Keeping people healthy takes a lot more than doctors and nurses. Indeed, there are many other professions that use health science to help people live healthier, happier, fuller lives. These professionals work in what is known as allied health, and they’re a vital part of our healthcare system.
What Is Allied Health?
According to the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, the field of allied health includes all non-doctor, non-nursing “health professionals who use scientific principles and evidence-based practice for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of acute and chronic diseases; promote disease prevention and wellness for optimum health and apply administration and management skills to support healthcare systems in a variety of settings.”* In short, allied health professionals are all of the non-doctor, non-nurse healthcare providers, diagnosticians, health educators, and health support staff. They typically work collaboratively with physicians, nurses, dentists, and/or pharmacists to treat and/or prevent health problems.
What Occupations Are Part of Allied Health?
Allied health professions include:
- Cardiovascular technicians
- Dental hygienists
- Exercise physiologists
- Health educators
- Health information technicians
- Home health aides
- Massage therapists
- Medical assistants
- Medical laboratory technicians
- MRI technologists
- Neurodiagnostic technologists
- Occupational therapists
- Pharmacy technicians
- Physical therapists
- Radiation therapists
- Respiratory therapists
- Speech language pathologists
- Surgical technologists
What Are the Benefits of Working in Allied Health?
One of the top benefits of working in allied health is that you’ll be working in a booming field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 18% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs.”† Currently, 60% of all healthcare jobs are in allied health,* meaning the increase in overall healthcare jobs is certain to include many allied health occupations. Additionally, working in allied health gives you the opportunity to help people every day, making allied health professions rewarding in a way many other career paths aren’t.
How Can You Start or Advance an Allied Health Career?
Most allied health professions require specific training and/or certification for the job at hand. However, there is one way to gain important knowledge and expertise that’s beneficial to any allied health profession: Earn a BS in Health Studies.
A bachelor of health studies is a smart choice for anyone looking to start or advance a career in allied health because it can broaden your understanding of the policies, organization, financing, and dynamics of the U.S. healthcare system and help you gain the knowledge you need to understand and anticipate the continuing changes in the healthcare industry. Those who earn a bachelor’s in health studies learn how to:
- Apply multidisciplinary approaches to the study of illness, disease, and injury
- Assess and develop relevant solutions related to the impact of aging on health and healthcare delivery
- Use information technology to support clinical and managerial decision-making in healthcare
- Analyze legal and ethical issues related to healthcare delivery and clinical research
- Assess the context and quality of healthcare delivery within and outside of the United States
- Analyze key behavioral and cultural factors that impact health and healthcare
These skills, and the others you can gain through a health studies program, can put you a step ahead in your allied health career, whether you work in treatment, diagnostics, community health, health informatics, or health education. Best of all, thanks to online education, you can earn your bachelor’s degree without having to put your current job on hold. That’s because online learning lets you complete your coursework from home and on a flexible schedule designed for the needs of working adults like you.
Allied health is an essential part of our healthcare system. When you earn a BS in Health Studies from an online university, you can put yourself in position to be an allied health leader.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a BS in Health Studies degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
*Association of Schools of Allied Health Professionals, What Is Allied Health?, on the internet at www.asahp.org/what-is.
†Bureau of Labor Statistics, Healthcare Occupations, Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, on the internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.