November 1, 2017
Dental assistants, home health aides, medical assistants, health administration, therapeutic massage practitioner - what do these fields have in common? All are considered "Allied Health" professions, a broad group of health care career paths distinct from medicine and nursing.
Consider Allied Health professions as the glue that holds our medical system together. All told, Allied Health professionals compose 60 percent of the health care workforce, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment in the field is projected to grow 18 percent between 2016 and 2026.
It seems appropriate, then, that we recognize Nov. 5-11, 2017, as Allied Health Professionals Week.
How might you know if a health care career is right for you? Consider these four key elements:
Part of the role for Allied Health professions is interacting with patients, preparing them for examination and helping them feel comfortable during their visit. A dental assistant, for example, may assist a dentist in procedures such as applying a topical anesthetic prior to treatment. With an anxious patient, it can be helpful if the dental assistant is able to ease his fears!
Allied Health professionals often juggle clinical and clerical duties, from assisting a doctor or dentist with procedures or recording vital signs, to scheduling appointments and charting or updating patient records. An individual who is able to oversee multiple tasks while remaining organized and efficient will excel in this fast-paced environment.
A curiosity for how our bodies function is key for any Allied Health professional, especially for those who pursue a health care career in a clinical environment. Even a field like massage therapy can be rooted in a clinical setting if therapy is used to support a comprehensive medical plan for a patient. Students in a hands-on program like those offered by Dawn Career Institute can expect plenty of "contact hours" in the classroom and lab to gain the skills needed for success - but your curiosity can fuel that fire and desire to learn!
As Baby Boomers age and create a greater demand for health care services, the need for Allied Health professionals is growing. For example, the BLS estimates that Medical Assistants will gain 634,000 jobs from 2016 to 2026, a 29 percent increase. That's much faster than the average growth rate of 7 percent for all occupations.