Healthcare is a universal need, which is what makes it such a great field to be a part of. It’s always growing, and there will always be opportunities for those who want to succeed and grow in the industry. The benefits of working in the healthcare industry are unrivaled. But is a career in healthcare right for you? Let’s discuss what a career in allied healthcare is, the variety of professions available, what the training looks like, and what the benefits are of working in the field.
What Is an Allied Health Career?Did you know that you can be in the healthcare field without being a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist? It’s estimated that allied health professionals make up almost 60% of the healthcare workforce. Allied health careers involve the delivery of health or related services in:
- Evaluation and prevention of diseases and disorders
- Dietary and nutrition services
- Health systems management
- Many more
Which Healthcare Profession is Right For You?With an allied health career, there are a variety of professions that are available to you. These are just a few examples of the many to choose from.
- Athletic Trainer Athletic trainers collaborate with other healthcare providers to manage injuries and illnesses common to people who play competitive sports. This career generally requires a bachelor’s degree.
- Cardiovascular Technologist Cardiovascular technologists are essential to running diagnostic tests to assess conditions that affect the heart and lungs. They take the patient’s medical history, maintain and operate imaging equipment, conduct tests like electrocardiograms, and record the results. This career typically requires an associate’s degree.
- Dental Hygienist Dental hygienists clean teeth, take X-rays, apply sealants, and much more to ensure the dental health of their patients. They work closely with dentists and are responsible for providing patient education. This career generally requires a three-year associate degree program.
- Lactation Consultant Breastfeeding for new mothers can be painful and complicated. That’s why lactation consultants are available at hospitals, clinics, and birthing centers to help families work through problems with lactation. The education for this career varies, but certification may be obtained through the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners.
- Nuclear Medicine Technologist Nuclear medicine technologists work closely with patients during imaging procedures like positron emission tomography scans. They educate patients on what to expect, administer radiopharmaceutical injections, operate medical equipment, and take detailed records. This career generally requires at least an associate degree.
Benefits of Working in a Healthcare ProfessionHealthcare is a constantly growing field, and there’s a good reason for that. There are a number of benefits to working in it. Diverse Careers The healthcare industry is vast, with professions in a diverse variety of fields. These include:
- Disease prevention and control
- Personal healthcare
- Maternal and childcare
- Mental healthcare
- Community healthcare
- Environmental healthcare management
- Drug prevention and control
- Health education
- Dental health
- Occupational safety
- Emergency medical services
- Nurse practitioners with a median annual wage of around $120,000
- Medical and health service managers with a median annual wage of around $101,000
- Physician assistants with a median annual wage of around $121,530
What Makes a Healthcare Profession Stand Out From Other Professions?Many of the benefits above are the reason that people gravitate toward a field in healthcare as opposed to other industries. There are endless reasons that healthcare careers stand out, including:
- High job satisfaction
- Accessibility to a variety of educational backgrounds
- Travel opportunities
- Stimulating work environments
- Respected role in society
What Is Allied Health Career Training Like?The level of training you need to receive depends on the profession you choose in the allied health career field. In general, the education that is required is very specific to your chosen specialization, as well as building skills in improved communication, procedures in providing elevated levels of care, and any general knowledge you may need.
How Does COVID-19 Impact Working as an Allied Health Professional?COVID-19 rocked the entire healthcare industry. It drastically increased the demand for healthcare workers, added stress and extra hours to those already in the field, and stretched resources thin. The industry had to evolve with all of the challenges that COVID-19 presented. Many providers started offering telehealth options so patients didn’t need to risk coming to a clinic or hospital and getting the virus. Cleaning became even more of a priority, with extra protocols put into place to sanitize every area that is accessible to patients. There were a massive number of changes that were made, and some even stuck around after the peak of COVID-19 was over.
What Is the Average Salary of an Allied Health Professional?Because the allied health field is so vast, the average salary of different professions within it varies greatly. There are a couple of factors that determine the salary of chosen specializations:
- Urban vs. rural location
- Large hospitals vs. small offices
- Years of experience vs. just entering the field
- Shorter degrees vs. higher level ones