Alternative Health Care Professions

January 9, 2015

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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If you know for sure that you would like to work in the health care field but you are not very keen on becoming a medical doctor, there are several alternative health care professions you can consider.  Here are a few alternatives you could explore:

Gap Medics students ready for surgery! Physician Assistant

As a physician assistant you practice medicine under the direction and supervision of physicians and surgeons.

Degree required: Master’s degrees in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS), Health Science (MHS) or Medical Science (MMSc) with 2 to 3 years Postgraduate Education. As a PA, you will also be trained to examine patients and in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and injuries.

Average annual Salary of a PA in Australia: $80,000

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists specialise in treating patients with illnesses, injuries or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They are trained to help these patients recover, develop and improve the skills necessary for daily living and working

Degree Required: Master’s degree in occupational therapy with 2 years postgraduate education.

Average annual salary of an occupational therapist in Australia: $72,000


A dentist diagnoses, treats and helps prevent problems with a patient’s teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. They advice patients and provide instruction on how to take care of teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health.

Degree Required: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) with 4 years Postgraduate Education.

Average annual salary of a dentist in Australia: $82,000

Physical Therapist

Physical therapists specialise in helping people who have had debilitating injuries or illnesses improve their movement and manage their pain. As a physical therapist, you will often be an important part of rehabilitating and treating patients with chronic conditions or injuries.

Degree Required: Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) with 3 years postgraduate education.

Average annual salary of a physical therapist in Australia: $61,000

Registered Nurse

As a Registered nurses or an RN you will be responsible for providing and coordinating patient care, providing advice and emotional support to patients and their family members and educating patients and the public about different types of health conditions.

Degree Required: Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in nursing or diploma from an recognised, accredited nursing program.

Average annual salary of registered nurse in Australia: $54,000


Chiropractors specialise in treating patients with health problems of the musculoskeletal system, which is made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. As a chiropractor you will be trained in using spinal manipulation and other techniques to treat ailments such as back or neck pain.

Degree Required: Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) with 4 yars postgraduate education.

Average annual salary of a chiropractor in Australia: $76,000


Optometrists diagnose, treat and help prevent vision problems and diseases of the eyes. They also perform eye exams to assess a patient’s vision and prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses as needed.

Degree Required: Doctor of Optometry (OD) with 4 years postgraduate education.

Average annual salary of an optometrist in Australia: $75,000


Podiatrists are trained to provide medical as well as surgical care for patients suffering from problems with the ankle, foot and lower leg. These include calluses, heel spurs and ingrown toenails and arch problems. They specialise in treating injuries, performing surgery and setting fractures and also treating foot and leg problems associated with diabetes and other diseases.

Degree Required: Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) with 4 years postgraduate education.

Average annual salary of a podiatrist in Australia: $70,000


Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and provide advice on their safe use.

Degree Required: Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) with 4 years postgraduate education.

Average annual salary of a pharmacist in Australia: $90,000