Careers in Allied Health Care

A female at a dentist appointment
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According to Allied Health, its professionals deliver "health or related services pertaining to the identification, evaluation, and prevention of diseases and disorders; dietary and nutrition services; and rehabilitation and health systems management, among others.” Allied Health encompasses most health-related occupations, but not medical ones such as physician or nurse. It even includes health care administrators and health systems managers.

10 Popular Allied Health Care Jobs

The employment outlook for health care jobs is positive, with many job opportunities expected to be available throughout the next few years.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment in the healthcare industry will grow much faster than the average for all occupations. The federal agency expects employment growth to continue at 18% through 2026. This will result in 2.4 million new jobs in healthcare, including allied health care.

These 10 allied health care careers have excellent job outlooks and good salaries:

  1. Physician assistants (PAs) provide primary medical care, which includes performing examinations, ordering medical tests, and diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries. A master's degree from a PA training program is required to work in this occupation. (Bureau of Labor Statistics Physician Assistants. Occupational Outlook Handbook.)

    • Median Annual Salary (2018): $108,610
    • Number of People Employed (2016): 106,200
    • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 37%
    • Annual Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 39,600
  2. Physical therapists (PTs) use a variety of techniques to help individuals recover from injuries and illnesses. They provide pain relief and restore patients' mobility. To work in this occupation, earn a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree. (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Physical Therapists. Occupational Outlook Handbook.)

    • Median Annual Salary (2018): $87,930
    • Number of People Employed (2016): 239,800
    • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 28%
    • Annual Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 67,100
  3. Physical therapist assistants, working under a PTs' supervision, help manage patients' pain and restore their mobility. They must earn an associate degree from an accredited physical therapy assistant program. (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Physical Therapist Assistants. Occupational Outlook Handbook.)

    • Median Annual Salary (2018): $58,040
    • Number of People Employed (2016): 88,300
    • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 31%
    • Annual Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 27,400
  4. A medical assistant performs administrative tasks and some clinical tasks in a doctor's or other medical professional's office. Formal training isn't required, but some employers prefer to hire job candidates who have completed a one- or two-year post-secondary training program from a community college or vocational school. (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Medical Assistants. Occupational Outlook Handbook.)

    • Median Annual Salary (2018): $33,610
    • Number of People Employed (2016): 634,400
    • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 29%
    • Annual Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 183,900
  5. Occupational therapist assistants (OTAs) help patients recover or maintain skills of daily living, as specified in occupational therapists' treatment plans. To work in this field, you must earn an associate degree from an accredited training program. (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Therapist Assistants. Occupational Outlook Handbook.)

    • Median Annual Salary (2018): $60,220
    • Number of People Employed (2016): 39,300
    • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 29%
    • Annual Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 11,400
  6. Occupational therapists (OTs) develop treatment plans to help patients recover the skills needed to perform tasks of daily living. A master's degree in occupational therapy is the minimum requirement to work in this occupation. Some OTs have a doctoral degree. (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Marketing Managers. Occupational Outlook Handbook.)

    • Median Annual Salary (2018): $84,270
    • Number of People Employed (2016): 130,400
    • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 24%
    • Annual Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 31,000
  7. Ultrasound technicians, also called diagnostic medical sonographers, use special equipment to record images of patients' internal organs. Those with experience working in other healthcare occupations can prepare for working in this field by earning a one-year certificate in medical sonography. If you don't have this background, earn either an associate or bachelor's degree. (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ultrasound Technicians. Occupational Outlook Handbook.)

    • Median Annual Salary (2018): $72,510
    • Number of People Employed (2016): 67,300
    • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 23%
    • Annual Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 15,600
  8. Athletic trainers treat injuries to muscles and bones and teach people how to prevent them. Most people working in this field have a master's degree, but a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement. (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Athletic Trainers. Occupational Outlook Handbook.)

    • Median Annual Salary (2018): $47,510
    • Number of People Employed (2016): 27,800
    • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 23%
    • Annual Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 6,300
  9. An audiologist diagnoses hearing and balance disorders and then treats them. A Doctor of Audiology degree (Au.D.) is required to work in this occupation. (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Audiologists. Occupational Outlook Handbook.)

    • Median Annual Salary (2018): $75,920
    • Number of People Employed (2016): 14,800
    • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 21%
    • Annual Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 3,100

Working under a dentist's supervision, a dental hygienist cleans patients' teeth and examines their mouths for signs of disease and damage. They also teach people how to care for their teeth and gums. Earn at least an associate degree in dental hygiene to work in this occupation. (Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dental Hygienists. Occupational Outlook Handbook.)

  • Median Annual Salary (2018): $74,820
  • Number of People Employed (2016): 207,900
  • Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 20%
  • Annual Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 40,900

Soft Skills Needed for the Allied Health Care Field

Most jobs in allied health pay well, and many have an excellent employment outlook, but you will need certain soft skills to work in this field. Dealing with patients when they are sick or in pain requires a great deal of compassion. Excellent interpersonal skills are also needed, as are superb listening and speaking skills. You must also be an effective problem solver with superior critical thinking skills.