Allied healthcare providers consist broadly of technicians, who work alongside doctors, and therapists and technologists, who work independently, evaluating and diagnosing patients, and developing treatment plans. Technicians generally have at least an associate’s degree, although they are often not required to have more than a high school education, as well as some on-the-job training. Therapists and technologists must be more highly educated, and undergo more intensive training.
Here are some examples of positions within the allied health field:
Pharmacy technicians work alongside pharmacists, helping to dispense medication and advise customers on its use. They can be found working in drugstores and health and personal care stores. To be a pharmacy technician, applicants must pass an exam or complete a designated training program, depending on the state.
Phlebotomists work with blood: drawing it, preparing it for testing, and managing transfusions, blood donations, and research. In addition to their secondary education, phlebotomists must complete a phlebotomy program. Phlebotomy pays a mean salary of $31,890, but phlebotomists working for insurance carriers can make a mean of $42,870.
Dispensing opticians use ophthalmologist’s or optometrist’s prescriptions to dispense and fit glasses, contacts, and other optical aids. They also advise customers on eyeglass options and explain care. Although dispensing opticians often have associate degrees or technical certifications, the only requirements are a high school diploma and on-the-job training.
Dietitians and Nutritionists
Dietitians and nutritionists help patients fulfill health and fitness goals by evaluating and advising them on their diet plans. They are most frequently employed by hospitals, where they help patients with long-term health problems confront their issues through nutrition. Dietitians and nutritionists receive a mean salary of $57,440 nationally.
Orthotists and Prosthetists
Orthotists and prosthetists design aids such as artificial limbs and braces based on the needs and measurements of the patient. Both orthotists and prosthetists are required to have a master’s degree and some professional certification, including a one-year residency. This is a high-paying and fast-growing area, with an expected growth of 36% and a mean annual salary of $70,690, although considering that it currently only employs 7,830 people, there sadly aren’t many positions to fill.
Occupational therapists help injured, ill, or disabled patients complete everyday activities in therapeutic ways. Occupational therapists need a minimum of a master’s degree and some form of license or registration (depending on the state.) Occupational therapists earn an average salary of $80,000, with a mean salary of $115,320 for those employed in the scientific research and development services industry.