Have you been thinking about an allied healthcare career, but unsure of exactly which one is right for you? Many healthcare professions consistently rank high on both job satisfaction and work-life balance in multiple surveys, and allied healthcare careers are often among the top of the list. Allied healthcare careers often combine the ability to help others with the freedom of flexibility and the opportunity to be creative in your approach to caregiving. As you think about which allied healthcare career may suit you best, consider some of the following in demand options.
Physical therapists help people injured in accidents or recovering from illnesses improve their movement and manage pain. After reviewing a patient’s medical history, the physical therapist develops a treatment plan that may combine exercises, stretching, hands-on therapy or specialized equipment to increase mobility, ease pain and facilitate health and well-being. The work location of a physical therapist could be a private office or clinic, a hospital or even a patient’s home. To become a physical therapist, you will need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, and you must be licensed in the state(s) you wish to work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 22 percent from 2018 to 2028, which is a much higher than average growth rate. With a median annual wage of $89,440, this is an allied healthcare career that is well worth considering.
Speech-language pathologists assess, diagnose, treat and prevent communication and swallowing disorders in both adults and children. They may work with patients who have difficulty speaking or understanding language, or who may have rhythm and fluency problems, such as stuttering, as well as patients who may be recovering from strokes or other serious health issues. After evaluating a patient’s needs and customizing a treatment plan to address and improve these issues, and speech-language pathologist may also counsel a patient’s family on how to cope with the disorder. A master’s degree, as well as an internship or residency, are required to become a speech-language pathologist. Speech-language pathologists usually work in healthcare facilities or schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 27 percent employment growth rate for physical therapists between 201 and 2028, much higher than the average growth rate for all other jobs. In 2019, the median annual salary for a speech-language pathologist was $79,120.
Registered Respiratory Therapist
Registered respiratory therapists work with patients who have trouble breathing, either due to a chronic disease such as asthma or emphysema, or who have suffered medical emergencies such as a heart attack, drowning or shock. After examining their patients and performing diagnostic testing, registered respiratory therapists consult with physicians to develop treatment plans, which could consist of chest physiotherapy, aerosol medications or ventilation. Registered respiratory therapist usually work in hospitals and could be required to work nights and weekends. An associate degree is required of registered respiratory therapists; however, many have bachelor’s degrees. A state license is also required. The job outlook for registered respiratory therapists is expected to grow 21 percent from 2018 to 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual wage for registered respiratory therapists was $61,330 in 2019.
MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images. In addition to preparing patients for and conducting imaging procedures, MRI technologists adjust and maintain equipment, follow orders from physicians, operate computerized equipment and keep detailed patient records. They work in healthcare facilities, typically hospitals, typically have an associate degree and may or may not be required to be licensed, although they are usually certified. The job outlook for MRI technologists is expected to grow nine percent between 2018 and 2028, and their annual median wage was $60,510 in 2019.
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