Few things are sure in our uncertain world, but here is one: people will always need healthcare. Particularly in an aging and health-conscious society, professionals that help us safeguard our physical and mental health are as important as ever.
But solid job outlooks are not the only reason a career in health care is a good choice. Helping people through each day’s work can lead to great job satisfaction and a feeling of fulfillment. Many different careers are available in the health care field, and these options don’t always require a medical degree or nursing specialty.
A career in allied health is an opportunity to work behind the scenes or directly with patients, supporting health care practitioners in patient care and diagnostics. Below is a guide to what allied health careers involve, the benefits the work brings, demand and salary expectations, and how to pursue a career in the field.
What is an allied health career?
Allied health careers are distinct from medicine and nursing and provide a range of technical, therapeutic, and administrative support services connected with health care. In the U.S., it’s estimated that more than half of the healthcare workforce can be considered to be allied health workers.
Some examples of allied health workers are audiologists, physical therapists, imaging specialists, medical billers and coders, medical assistants, pharmacy techs, phlebotomists, and nutritionists. Dental hygienists and paramedics are also often included in this group of workers.
What are the benefits of allied health careers?
Allied health workers enjoy many benefits as physicians and nurses, like job security and varied and fulfilling work. Still, a career in allied health is easier to access in many cases, requiring a one or two-year training program instead of many years of post-secondary education. These training programs are also often significantly cheaper than a four-year college degree.
Allied health careers can offer a good deal of flexibility, too. Along with work in a hospital or medical clinic, allied health professionals may find work through government agencies, offer in-home services for their patients, or work within a corporate setting. Allied health workers can often find work with predictable schedules, and skills learned through training and on the job are transferable across the country.
Are allied health careers in demand?
The job outlook for allied health careers looks positive, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting that an additional 2.4 million new jobs could be added in the sector through 2029, a rate faster than other occupations. That’s mostly because of an aging population—the percentage of Americans aged 65 and over is expected to jump to 23.4% of the population by 2034, up from 15.2% in 2017. This increase is expected to bump up the demand for medical services in the years ahead.
How much do allied health workers earn?
It is difficult to pin down exact salary expectations with such a broad spectrum of careers encompassing the term allied health worker. Still, examples of salary earnings show that allied health workers earn well compared to median earnings for individuals in the U.S.
Additionally, the more specialized career education and training one possesses, the greater the chances of earning a higher yearly salary are. Keep reading to discover more about the career outlook for allied health workers, including earning potential later in the article.
What are some examples of careers in allied health?
Medical Billing and Coding
A medical biller and coder facilitates the remuneration cycle, who is responsible for translating office notes into alphanumeric codes and appropriately billing for healthcare services. Professionals in this career earn a median salary of $44,090, and jobs in the field are expected to grow 8% by 2031, with the greatest demand in California, Texas, and Florida.
A pharmacy technician can work in many settings, including hospitals and pharmacies, to assist pharmacists and other health professionals in getting required medications to those who need them. Pharmacy technicians earn a median income of $35,100, but those who work in hospitals earn an average 21% higher salary. Demand is forecasted to grow 4% by 2031, led by Texas, California, and Florida.
Specifically tasked with collecting blood for medical tests or donation, phlebotomy technicians can work in hospitals, clinics, or for blood donation drives. Earning an average of $36,320, demand for workers in this field is expected to grow by 17% in the coming years.
Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
CCMAs work alongside physicians, preparing patients for doctor visits by obtaining vital signs and collecting specimens as required. They also perform tests like EKGs and assist doctors during some procedures and exams. CCMAs earn a median salary of $35,850, and growth in this field is expected to jump a whopping 19% by 2031.
Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
While spending more time in a clinic’s front office than in exam rooms, certified medical administrative assistants nonetheless have a huge impact on patient experience. Responsible for filing, correspondence, and scheduling appointments, CMAAs help keep things running smoothly. At median annual earnings of $35,850, demand for CMAAs is expected to increase by 19% in the coming decade.
Dental assistants help dentists in their various tasks, making visits more efficient. They assist with treatment procedures, take radiographs, and gather patients’ medical histories. Dental assistants earn a median of $41,180. Demand for dental assistants is expected to grow 7% over the next ten years.
Physical Therapy Aide
Physical therapy aides and assistants (PTAs) work with and under physical therapists’ supervision to help patients regain proper movement and manage pain after injury or illness. PTAs earn around $49,970, and job demand is expected to grow by 21% by 2029.
Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS)
Electronic health records specialists manage patient health information, including checking accuracy, maintaining organization, and ensuring its electronic security. CEHRS professionals earn a median of $44,090, and demand is greatest in California, Texas, and Florida.
Medical Office Manager
A medical office manager works in a healthcare setting and looks after all of the non-clinical aspects of its operation, including assuring compliance with government regulations and interacting with patients. Professionals in this field can expect a median salary of $56,496, with demand greatest in California, Texas, and Florida.
Dental Office Manager
Similar to medical office managers, dental office managers deal with non-clinical aspects of patient care, including submitting patient claims to insurance companies, interfacing with patients, and monitoring supply inventories. Dental office managers make a median salary of $47,887, with the greatest demand in California, Texas, and Florida.
What do I do next?
Entering into a career in allied health could be your next great move. Check out courses at ed2go to find out more information about allied health careers and how to earn the credentials you need to get into one.
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