Allied health careers involve providing health care services that involve a number of allied health care professions. These are professional healthcare professionals who provide clinical, technical, and medical assistance to healthcare professionals and patients alike. Allied health professionals can include doctors, nurses, dental hygienists, pharmacy technicians, physical therapist assistants, paramedics, chiropractors, licensed practical nurses (LPN), registered nurses (RN), psychotherapists, and social workers. There are a wide variety of careers in the allied health professions. These careers are available in virtually every region of the nation.
One of the most popular of the allied health professions is clinical externship. This is where an individual works in the healthcare industry in order to gain experience and practice in a particular area. Most schools that offer courses in this discipline will require that students complete a clinical externship. The clinical externship program usually requires students to complete either a two-credit or four-credit hour program and will be administered by either an accredited university or hospital and students will need to meet minimum educational requirements.
Another popular course of study for allied health care professionals is to become a certified nursing assistant. A CNA is a direct patient care provider in a health care facility. CNA’s help patients in a number of ways including but not limited to providing routine administration and assistance to patients. A majority of CNA’s will also assist physicians during surgical procedures. Becoming certified as a nursing assistant will require the student to complete either a two-credit or four-credit hour course and will be administered by either an accredited university or hospital.
Another popular course of training for medical professionals within the allied health care field is a one or two year certificate program at a community college. These programs are great for those who are just starting out in the field or want to earn an Associate’s degree. This program will typically focus on medical topics, anatomy, physiology and basic business skills. One or two-year certificate programs can be completed at a community college and are usually held on a part time basis. Students can expect to complete the course in a one or two year time period. Certificate programs will prepare students for a career as a certified nurse assistant, pharmacy technician, medical assistant, home health care worker or medical receptionist in a health care facility.
Medical assistants serve a variety of roles inside a health care facility. They assist doctors and nurses with patients who are receiving medical care. Certified medical assistants are responsible for communicating with patients, conducting medical procedures and collecting medical records. Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in the allied health care field should consider these courses as they will provide a solid foundation in the medical field.
Other allied health care professionals work behind the scenes. Home health care workers, nursing aids, physical therapist and occupational therapist all fall into this category. These individuals often perform one or more specific tasks in the care of patients. The roles that these care professionals play may range from assisting patients with their daily routines to helping physically disabled individuals or mentally challenged individuals regain their independence.
The allied health training courses that can be taken by students will vary in length. Some will be designed to give students hands-on experience while others may not require this. For students who plan to pursue a career in one of the many allied health professions, it is important to understand the education and training required for the career path you are aiming for. Choosing the right program will help you to obtain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the career of your choice.
For those already employed in the allied health field, gaining a certification shows employers that you have the knowledge necessary to advance within your position. Having this knowledge, employers are willing to provide more hours for you if you are willing to accept extra responsibility. For those with no health care training, or little training to begin with, it is important to start with basic level coursework. This will allow you to learn the skills necessary to efficiently care for the aging population you are in charge of serving. Allied health training can lead to a number of career opportunities. With so many options available to choose from, there is no reason why you shouldn’t pursue one of these career paths today.