found in clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes or elder care facilities.
Salary: Dialysis technicians' median salary is $53,120 per year, or $25.54 per hour, in 2021. But can range from $29,640 to $79,530 depending on work experience and education level.
Typical Entry-Level Education: associate’s degree or bachelor, as well as necessary certifications from state and/or local government/facilities.
Job Outlook: Dialysis technicians' jobs grow is 7% from 2021 to 2029.
Dietitians and nutritionists work in medical institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, and eldercare facilities, public health clinics, and personal health agencies. However, they also work in the private sector, such as in a gym, as a personal coach, in cafeterias, food production sites, and private practices who work one on one with clients.
Although dietitians and nutritionists share some similarities, there are some differences between the two. Nutritionists are experts in the field of food and nutrition. They work with people in a variety of different settings in order to advise people on how to live a healthy lifestyle or achieve certain health goals. Dieticians create and organize food and nutrition plans to promote healthy eating and to help prevent or treat illness such as eating disorders.
One of the main differences between dietitians and nutritionists is the amount of education and regulation required. While almost anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, a dietician requires a 4-year undergraduate degree at a college or university. In addition, dieticians must pass an internship and a passing score in a national exam to be called a registered dietician. Dieticians also may periodically be required to complete continuing education classes in order to keep up to date on their skills and the most current information regarding nutrition science.
In this position, you will work with clients or patients to organize and create planned menus and food preparation to help educate different types of people about nutrition, whether that be senior citizens, pregnant women, diabetics, or people recovering from eating disorders.
Salary: Dietitians and nutritionists' median salary is $61,270 per year, or $29 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: A bachelor’s degree in nutritional health is almost always required.
Job Outlook: Dietitians and nutritionists' job grow is 8% from 2021 to 2029.
Emergency medical technicians, better known as EMT's provide on-site medical care to injured patients in any type of emergency. This could include natural disasters, accidents, car crashes, or heart attacks.
These are the folks who arrive in an ambulance in response to 911 calls. EMTs are employed by private ambulance services, hospitals, governments, police and fire departments and work under the supervision of a physician or medical director. There are several certifications that an EMT will need to pass to become a registered EMT. Some of the responsibilities of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are:
- Respond to 911 calls for emergency medical assistance, such as providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or bandaging wounds
- Assess a patient's condition and determine the best course of treatment
- Provide first-aid or life support care as needed
- Prevent shock and further injury
- Safe transport of patients to the emergency room or between medical facilities
- Communicate observations and treatment given to emergency room staff or other healthcare providers.
Salary: Emergency medical technicians' median salary is $35,400 per year, or $17 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: A high school diploma or GED along with an EMT certification, or an associate’s degree from an EMT program.
Job Outlook: Emergency medical technicians' jobs grow is 6% from 2021 to 2029.
A hearing technician also known as an audiology technician works closely with an audiologist to administer hearing tests in order to measure and record the hearing ability of the client or patient. A hearing technician may help patients fit and adjust hearing aids or other equipment for hearing loss and make repairs, as necessary. The range and scope of responisiblities will vary according to the size and location of the office and needs of the audiogist. In addition, some of the responsibilities of a hearing technician may also include administration duties such as record-keeping, patient follow-up and appointment-setting.
Salary: Hearing technician's median salary is $78,131 per year, or $37 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: An associate’s degree in audiology, communication disorders, or another related field such as speech-language pathology.
Job Outlook: Hearing technicians jobs growth is 7% from 2021 to 2029.
A hematology technician or medical laboratory technician is a specialist who performs many different kinds of tests and analysis of blood samples. They work under the supervision of a lab technologist and report their findings to a physician or medical team to help create diagnosis and treatment plans for different illnesses or diseases. In addition to collection and analysis of blood samples, a hematology technician administers blood transfusions and works with lab equipment and computers.
Because they work in the lab, they are in charge of operating, cleaning, and all maintenance of laboratory equipment and functions used in blood work.
Salary: Hematology technicians' median salary is $54, 481 per year, or $26 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: An associate’s degree is required as a minimum education level.
Job Outlook: Hematology technician jobs grow will be 5% from 2021 to 2029.
Histologic technicians are the workers in the medical labs that take tissue samples and turn them into microscope slides. They prepare tissue samples for pathologists in order to help identify and diagnose, as well as create treatment plans for different diseases or illnesses. They safely work with chemicals to help prepare and stain samples. In addition to the collection and preparation of various plant, animal and human tissue samples, histologic technicians manage various aspects of the laboratory. They work in many diverse medical settings such as hospitals, research, forensic, reference or physician's office laboratories. They may also be employed by medical businesses such as medical instrument or medical supply industries.
Salary: Histologic technicians' median salary is $62,134 per year, or $30 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: An associate’s degree and one year of clinical lab work is required, or a high school diploma and two years of clinical lab work.
Job Outlook: Histologic technicians' jobs growth is 10% from 2021 to 2029.
Mental health service technicians are also referred to as psychiatric or behavioral health technicians, are the front line workers who help to care for individuals with mental illness, behavioral and developmental disabilities and addiction issues to help them gain back their quality of life, or to help them achieve it.
They also assist people with lower capacities for social understanding to participate in society, via social and recreational activities. Some of the typical responsibilities of a mental health service technician is to observe and listen to patient behavior and concerns, record behavioral observations, monitor patients vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure, lead recreational and therapeutic activities, help patients with activities of daily living such as grooming and bathing, help administer medications under the guidance of a physican or other qualified medical personnel, perform intake and discharge procedures for patients, offer emotional support and guidance.
Salary: Mental health service technicians' median salary is $32,020 per year, or $15 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: At least 480 hours of college courses, plus one year of relevant work experience, or more is required, along with a high school diploma or GED.
Job Outlook: Mental health service technicians' jobs grow will be 12% from 2021 to 2029.
These are the technicians who follow orders from doctors and other experts on what to diagnostic images of. They prepare patients for the procedures they are about to have, take their medical history, and answer questions from patients. They perform diagnostic imaging procedures, such as X-ray examinations, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and computed tomography (CT) scans. Some may specialize in specific techniques such as cardiovascular-interventional radiography, mammography or sonography. Radiologic technicians are responsible for accurately positioning patients and ensuring that a quality diagnostic image is produced. They work closely with radiologists, the physicians who interpret medical images to either diagnose or rule out disease or injury. For the images to be interpreted correctly by the radiologist, the imaging examination must be performed properly by a radiologic technician. They take necessary safely precautions such as to protects patients from unnecessary exposure.
They also keep imaging equipment functioning and clean and keep detailed patient records.
Salary: Radiology technician's median salary is $62,280 per year, or $30 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in radiography or MRI technology.
Job Outlook: Radiology technicians' jobs grow will be 7% from 2021 to 2029.
Occupational therapists help patients regain mental, emotional or physical functioning following an illness or injury. They also help patients adjust to disabilities and adaptive equipment such as braces and wheelchairs. They plan and administer appropriate medically prescribed treatment plans to patients in order to help them with day-to-day functioning and to regain independence. They evaluate a patient's condition and needs in order to help them reach specific goals. OT's provide a variety of therapies and techniques to help their patients reach those goals. OT's evaluate a patient's home and/or workplace and makes adaptive recommendations based on those findings. OT's may meet with a patient's employer to help find ways to adapt the workspace to the patient's needs and abilities.
OT's work in private practice and offices or hospitals with other medical staff. OT's are also found in nursing homes, rehab facilities, schools, and healthcare agencies.
Salary: Occupational therapists' median salary is $84,950 per year, or $41 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Master’s degree required.
Job Outlook: Occupational therapists' jobs grow is 16% from 2021 to 2029.
An operating room tech also known as a surgical technologist or scrub is a worker who is responsible for prepping patients for surgery, setting up and sterilizing operating equipment and supplies before surgery, and assisting the surgeons during surgery. An operating room technician works as part of a team and is supervised by a physician or other medical staff. An operating room technician learns about all of the various surgical equipment and procedures to efficiently assist the surgeon with surgical operations.
Most operating room technicians work in hospitals and spend most of their time on their feet. An aspiring operating room technician should be detail-oriented, have keen observation skills and the ability to listen and follow directions, remain calm under pressure, have exceptional dexterity, ability to tolerate unpleasant sights, smells and sounds and be dependable and reliable.
Salary: Operating room technicians median salary is $43,300 per year, or $23 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Post-secondary non-degree award.
Job Outlook: Operating room technicians' jobs grown is 7% from 2021 to 2029.
Also known as allied ophthalmic personnel, these technicians are specialists who work with an ophthalmologist, which is an eye doctor. They are the ones who perform clinical tasks related to the health of the patient’s eyes, such as taking medical histories, performing eye exams, administering eye medications and assisting patients with corrective lenses such as glasses and contact lenses. Opthamology technicians also perform administrative duties such as appointment setting and patient follow-up. In addition, an opthamology tecnician acts as a liaison between a patient and physician.
Ophthalmic technicians work in a variety of places and environments. Many work in offices, such as a doctor’s private office or a hospital clinic setting. Others may work for ambulatory care centers and outpatient surgery departments in the operating room (OR) assisting with eye surgeries.
Salary: Ophthalmic technician's median salary is $37,370 per year, or $18 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Two-year college education in ophthalmic technology.
Job Outlook: Ophthalmic technicians' jobs grow is 9% from 2021 to 2029.
Orthotists and prostetists are qualified allied health professionals who assess and treat individuals who have had a disability due to an illness, injury or accident including limb amputations. They are trained to assess, design, construct and monitor prosthesis and orthoses devices. They are distinctly two separate disciplines but share a common goal of designing and constructing devices to improve the mobility and functioning of patients.
An orthotist designs, fabricates, and fits custom-made orthopedic braces, or "orthoses," and fits pre-fabricated devices, and provides related patient care.
A prosthetist designs, fabricates, and fits custom-made artificial limbs, or "prostheses," and provides related patient care.
Salary: Orthotists and prostetists' median salary is $68,410 per year, or $33 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: A degree ranging from an associate’s degree to a master’s degree in orthotic sciences, and two years in orthotic school.
Job Outlook: Orthotists and prostetists' jobs grow is 17% from 2021 to 2029.
A physical therapist works with patients who have experienced injuries or have health conditions that limit their mobility and quality of life. A physical therapist is also commonly known as a PT. PT's help patients improve movement through exercises, stretches and mobility aides. A PT will assess a patient's condition and review medical history and doctor's notes to design and implement a regimen. The PT will observe a patient's condition and listen to his or her needs and concerns to find the best course of action. A PT will set appropriate goals that are uniquely tailored to an individual's needs and abilities. A PT will use a variety of exercises, range of motion and strengthening exercises to help a patient meet those goals.
Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings and nursing homes. State license is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices.
Salary: Physical therapists' median salary is $48,990 per year, or $23.50 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: An Associate’s degree in a health-related field, and a state or professional license.
Job Outlook: Physical therapists' jobs grow will be 29% from 2021 to 2029.
Also called by its easier to pronounce nickname of “sleep study,” a person working in this allied health field studies sleeping patterns to help diagnose and treat sleeping disorders, such as narcolepsy and sleep apnea (a disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep.). A person who performs a polysomnography or "sleep study" is called asleep technologist. A sleep technologist works under the supervision of a doctor in sleep medicine. A sleep technologist observes individuals while they sleep and measure things like heart rate, rapid eye movements, brain waves, physical movements, breathing rates and oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
Sleep technologists work in sleep laboratories in hospitals and clinics and in offices that specialize in sleep medicine.
Salary: Sleep technologists median salary is $45,480 per year, or $22 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: An associate’s degree in Polysomnography is almost always required.
Job Outlook: Sleep technologists' jobs grow will be 7% growth from 2021 to 2029.
Respiratory Therapy is an allied health specialty concerned with the treatment, management and care of the patient's breathing. A Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP), also known as a Respiratory Therapist, is a licensed specialist trained in providing care to patients with heart and lung disorders. A respiratory care therapist examines and questions patients who have breathing or cardiopulmonary issues and/or disorders. The patients can be infants or elderly patients.
These therapists help to heal diseased lungs, increase airflow, and provide emergency care to patients suffering from shock, heart attacks, or drowning.
Respiratory Therapists work in hospitals; transitional care facilities, nursing homes, home health agencies, specialized care hospitals and physician's offices.
Salary: Respiratory Therapist's median salary is $61,330 per year, or $30 per hour, in 2021.
Typical Entry-Level Education: An associate’s degree is required.
Job Outlook: Respiratory Therapists' jobs grow is 19% from 2021 to 2029.