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Pursuing a Career in Allied Health


A group of professions related to health including about 200 careers is referred to as ‘allied health’. Regarded as an expert in their respective field, an allied health professional may be directly or indirectly involved with patient health. While some work as a team of healthcare professionals assessing and evaluating patient needs, some practice independently. They also have a significant role in assisting the attending clinician in informing them about the patient’s progress and the way they are responding to the respective treatment.


Allied health professions include assisting and technical work performed in healthcare industry and hence require 2-year degrees, while some pursue further degrees such as a bachelor’s or master’s to have a better scope of earning and a better role in their field.

Eligibility Requirements:

Although there are varying eligibility requirements for an AHP, there are couple of vital support roles for which there is absolutely no need for specific academic qualifications, since they have an option of carrying out their own work and caseloads as independent professionals. For instance, they might directly work with their patient in order to work towards developing interactive therapies to help them recover faster.

Career Options:

Some of the career options for an allied health professional include surgical assisting, medical assisting, cardiovascular technology, blood banking, exercise physiology, kinesiotherapy, medical illustration, exercise physiology and surgical technology. Following are two most popular allied health careers that are currently most happening in the U.S. as well as their requirements.

Medical Assistant

Role – Perform administrative and clinical tasks in a hospital, doctor’s office or any other healthcare center. Their role includes preparing laboratories, scheduling appointments and performing basic tests under a licensed physician’s supervision.

Academic Requirements – Diploma or Associate’s degree in medical assisting, based on state requirements. These programs include study material related to anatomy, physiology, medical terminology and record keeping. They also include vocational internships and may not necessarily require certification, while employers prefer voluntary certification.

Salary – A 29% employment growth rate was predicted by U.S. from 2012-2022 for medical assistants, a rate that is relatively faster when compared to other U.S. occupations. The average annual salary for a medical assistant as of May 2013 is $29,610.

Cardiovascular Technician

Role – Work mostly on the clinical side of healthcare while being constantly supervised by cardiologists. They might also work in vascular technology, noninvasive technology and echocardiography.

Academic Requirements – A 2-year program at a vocational school or junior college is required. BLS also states that there are 4-year programs available for this profession which fetch increased responsibility and pay package. It is mandatory for students, however, to have an understanding about surgery and cardiovascular equipment, apart from a strong foundation on the subject of biology.

Salary – Technicians possessing professional certification are given greater preference by employers as it necessary for insurance related purposes. According to the prediction of BLS, a 30% increase is expected in the number of jobs over 2012-2022, while the average salary as per May 2013 is $53,210.

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