7 In-Demand Allied Health Careers
In 2022, the healthcare industry will undergo a rapid shift, wherein non-traditional healthcare practices will intertwine with traditional measures to ensure patients have more focused, and better, healthcare. It’s no longer surprising to see supermarket chains partnering with life sciences companies and technology giants to offer a different brand of healthcare. This means that the patient care landscape will change. Along with this transition comes the growing demand for allied healthcare professionals beyond the hospital setting.
Top Allied Health Careers to Consider
For those considering a career in the health sector, these top allied health careers are projected to grow from 14% to 23% within the next few years:
- Medical Assistants
One of the fastest-growing professions is medical assisting. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assistants are expected to see job growth of 18% from 2020 to 2030. On average, there are approximately 104,400 job vacancies yearly for medical assistants.
These healthcare professionals help medical practitioners like doctors, surgeons, chiropractors, and nurses with clinical and administrative tasks. Their duties vary depending on the clinics they serve. Some of the roles of medical assistants can include handling medical records, doing insurance paperwork, scheduling patient appointments, assisting surgeries, and managing laboratory requests.
- Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians
Allied health also includes more specialized roles, such as cardiovascular technologists and technicians. These professionals work directly with cardiovascular surgeons and assist them in diagnosing and treating various heart and peripheral vascular diseases. Students undergo more in-depth training than medical assistants. They must learn and specialize in echocardiography and vascular and cardiology technology to understand heart diseases, including their diagnosis and treatment.
They are also responsible for preparing patients for cardiac procedures like balloon angioplasties, catheterizations, and even open-heart surgeries.
Data from the BLS show that demand for cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to reach 14% within the next decade.
- Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists will also be in demand in the next 10 years, with projected job growth of 17%. Those interested in becoming an occupational therapist can find a wide variety of opportunities to specialize. They can choose to work with pediatric patients who have learning disabilities or geriatric patients in nursing homes. They can also work with other professionals by educating and training them on the proper usage of ergonomics, assisting in making homes more accessible, and other general practices to promote health and wellness.
- Dental Hygienists
Dental professionals such as dental hygienists are also part of this allied health career group. They help oral health professionals promote dental care. They are licensed individuals responsible for assessing a patient’s overall oral health. Their roles also include performing clinical procedures, educating patients about oral hygiene and preventive oral care, and evaluating oral health outcomes.
Demand for dental hygienists within the next decade is expected to hit 11%.
- Respiratory Therapists
Demand for respiratory therapists surged amid the pandemic. This highlighted allied health professionals’ importance in the industry. Career opportunities will continue to remain favorable, with projected growth of 23% from 2020 to 2030.
Respiratory therapists are the specialists who help patients suffering from chronic respiratory ailments like bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema. They also work with patients who have sleep disorders and a history of heart attacks. Respiratory therapists also support geriatric patients, who have higher incidences of respiratory conditions like pneumonia and chronic bronchitis.
- Athletic Trainers
Sports medicine is an increasingly popular subspecialty that requires the help of athletic trainers. These professionals work with active individuals and athletes in preventing injury and illness. They can examine, diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate acute and chronic conditions.
With an increasing focus on health and wellness through fitness, athletic trainers have good job prospects. According to the BLS, demand for athletic trainers is estimated to be 23% over the next 10 years.
- Surgical Technologists
Another allied health career that remains in demand is surgical technology. Professionals trained to become surgical technologists are part of operating room teams, together with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and surgical nurses.
The first of the team to scrub in, these specialists handle the preparation of the operating room before the surgery. Their responsibilities include setting up the sterile surgical instruments, supplies, and equipment as part of ensuring a smooth operation.
These top allied health careers are great opportunities for individuals to enter the healthcare sector. The first step for success is to complete the recommended education and training to qualify for certification.
To learn more about earning a diploma in one of these healthcare careers, check out our programs page.
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