Fastest Growing Occupations in the Allied Health Field

Are you searching for a potential career in allied health? Below you will find information on a few allied health professions that are expected to grow by at least 30 percent nationally through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics.

Chart that shows the percent of potential change in openings in allied health careers.

  • Diagnostic medical sonographers are responsible for preparing patients, taking their medical history, and answering any questions they have about the procedure. They also operate the imaging equipment and analyze the images produced to make sure they are of optimal quality. You may be able to qualify for entry-level positions by earning an associate degree. Bls.gov reported that the national annual mean wage for this career was $66,360 in 2012.

  • Occupational therapy assistants show patients how to use personal medical devices, record a patient's progress in their therapy, and help people with their activities during therapy. Bls.gov states that an associate degree is the minimal requirement for applying for this position. The national mean annual wage was reported as $48,160.

  • Physical therapist assistants help with therapy exercises, report progress to the primary therapist, and create patient plans for what to do after treatment. Bls.gov states that you should have an associate degree in order to apply for this position. The national mean annual wage for physical therapist assistants is $41,260.

  • Physical therapist aides clean and sanitize treatment areas, prepare equipment, and perform clerical tasks. Like physical therapist assistants, this position requires at least an associate degree to apply. Bls.gov reports that the annual mean wage nationally is $25,410.

  • Physician assistants order and interpret X-rays, blood tests, and other diagnostic tests. They can also perform examinations, make preliminary diagnoses, provide treatments, and prescribe medicine. Bls.gov states that a master's degree is the minimal education requirement in order to apply for this career. The mean annual wage for physician assistants is $92,460 nationally.

  • Physical therapists monitor the gait and standing posture of a person in order to offer a diagnosis. They may also help lessen or alleviate a person's pain through stretching, exercises, or specialized equipment. A doctoral degree is commonly required to qualify for this position. Bls.gov reports that the national mean annual wage for this job is $81,110.

  • Nurse practitioners are registered nurses (RN) who also provide primary care services for individuals or families. They have all the regular responsibilities of an RN, including administering medication and treatments, operating medical equipment, and recording their observations of patients. According to bls.gov, the annual mean wage for this position is $91,450 nationally.

  • Dental hygienists teach patients how to brush and floss correctly. They are also responsible for taking dental X-rays and handling treatment plans. An associate degree is the minimal requirement to apply for this position. The annual mean wage for dental hygienists, according to bls.gov, is $70,700 nationally.

  • Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors evaluate an individual, assess their readiness for treatment, and develop treatment plans based on the individual's needs. Bls.gov reports that there are different levels of educational requirements for this job. Some roles may only ask that you have a high school degree. If you want to have a private practice you typically are required to hold at least a master's degree and have to pass a state-issued exam. You may also need to apply for a license.

Sources:

Fastest growing occupations, 2012 and projected 2022, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_103.htm

Dental Hygienists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm#tab-1

Occupational Therapy Assistants, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm

Physician Assistants, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Physician-assistants.htm#tab-1

Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm#tab-1

Physical Therapists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm#tab-1

Registered Nurses, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Registered-nurses.htm

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm

2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013,

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm

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