There is never going to be any shortage of jobs in the healthcare industry. Healthcare, of course, is something that is always needed and so there will always be demand. However, despite this constant demand and availability of jobs (just take a look on one of the healthcare jobs boards to appreciate the number of available vacancies at any one time) many are put off by the reputation of healthcare as only the domain of seriously well-educated professionals working in highly complex and stress-filled roles. This is something of a misconception. For sure, healthcare is no walk in the park and very often is quite literally a matter of life and death, but the number of roles available is simply too big for it to be so exclusive.
Beyond the Big Four
Yes, if you want to become a doctor or a surgeon, it is necessary to attend medical school and study for many years (often at quite considerable expense). Even becoming a registered nurse is no walk in the park and will involve a significant degree of time and commitment. However, when we talk about such jobs, we are actually only referring to what is commonly known in healthcare as the “big four”. The moniker refers to the following clinical positions:
- Medical doctor (including highly specialized roles such as surgeons)
- Registered nurse
As you will no doubt be aware, these are the jobs that take time, grades, commitment, and money. But an effective healthcare system relies on a lot more than just these roles.
What is Allied Health?
Allied health accounts for pretty much all positions besides the aforementioned roles. As you might expect then, it is a pretty large umbrella term that can be broken down into several different areas. There is no standard way of breaking down allied health positions into categories. Nevertheless, the following categories are commonly cited:
Primary care refers to jobs related to providing day-to-day care alongside doctors in the myriad medical institutions in which they work. Primary care roles are all about assisting doctors and other health professionals.
Diagnostic and Lab Work
These are the allied health jobs that do not involve direct contact with patients and are instead devoted to analyzing medical samples in order to provide doctors with medical information about patients. Included in this category are lab technicians who assist in research and phlebotomy technicians analyzing blood samples, to give but two examples.
This category is very broad and refers to all the work in medical institutions which is related to efficient running of said institutions or, in the case of private healthcare, the business side of the enterprise. These jobs are not technically medical work, but no medical institutions could exist without them.
Is Allied Health Right for Me?
To tell whether allied health is right for you or not, the best way to proceed is visit a health jobs board, such as that offered by Health Jobs Nationwide, and appraise the broad range of jobs on offer. You will soon discover that many of these can be attained in manageable ways, such as courses of study that do not take too long and are not too expensive.
However, this does not mean these jobs will be easy to get. Like any other vital role in society, you will need to have the calling to help people and the commitment to do the job to the best of your ability. Healthcare is certainly not an area of employment where lack of commitment is tolerated – the stakes are just too high.