Healthcare is one of America’s fastest-growing industies, according to federal statistics, and some of the occupations expected to grow the fastest are in the area of allied health.
Allied health includes a wide range of careers outside of nursing, dentistry and medicine, many of which are expected to experience the same rapid growth as the overall healthcare industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those include occupations such as pharmacy technician, medical assistant and healthcare administration.
Those who want to work in allied health can do so whether they hold an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree. Below, prospective students can see what types of careers they can find with each type of college credential. Degree seekers should keep in mind, however, that many of the careers listed below also require licensure, depending on the state and job title.
People who earn a two-year associate’s degree have the option of landing a wide variety of careers in allied health. For instance, the BLS reports that individuals with an associate’s degree may be qualified to become medical assistants, health information technicians, respiratory therapists, nuclear medicine technologists, diagnostic medical sonographers and surgical technologists. Typically, students earn degrees in each of these specialized fields; however, it is also possible to earn a general associate’s degree in allied health along with a certificate in a more specific subject.
Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in an allied health-related subject tend to find more career options than associate’s degree holders. Additionally, they are typically given more responsibilities in their positions. With a bachelor’s degree, individuals can land jobs as athletic trainers, chiropractors, social workers or nutritionists.
Additionally, a bachelor’s degree can help employees advance in the positions they earned with an associate’s degree, potentially raising their salary and giving them more professional responsibilities.
Many allied health professionals eventually further their education and earn either a master’s degree or a doctorate degree in a specialized subject. With a master’s degree, individuals may become audiologists, psychologists, occupational therapists, healthcare administrators or speech-language pathologists. A doctorate degree, on the other hand, can help students become biomedical scientists, optometrists, physical therapists or pharmacists.