There is a group of unsung heroes in the healthcare industry. This is a group beyond doctors and nurses. These people work on the front lines and care for patients every day.
This superhero group of healthcare workers is called allied health. Every aspiring healthcare worker should look into it.
To learn more about allied healthcare and its most lucrative positions, we've lined up our top 11 allied health jobs.
Occupational therapists assist their patients in learning how to carry out everyday activities, or occupations. These activities include getting dressed, eating, taking a shower, and even tying shoes.
Occupational therapists are well-known for working with children with disabilities. However, these professionals work with all sorts of people at different stages in life. Their practice does include helping aging seniors, especially those affected by brain disorders like Parkinson's disease.
These professionals have a great ability to become close with their patients as they follow them for a long period of time. Learning how to care for yourself can take years for some patients. Their occupational therapist will need to stick with them over this amount of time and track their progress accordingly.
Because they have patients of different ages and see those patients over long periods of time, occupational therapists are experts in human development. This means that they are attuned to the needs of all people, no matter the age or ability.
Occupational therapists make an average of $75,816 per year. This number makes this one of the top-paying allied health careers.
MRI technologists are medical technicians who specialize in magnetic resonance imaging. They typically work for hospitals and help their patients complete their MRIs.
MRIs are huge machines that can be scary for most patients and nearly impossible for young or claustrophobic patients. MRI technologists are not new to the anxieties that come with getting this sort of imaging done. They are experts at good bedside manner.
These professionals explain the process, prep the patient, operate the equipment, and record the images. You should keep in mind that MRI technologists are not the ones to interpret these images or diagnosed the patients.
However, MRI technologists are very important. They are not trained to read films, but they are trained to operate heavy equipment that others are not able to control.
MRI technologists take these pictures and send them to a radiologist or practicing physician. They interpret and diagnose based on those films. MRI technologists make an average of $63,777 per year.
Dental hygienists assist dentists in meeting the oral health needs of their patients. Their expected duties differ depending on what state they work in. Their duties include performing oral x-rays, screening procedures, cleaning practices, and teaching methods.
Dental hygienists may be the first one to touch your teeth at your dental appointment. These assistants are known for keeping up with their patients' routine cleanings. Because of this, you may see them more often than you see your own dentist.
These professionals make $62,027 per year on average. However, their salary may fluctuate depending on what your state allows you to do as a dental hygienist. Your job duties may differ at different offices as well.
These healthcare workers help patients who have some sort of physical impairment of their legs and arms. They fit these patients for artificial limbs and orthopedic braces as needed.
The difference in salary is not much, but it can be accounted for simply due to the different processes of both professionals. Orthotists make braces for patients who need help with physical mobility. Prosthetists make new limbs for those who have lost theirs.
Both of these professions work closely with orthopedic doctors. Together, they help patients who have trouble walking whether this is because of a physical impairment or the complete loss of a limb. Orthotists and Prosthetists may work specifically with one orthopedic group or they may work with multiple.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers use specialized medical equipment to take photos of their patients. Sonography is often associated with pregnant patients, but they use sonography for other patients.
Sonographers make $57,278 per year on average, and they're a very common profession especially in hospitals. Big medical facilities need several Sonographers to keep up with the demand. Small facilities may not need as many.
Medical Sonographers that work for smaller medical facilities may only complete scan on demand. They could be on-call or only come in during certain days. Keep in mind that the average salary may also fluctuate depending on what kind of facility you work in.
Keep in mind that these medical professionals do not interpret the images that they take. These images are sent to a radiologist or practicing physician to interpret and diagnose the patient accordingly.
If you're interested in becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, you may want to work for the most technically-savvy hospitals. These facilities could teach you more over time.
Respiratory Therapists are trained in caring for respiratory patients. The patient may have an acute or a chronic respiratory condition. This includes conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Respiratory Therapists help people breathe. This is one of the most important jobs in the healthcare industry.
They are commonly employed in emergency rooms and other hospital settings. They administer breathing treatments and other respiratory treatments. They also educate patients about using nebulizers, inhalers, and oxygen machines at home.
Respiratory Therapists can specialize in the pulmonary system of different ages. This includes pediatric respiratory therapy, adult respiratory therapy, and geriatric respiratory therapy. Some respiratory therapists even specialize in certain units within the hospital they work in. For example, they may work in cardiology instead of pulmonary.
They make an average of $49,395 per year. Many health professionals consider them one of the most underappreciated health professions.
These professionals work with their patients to make a personalized nutrition plan. If the patient needs help with nutrition or food in any way, a Dietician or Nutritionist is the one to call.
These professionals are commonly hired by people who have trouble with gaining or losing weight. These patients have trouble controlling their weight because of their medical condition(s).
For example, patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome often hire Nutritionists and Dieticians. These patients need help navigating their condition. The majority of these patients have trouble losing weight due to excess androgens in their bodies. Nutritionists and dieticians work with these patients to optimize their diets. They make a diet that works well with the endocrine system.
Dieticians and Nutritionists may also be hired to help patients who cannot control their blood sugar or have a food allergy. They may need to avoid certain foods or they may find that they are averse to certain foods.
These Allied Healthcare Professionals may work for large hospitals or smaller medical facilities. They are also popularly hired for individuals or families with nutritional issues. Because of their versatility, there are many working environment possibilities.
Dieticians make $51,291 per year on average just like Nutritionists.
Surgical technologists are for the members of allied health who want a more exciting position in the medical team. These allied health professionals work in the operating room with the surgical team.
Surgical technologists are the ones who prep the operating room before any surgical procedure takes place. They ensure that all of the equipment is sterile and remains that way to ensure the safety of the patient and the entire surgical team.
They then assist the surgeon during the surgery. They get to experience the operation from beginning to end as the first assistant to the surgeon.
Surgical technologists double-check the surgeons. They ensure that the sterile environment is maintained. They also make sure that all tools are accounted for.
You may be most interested in the surgical process itself. During the actual surgery, surgical technologists assist in passing tools to the surgeon and may be asked to hold organs in place. They also help with setting up and working with any technologies that are used during the surgery, such as robotic surgical equipment.
Surgical technologists make $39, 712 per year on average. However, surgical technologists who work in cities may make more simply because there is more demand for them there. More patients mean more surgeries, which means an increased need for surgical technologists.
This is not a repeat healthcare career. As opposed to popular belief, dental assistants are different from dental hygienists.
Dental assistants are one of the most varied healthcare positions out there, and you will find one in every dental office.
They assist during procedures by helping patients feel relaxed and comfortable. They also prep operating rooms and protect against infection. During procedures, dental assistants keep the patient's mouth suctioned and all of the equipment sterile.
Dental assistants also make models of the patients' mouths and teach them proper oral health practices. These professionals also may be found behind your dentist's front desk where they make appointments and communicate with patients.
Dental assistants make $37,727 per year on average. However, this number may vary depending on what procedures and other duties your state legally allows you to do.
Laboratory Technicians can work in a variety of fields. One of the most lucrative places that they can work at is a hospital or other medical setting.
These healthcare workers are most popularly known for working for research companies. Many of them work in developing and producing pharmaceuticals. However, they also work in medical facilities. In those facilities, they run lab tests and other studies on patients. They are the ones who conduct cultures and even patient studies.
Laboratory Technicians prepare samples and are held responsible for delivering correct results about those samples. Medical providers cannot correctly diagnose or treat a patient unless laboratory technicians report correct laboratory data.
Laboratory Technicians make an average of $34,769 per year. Just like many of the other jobs on this list, your salary as a laboratory technician may depend on where you choose to practice the profession.
Like the other professions on this list, there is more demand in cities. Higher demand usually indicated a higher salary. However, this may depend on what kind of medical facility you work for.
Health information technicians, also known as medical record technicians, manage health information that is collected by all of the hospital workers. This includes sensitive information that is protected under HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Basically, these allied health professionals are responsible for keeping all of the patient information safe while also ensuring that the information is kept appropriately.
Health information technicians ensure that all of the patient data is being entered and recorded accurately and efficiently. They also go one step further and make sure that the patient has had a good outcome from the services and/or treatments received at their medical facility.
After going through all of those potential allied health careers, we're sure something has piqued your interest. Whether it was the most lucrative career or simply the most appealing, we're sure that you're ready to get down to work on getting into this field yourself.
As we said before, healthcare is an amazing field full of heroes. If you're ready to join them, feel free to view our list of available jobs. We wish you luck on your educational and professional journey with these allied health jobs.