The Evolving Roles of Allied Health Professionals

Reviewed by AIMS Education Staff  

December 21, 2020

Allied healthcare is one of the fastest-growing career fields in the US. As part of their role, allied health professionals are constantly learning new skills and adapting to digital and technological changes. The ability to grow professionally is essential for those who want to succeed in this career field.

More and more students are choosing allied health training over a medical degree. Learn more about how this prospective career is changing and what makes it so attractive.

The Need for Allied Health Professionals Grows

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The demand for qualified allied healthcare professionals is ever growing. This is mainly due to an aging US population, which increases the necessity of healthcare services.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 15 % employment growth from 2019 to 2029. Allied healthcare occupations will expectedly add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups. 

New Openings for Endoscopy Techs 

The field of endoscopy is among those that will experience continuous growth during the next decade. Based on the latest BLS research, it will be between 5% and 7%, which is faster than the average. The growth will translate into a large number of new endoscopy technician job openings across the US.

The duties of endoscopy techs include maintaining a sterile environment and supporting nurses during endoscopy procedures. Following the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, we believe they will continue to play an essential role in the allied healthcare industry. 

More Vacancies for Sterile Processing Techs

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Sterile processing technician is another profession with increasing demand and a promising future. These specialists are responsible for preparing, sterilizing, installing, or cleaning laboratory or healthcare equipment. Similarly to endoscopy techs, their job has recently become even more in demand, and this trend is expected to carry on. The projected field growth for sterile processing techs is also between 5% and 7% as the new vacancies will be about 6,700.  

Allied Health Programs Prepare for More Than One Job 

As the field of healthcare is dynamically changing, most training programs teach candidates a broad range of skills applicable to other allied health careers. This extends the scope of allied health workers and increases their opportunities for career progression and specialization. 

Explore some of the allied healthcare programs that prepare for broad specialties and give people more professional flexibility in the long run.

Medical Billing and Coding Program

A career in medical billing and coding is one of the prospective options that one should consider when it comes to flexibility and adaptability. Medical billers and coders have a broad skill set that can find application in other administrative roles within the field of allied health. Their knowledge of coding systems, medical diagnoses, and procedures can help them find jobs in insurance companies and other medical organizations. 

EKG/Phlebotomy Program

EKG and phlebotomy programs also offer comprehensive education and training in various procedures. Technicians graduate with knowledge in infection control, identifying and labeling specimens, interpreting EKG/ECG results, and the relevant CLIA regulations and CLSI standards. Upon successful completion, they are capable of performing resting EKGs, blood collection, venipuncture, dermal or capillary puncture, and recording test results. As you can see yourself, this extensive program covers a lot of essential areas that you can build up in the future. 

Allied Health Workers Are Superheroes in Scrubs

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The role of allied health professionals goes far beyond supporting physicians and implementing administrative duties. Although there are differences between allied health and medicine, allied healthcare workers are capable of performing various procedures and tests, which makes them valuable members of the medical team. This was once again proven during the COVID-19 pandemic when allied workers were saving lives at the frontline while massively supporting the US healthcare system. The broad expertise of allied health workers helps them quickly adapt to new responsibilities and challenges.  

Allied Health Services Evolve with New Technology

In addition to changing according to the situation, allied health jobs require specialists to master the latest technology. Since innovations are regularly introduced into the healthcare field, specialists need to commit to ongoing learning and development. Still, technology brings in several advantages that make their job more efficient and the procedures more swift, accurate, and smooth. 

Medical imaging is one of the procedures that benefits greatly from the innovations in X Rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRI. Technological advancements in imaging have revolutionized the field by improving image quality and decreasing or eliminating the radiation dose.

MRI Technologists Use Recent Innovations

The work of MRI techs has been positively impacted by the recent advances in MRI technology (magnetic resonance imaging). Among them allowing MRI scans of the lungs, faster contrast scans, simplifying cardiac MRI and MRI-conditional implant scans, new MRI scanners, and, last but not least, newly improved software. These have all significantly improved the image quality and also speeded the workflow to make the job of MRI technologists more efficient and prompt.

Neurodiagnostic Techs Use Improved EEG Scans

Neurodiagnostic technologists have also benefited from the latest technologies in many ways. The new developments in EEG brain scans allow detecting mental disorders early. The new generation of portable and easy to use EEG devices allows functional brain measurement during primary care check-ups for the first time. As a result, neurodiagnostic techs can make a more accurate diagnosis and treat early-stage diseases.

Allied Health Salaries Are Steadily Rising

As the demand for trained allied health professionals is growing, so do their salaries. They are already higher than the national average for most professions in the US.

Statistics for Endoscopy Tech Salary

According to the most recent research, endoscopy technicians make between $28k - $48k annually. Their salary depends on their expertise, years of practice, and of course, professional qualifications obtained along the way. For instance, those who decide to invest in the relevant allied health certification, are likely to receive better opportunities, higher salaries, and more recognition in the long run.

Discover the incredible endoscopy tech salary & career opportunities in NJ and see how they compare to the rest of the US. 

Estimates on Sterile Processing Tech Salary

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The latest BLS reports show that sterile processing techs earn $35,370 on average. This figure varies across different states and industries. Qualified technicians can seek employment in general medical and surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, offices of dentists and physicians, as well as colleges, universities, and professional schools. 

The upward mobility for sterile processing techs makes this specialty very attractive to prospective students. Indeed, the opportunity to move up the ladder and into other prospective allied health careers is a great advantage of this profession. Sterile processing tech training will provide you with the required knowledge and skills to pursue professional growth and development within this promising field.

Allied Health Jobs Become More Agile

Allied Health Travel Jobs

Many allied health careers offer both full-time and travel opportunities. This means that healthcare workers are in demand not only in hospitals and clinics but also in other locations and facilities. These can either be the patient’s own home when their condition doesn’t allow them to travel. Or perhaps, a nursing or care home where there are a large number of patients requiring regular tests and specific checks. In this case, it is far better for the technician to travel, both as a precautionary measure and as a way to manage the workload and patient flow.

Phlebotomists are a great example of specialists who can have a travel job. Their tools and skills allow them to perform various tests and checks on location. Additionally, traveling to the patient reduces waiting times and thus ensures better responding to emergencies that require immediate care.

Allied Health Jobs from Home

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As surprising as it may sound, you can do some allied health jobs from home. The relevant occupations that do not require in-person contact with the patients are often the ones that offer remote work. Among them, medical billers, medical coders, medical transcriptionists, insurance agents, medical illustrators, and others. 

Allied health specialists who work remotely can maintain communication between the medical facility and third parties. They can also consult patients over the phone and refer them to the relevant specialist or department. Last but not least, they can perform various administrative duties and checks to make sure all medical records are up to date and correct. 

Flexible Working Hours in Allied Health

One of the best advantages of allied health jobs is the flexible working schedule they offer. You can do first, second, and third shifts along with split shifts and part-time working. Most employers allow negotiating these beforehand to make sure they suit your plan and other duties.

This flexibility applies to many healthcare training programs too! This is why it's often possible to complete allied health courses while working full time

Starting in Allied Health Can Take Less Than a Year

Counting the great advantages and promising job outlooks, landing a job in allied health will take you less time than you might be thinking. Some programs take on anywhere from 1 to 2 years to complete. Still, quite a few of them require only a few months to prepare you for your desired profession. 

Explore these 8 healthcare certificate programs that will help you jump-start your allied health career within 1 year.