As the most populous state in the United States, California sees significant and consistent demand for healthcare services. This is not just limited to services provided by doctors and nurses but also by allied health professionals such as EMTs, healthcare technicians, and dental hygienists, to name a few. With the population expected to reach 45 million by 2050, the demand is also set to increase, creating the perfect opportunity for aspiring allied health professionals to begin their journey.
In this post, we will help you explore the outlook for allied health jobs in California and which ones are the most in-demand. This will give you a better idea of which paths to pursue based on long-term growth prospects.
What Are Allied Health Jobs?
Allied health is an umbrella term for a vast range of professions within the healthcare sector but excluding doctors and nurses. Professionals in the industry may have diverse responsibilities that include emergency medical care, lab work, administrative tasks, and diagnostic assistance. Some of the top allied health jobs include:
- Anesthesia technician
- Dental assistant
- Dental hygienist
- Endoscopy technician
- Exercise physiologist
- Medical assistant
- Medical coder/medical billing and coding specialist
- Medical records specialist/medical records and health information technician
- Pharmacy technician
- Phlebotomy technician
- Veterinary assistant
As you can see, the allied health industry covers an expansive range of professions. The actual titles for these professions may vary for different countries and so will the requisites to pursue them.
Demand for Different Allied Health Jobs in California
Allied health jobs are among the fastest-growing occupations in California, according to the state’s Employment Development Department. For example, the employment of occupational therapy assistants is expected to grow by 42.3% between 2018 and 2028. Meanwhile, the employment of physician assistants is expected to see a 34.2% increase during the same period.
Other allied health job titles such as personal care aides, speech-language pathologists, physical therapist aides, respiratory therapists, and phlebotomists also rank among the fastest-growing occupations. This suggests that there are plenty of job opportunities for those who live in California and are looking for a career with a low barrier to entry.
California has the highest demand for pharmacy technicians compared to any other state. According to the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD), there was a 33% increase in employment for pharmacy technicians in California between 2010 and 2020. This is much higher than the 4% national average and speaks volumes about the job prospects for aspiring pharmacy technicians.
As a pharmacy technician, you will work in pharmacies, such as drug stores, grocery stores, and hospitals. Responsibilities and duties can vary, but you will likely always help pharmacists dispense prescription medication.
The median salary for this profession is $36,740 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). To begin your career as a pharmacy technician, you should sign up for a Pharmacy Technician course to prepare for your Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).
Phlebotomy technicians are also in high demand in California, which tops the list in terms of state-wise demand. According to the BLS, phlebotomists make an average of $37,380 per year and see a much faster than average employment growth rate at a projected 22% growth between 2020 and 2030.
These professionals work mainly in hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories, blood donor centers, and doctors’ offices, where they draw blood for tests, transfusions, research, or blood donations. Some also explain their work to patients and assist if patients have adverse reactions after their blood is drawn.
To pursue a career as a phlebotomy technician, you will need either an NHA Professional Certification or an AECA Provisional Certification. A relevant Certified Phlebotomy Technician course will prepare you for these certifications.
There are two main types of medical assistants–clinical and administrative. California is the state with the highest demand for both types of medical assistants, with a 22% growth in employment between 2010 and 2020, according to the EDD. This profession also sees a faster than average growth on a national level, with a projected 18% increase between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS.
Administrative medical assistants usually fill out insurance forms, code patients’ medical information, answer telephones, and schedule patient appointments. Clinical medical assistants have different duties that vary based on their state of employment. Your duties can include basic laboratory tests, disposing of contaminated supplies, and sterilizing medical instruments. Additional responsibilities might involve instructing patients about medication or special diets, preparing patients for x-rays, removing stitches, drawing blood, or changing dressings.
Medical assistants can expect to make an average salary of $37,190 per year. You can start your career by becoming either a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) or a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA).
California also tops the list in terms of demand for dental assistants, in line with the growth in dental practices in the state. On a national level, dental assistant jobs are expected to grow by 11% between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than average compared to other professions. Dental assistants can expect to make an average of $38,660 per year.
You can either become a Clinical Dental Assistant or an Administrative Dental Assistant, depending on your strengths and preferences. Clinical assistance will include tasks such as taking X-rays, sterilizing dental equipment, and assisting dentists during dental procedures. Administrative assistance involves scheduling appointments, maintaining records, and working on billing and payments.
Physical Therapy Aide
Another allied health profession that sees significant demand in California is physical therapy aides, with a 29% employment growth between 2010 and 2020, according to the EDD. The state sees the highest demand for this profession compared to other states. Even on a national scale, employment of physical therapy aides is expected to grow by 32% between 2020 and 2030.
As a physical therapist aide, you are supervised by physical therapists to help patients regain movement and manage pain after injuries and illnesses. Your duties will often be indirectly related to patient care, such as cleaning and setting up the treatment area, moving patients, and doing clerical tasks.
When it comes to pay, these allied health professionals can expect to earn a median salary of $29,200, with the highest 10% earning more than $37,920, according to the BLS. Sign up for a Certified Physical Therapy Aide course to prepare for your Physical Therapy Technician/Aide Certification (PTTC).
For those who want to work with animals, becoming a veterinary assistant is another viable career choice. California sees the highest demand for this profession compared to all other states. On a national scale, veterinary assistant employment is expected to grow by 14% between 2020 and 2030 due to an increase in pet ownership and veterinary practices.
As a veterinary assistant, you play a vital role in a vet clinic, as this role is a mix of administrative and technical tasks, which allows the vet to concentrate on procedures and treatment. Duties include sterilizing surgical equipment, record keeping, collecting samples, pre- and post-surgical care for animals, client correspondence, and more.
You can expect to earn a median salary of $29,780 in this profession. While there are no specific certification requirements, a focused Veterinary Assistant course will prepare you with the necessary skills and knowledge.
Starting Your Allied Health Career in California
Besides the popular jobs listed above, there are plenty of other allied health professions you can pursue. In general, California sees a high demand for allied health services, so you have several options available. Explore the offered allied health courses at ed2go to start your career as an allied health professional.
To learn more about our online courses, fill out this form, and we will be in touch immediately.