Allied health professionals play a key role in saving lives and ensuring optimal healthcare for millions of individuals on a daily basis. Through diagnostic, therapeutic, and supportive services, these groups of professionals ensure that the entire healthcare system is able to run smoothly and efficiently.
Every single occupation in this field has its own vital, designated role. Anyone who pursues a career in any of them should be able to look forward to a fulfilling and rewarding journey.
But if you’re planning on becoming an allied healthcare worker, you would naturally be on the lookout for a field with a very favorable career outlook and projection. So which occupations fulfill these requirements? We take a look below at 10 of the fastest growing allied healthcare careers.
10 Fastest Growing Allied Health Careers
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
Diagnostic Medical Sonography is the first entry on our list thanks to a projected growth rate of 14.7%. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers make use of ultrasounds to obtain accurate yet non-invasive pictures of what is going on inside the body. To become a diagnostic medical sonographer, you must obtain proper training from an accredited institution, earn at least an associate’s degree, and become certified in your field of choice.
- Potential Salary – $77,740
- Growth Projection – 10%
There is no shortage of reasons to become an occupational therapist. Not only is it one of the highest paying specialties in allied healthcare, but it is also one of the fields with the highest number of openings every year. To become a physical therapist, you must obtain a license in your state of residence. More often than not, you will also need to have a master’s degree and pass an examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.
- Potential Salary – $85,570
- Growth Projection – 14%
Physical therapists are responsible for helping patients who have a problem with mobility. This problem can be as a result of injuries, illness, surgery, chronic conditions, among others. Apart from being one of the fields with the highest growth potential, it is also one of the highest paying. To become a physical therapist, aspiring candidates must obtain a degree from an accredited program and obtain a license in the specific state where they wish to practice.
- Potential Salary – $95,620
- Growth Projection – 17%
Speech Language Pathologists
Speech language pathologists, or speech therapists, help people overcome their difficulty of speaking, swallowing, and communicating. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field remains one of the fastest growing in allied healthcare. To become a speech language pathologist, you will have to pursue a degree in an accredited Speech language Pathologist program.
- Potential Salary – $79,060
- Growth Projection – 21%
Behavioral Health Technicians
Behavioral health technicians, or mental health technicians, help individuals with developmental disability or mental health challenges. The field is currently projected to grow at a very impressive rate within the next 10 years. A postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree is often enough to become a behavioral health technician. Professional licensing is not mandatory, but certification is often encouraged.
- Potential Salary – $36,230
- Growth Projection – 10%
Medical assistants perform a range of administrative and clinical duties in doctor’s offices or a handful of other medical establishments. For a while, the field has enjoyed an increase in popularity, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth projection remains favorable for the next ten years. The reason behind the projection includes an aging baby boomer population, and replacement of workers who transfer to different occupations or retire.
- Potential Salary – $37,190
- Growth Projection – 16%
A surgical technologist helps prepare the operating room for surgeries and ensure that equipment is well arranged for upcoming procedures. They may also assist doctors and other personnel during surgeries. Aspiring candidates who wish to become surgical technologists may do so by earning a certificate or an associate’s degree from an accredited program. They may also choose to get certified by passing the Certified Surgical Technologist exam.
- Potential Salary – $48,510
- Growth Projection – 6%
Dietitians & Nutritionists
Dietitians and nutritionists are professionals who help people develop diet plans geared towards achieving unique health goals. A dietitian can specialize in a number of areas, such as weight management or diet training for athletes. To become a registered dietitian, aspiring candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree at the very least. Some states also mandate licensing and certification from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Potential Salary – $61,650
- Growth Projection – 7%
Pharmacy technicians provide assistance to license pharmacists through a series of day-to-day responsibilities including locating and dispensing drugs to patients in hospitals, retail outlets, and care facilities. The field continues to enjoy a high level of demand, and even more positive projection for the next decade. Only a high school diploma is needed to become a pharmacy technician, but some states require additional certification.
- Potential Salary – $43,500
- Growth Projection – 5%
Last on our list of the fastest growing allied healthcare careers is respirational therapy, a field with a growth projection of about 10.8%. People suffering from conditions that make it hard to breathe properly are usually advised to visit a respiratory therapist. To become one yourself, you must have at least an associate’s degree and a professional license.The board responsible for certifying respiratory therapists is the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).
- Potential Salary – $61,830
- Growth Projection – 14%
Benefits Of Allied Health Careers
Strong projected job growth and positive career outlooks are not the only benefits drawing people towards careers in allied health. Some of the other advantages to these career paths include:
- Job Satisfaction – Job satisfaction tends to be quite high in the allied health space, which makes intuitive sense as most of the work involved relates to positively impacting the health and wellness of patients. Careers in allied health provide the opportunity to have a direct impact on someone’s life that is both positive and significant.
- Faster and More Affordable Education and Training – Many people are turning to allied health careers because allied health schools and programs are typically significantly more affordable than traditional colleges and can be completed in less time. This puts students in the position to earn great salaries faster and with less school debt.
- Flexibility and Career Mobility – When comparing other careers, allied health careers allow for a lot of flexibility and potential mobility. Many people start with a specific allied health career and continue to pursue further education and training to gain more skills in order to enter healthcare careers with higher salaries.
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