What to Expect as an Allied Health Professional
The allied health field is so broad and full of possibilities that there is much to expect from the variety of professions.
"Allied health" is not a phrase that covers one specific healthcare professional. Rather, this term describes a cluster of as many as 200 healthcare professions, excluding medical doctors and nurses. The areas that make up the allied health professional field can vary from athletic trainers to pharmacy technicians to medical assistants, each performing their own unique set of job duties. To discover exactly what to expect as an allied health professional, you must first decide which area you plan to pursue.
Allied Health Fields
A brief list of allied health professions includes but is not limited to:
- Anesthesia technicians
- Nursing assistants
- Healthcare administrators
- Medical assistants
- Medical billing professionals
- Radiologic technologists
- Medical transcriptionists
- Pharmacy technicians
- Surgical technologists
- Veterinary technicians
Allied Health Programs
The amount of education and training it takes to become an allied health professional depends on the specific profession chosen. By first choosing the specific area you’d like to focus on, you can then move forward in the education and training process.
The majority of allied health professionals pursue an associate degree in the area they’ve chosen. The length of time it takes to complete allied health programs depends on the individual and whether or not they can study full-time or part-time, but most schools are flexible with accommodating student schedules.
Allied Health Work Environment
Again, the work environment for an allied health professional varies depending on the profession. For example, an allied health professional who works as a dental hygienist probably works in a private dentist’s office. They are on their feet often but also get to sit (while cleaning a patient’s teeth) and must be able to get along with and communicate with patients, co-workers and the dentist on a daily basis.
Radiologic technologists, however, typically work in larger hospitals where they are on their feet the majority of the day. Since hospitals are usually open day and night, radiologic technologists often work odd hours and holidays. They must also collaborate effectively with coworkers, doctors and patients.
Does the allied health profession sound interesting to you? Learn more about the opportunities available with allied health training at a healthcare school near you.