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Careers in Allied Health Care

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According to an article on the Web site of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, "The term 'allied health' is used to identify a cluster of health professions and covers as many as 100 occupational titles, exclusive of physicians, nurses, and a handful of others." Allied Healthcare jobs include cardiovascular technologists and technicians, dental hygienists, diagnostic medical sonographers, opticians, and radiologic technologists and technicians. This article also states that about two million people are employed as allied health professionals in the United States. Certain market trends, including a decrease in primary care physicians and cost control in the health care industry, are making this a good field to enter.

As with making any career choice, it is important that you get all the facts, including descriptions of the occupations in which you are interested, educational requirements, job opportunities, and salary levels. It is also a good idea to talk to people already working in these jobs. Here are some Internet resources to help you begin your research:

About.com Health Careers
Profiles of various health care careers, salary information, job search resources and professional resources from Andrea Santiago, the About.com Guide to Health Careers.

Allied Health Professions
From the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, brief descriptions of some occupations, including information about accreditation, career descriptions, and certification information.

Occupational Outlook Handbook
Choose “Professional and Related Occupations.” Occupations that fall into Allied Health are listed under “Health Technologists and Technicians.”

Education

Before you begin your professional training you should investigate the institution you plan to attend. The importance of attending an accredited program is paramount. Many employers will only hire those who received their education from a program that has a specific accreditation. For more information on educational programs, please visit the following sites:

The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
This accrediting agency is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions
This not-for-profit professional association's members include administrators, educators, and others who are concerned with issues that affect allied health education.

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
According to their own site, this non-profit agency is "the largest programmatic accreditor in the health sciences field ... CAAHEP reviews and accredits more than 2000 educational programs in nineteen (19) health science occupations."

Job Opportunities

It's a good idea to investigate the availability of jobs before you decide to enter any field. You will be investing a considerable amount of time and money in anticipation of getting a good position upon completion of your training. The following resources list jobs in the health care field.

Health Care Jobs
From the About Guide to Job Searching.

Additional Resources

allhealthcare from Monster.com
Manage your health care career.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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