Interesting allied health careers to consider

September 7, 2016

infectious disease specialist

The term allied health professionals includes various healthcare professionals who work to diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of illnesses and conditions but are not qualified doctors, nurses or dentists. Allied practitioners play a unique role in healthcare. They work across a variety of settings, often as part of multidisciplinary health teams, supporting and complementing the role of the lead physician, nurse or dentist.

If you are interested in a career in healthcare but do not want to spend several years studying in medical, nursing or dentistry school, here are a few interesting and fast-growing allied health careers that are worth exploring.

Medical assistants

In an ever-expanding healthcare industry, medical assistants play a key role in helping things move along smoothly in hospitals and private clinics. Medical assistants perform both, clinical duties such as preparing blood for lab testing as well as administrative duties such as recording patient history and vital signs. The exact duties vary depending on the size and specialty of the healthcare setting.

Physician associates

Physician associates offer a wide range of medical services under the direct supervision of licensed physician. They undergo extensive training that enables them to administer supervised therapeutic, preventive and diagnostic healthcare services. Duties range from recording medical histories and diagnosing medical problems to dispensing certain treatments, setting up and reviewing x rays and other laboratory tests.

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians

Cardiovascular technologists specialise in helping physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of heart and peripheral vascular problems. They often specialize in vascular, cardiology and echocardiography technology. Some undergo advanced training that qualifies them to assist with invasive procedures such as getting patients ready for cardiac catheterizations and balloon angioplasties. They also monitor blood pressure and heart rate while the procedures are being administered.

Clinical laboratory technologists

This is an ideal career for anyone interested in a career in healthcare but prefers to work behind the scenes with minimum patient interaction. Clinical laboratory technologists work in the lab, reviewing and analysing tissues, cells and body fluids that have been collected from patients. Depending on the physician’s instructions, they may be required to look for cell abnormalities, count cells or prepare specimens for specific analyses.


Physiotherapists help improve the lives of patients who are experiencing pain or suffering from some kind of mobility restriction because of an injury or a prevailing medical condition. These specialists address conditions such as joint and back pain, sprains, strains, and fractures. Different treatments are used for different treatments. The exact treatment would depend on the patient’s age and severity of the condition.

Surgical technologists

Surgical technologists play a key role in assisting surgeons before and during surgery. Before the procedure, they sterilize the surroundings and the surgical tools required for the upcoming operation. During and after the surgery they monitor vital signs, review charts and provide all necessary assistance to the members of the surgical team.

Dieticians and nutritionists

Dieticians and Nutritionists are committed to promoting healthy nutrition. They devise customized meal plans that help individuals reach their health goals and teach people how to prevent and treat different diseases through good nutrition and dietary alterations. Some may participate in educational programs where they conduct original research or they may supervise food service programs for organizations such as schools and hospitals.


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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.