Things to Know to Start as an Allied Health Professional - MedCerts

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Have a passion for healthcare but not necessarily interested in the blood and guts of it all? A career in allied health might be the right call for you. Allied healthcare careers often support patients, along with doctors and nurses, through identifying, evaluating, and working to prevent diseases and disorders, as well as assisting with rehabilitation and health management systems.

Roughly 60% of healthcare workers qualify as allied health workers, which means you’re in the majority when you join this field. What’s more, allied health has been growing significantly since 2020. Looking for a career in allied health? Here’s what you should know.

Traits You Should Have as An Allied Health Professional

A career in allied health may not be for everyone. It takes certain skills and personality traits to succeed in this field. However, if you’re committed to this path, these are skills you can hone as you train for your new career. These skills include:

1. High Emotional Intelligence

You need to understand what patients are likely to feel when dealing with certain symptoms and recoveries. A 2016 study from the University of Wisconsin showed that “academic grades and cognitive ability alone will not identify long-term success in the workforce, emotional intelligence assessments are recommended to gain a better perspective of the student’s emotional abilities.”

2. Conflict Management and Resolution

Medical situations can be stressful, and sometimes, doctors and nurses may come across as abrasive under high tension. It’s important for allied health professionals to have thick skin and be able to navigate conflict. The better a medical team works together, the higher the quality of care the patient will receive.

3. Empathy

Healthcare is all about people. Allied health is no exception. Even though many allied health positions are not patient-facing, it’s still important to have empathy for the patients and your teammates. Understand that the patient’s feelings and experiences can impact how they react to care and take that into account.

4. Discernment/Discretion

Allied health professionals often use scientific observations and evidence-based processes to diagnose and evaluate diseases and disorders. A poor diagnosis can severely impact the well-being of a patient. That’s why it’s important to have discretion and discernment to make careful decisions.

5. Physical Strength

There are long hours of standing when you work as an allied health professional. You may have to operate heavy medical or scientific equipment. It’s helpful to be in shape and have a good deal of physical strength when taking a job in this field.

6. Social Skills

Allied health is often a team effort. You will be working with doctors, nurses, and other allied health professionals. Even if your position is not patient-facing, social skills are something you should excel in, to work in the field of allied health.

What To Expect From Allied Health Administrative Careers

Interested in a career in allied health? First, you’ll need to look into different career paths and find the choice that’s right for you. Some careers in allied health include:

  • Athletic training and physical therapy

  • Audiology

  • Dental hygiene

  • Diagnostic sonography

  • Dietetics

  • Health administration

  • Health information management

  • Medical technology

  • Occupational therapy

  • Rehabilitation counseling

  • Speech therapy

Consider which career best speaks to your skills and interests so that you can begin to pursue it.

It’s also important to prepare yourself for periods of burnout. Healthcare shortages are frequent, especially in the post-pandemic world in which we live. It can be easy to feel overburdened with tasks. Look at the bigger picture so you can anticipate times of healthcare shortage. Protect yourself from burnout by seeking support from the community, as well as practicing self-care outside of work.

Get the Training You Need To Be an Allied Health Professional With MedCerts

The world needs allied health professionals as much as it needs doctors and nurses. In this vastly growing field, there are a number of ways to find the right career for you. If you have a heart for healthcare, enjoy working in a team, and know how to cope with long hours and mitigate burnout, allied health may be the right industry for you.

Portrait of Jessica Thomas, MPH
Subject Matter Expert – Allied Health

Jessica Thomas’ career expertise spans health education and communication, aging studies, quality improvement, and program development. In 2019, she assisted in the development of MedCerts Professionalism in Allied Health course.

Jessica holds degrees in Health Administration and Public Health Informatics. She has worked in various roles in the healthcare field and has written on healthcare-related topics since 2015. Jessica currently owns and operates a Virtual Assistant Agency, helping entrepreneurs successfully outsource various time-consuming tasks. In addition, she works with health and wellness brands as a content writer, producing search-engine-optimized blog posts and website copy.

When not indulging in a good book, Jessica is spending time with family, collecting Bath & Body Works Candles, or planning a vacation.

Published on December 20, 2022


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