How Can I Become an Allied Health Professional?

With that kind of opportunities presented in today’s economy, now is a great time to begin seeking a career as an allied health professional. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the health care profession is projected to grow by at least 22% over the next 10 years. That is a rate that is faster than average and one that should look pretty welcoming to individuals seeking to enter the medical profession. With positions ranging from x-ray technicians to medical billers and coders, allied health careers abound; however, it does take some work to prepare for and begin a position in this field.

Entry Level Education

Prior to advancing into a career education program, an individual seeking to enter an allied health degree must complete an entry level education program. The specificity of this requirement may vary, but the general requirement is a minimum of at least a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. Attaining such a level of education qualifies an individual to begin a more specific program.

Specific Degree Program

After submitting an entry level qualification, an individual can then begin the actual path toward achieving status as an allied health professional. At this point, one must begin a specific degree program, typically an associate’s degree that takes 2 years to complete, to obtain further certification. Unlike many other health professions, an allied health occupation does not require years of extensive training, making it a much more achievable occupation.

Most allied health professional programs can be completed through a vocational or technical school or a community college. These programs typically offer students flexible scheduling, making it possible to complete degree preparation while maintaining another job.

Specific coursework will vary depending on the actual program selected, but most degrees require completion of a variety of math and science courses. Likewise, programs will include specialized training courses to prepare individuals for their intended field of service. While the allied health professional path is not quite as arduous as a doctorate program or the like, most programs still require students to maintain specific GPA and performance standards.

Registration and Certification

Upon completing one’s coursework as an allied health professional, most students will then have to proceed through a registration or certification process. Typically, the educational program in which an individual is enrolled will facilitate this process, but being aware of it at the onset of the program is important. Such certification often requires a qualification exam or other form of assessment, which can be time consuming and sometimes costly. For example, x-ray technicians must pass a licensing exam in most states or be certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). This allied health overview offers more information regarding specific career requirements.

Careers in the allied health professional field range anywhere from counseling to dental hygiene and everything in between. With the advancement of health care and the vast increase in the job outlook, it is certainly worth looking into attaining a degree in the profession. Being that all that is required to enter the allied healthcare field is completion of an entry level GED equivalent followed by the pursuit of an associate’s degree in an allied healthcare service, now is the time to consider a career change.