Some of the fastest growing professions in the country are allied healthcare occupations. But what exactly does allied healthcare mean and how is it different from healthcare? Allied health refers to the services outside of the three main healthcare disciplines of medicine, dentistry, and nursing.
Allied healthcare covers a whole gamut of services including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, home health aide workers, dental assistants, medical sonographers, speech pathologists, laboratory technicians, etc.
The list is by no means comprehensive and there are tons of other allied health professions that are growing in demand. However, there are a few that stand out because of their minimal training requirement and immense potential. Some such fast-growing allied healthcare careers are:
Medical Transcription: Medical transcriptionists held about 95,100 jobs in the year 2010.* The medical transcription practice involves listening to recordings of doctor dictations and converting them into factually and grammatically correct written reports. Being able to understand medical terminology, typing efficiency and editing skills are the core competencies required for this job.
Medical transcriptionists may work at hospitals, offices of physicians, or firms that provide transcription services. Many of them are also self-employed and work from home.
To start a career in medical transcription, important to complete a postsecondary training program in the field. It’s also desirable, though not mandatory to have a Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) or Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) certification awarded by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).
Pharmacy Technician: Pharmacy technicians are professionals who assist licensed pharmacists in performing a number of clerical, administrative and pharmacy-related tasks. A typical work day for a pharmacy tech includes completing tasks like helping pharmacists in filling prescriptions, responding to patient queries, mixing medications, maintaining patient profiles, managing cash register, packaging, and labeling bottles, etc.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth in employment of pharmacy techs in the 2010-20 decade is 32 percent**, much faster than average for all occupations. Formal training requirements are none, but completing a pharmacy tech course and getting certified will definitely provide aspirants to this career a competitive edge in the job market.
Medical Coding and Billing: Medical coding and billing specialists use various classifications systems to assign codes to treatments, diagnoses, tests, and other clinical procedures performed on patients. These coded documents are used for healthcare reimbursement purposes as well as to maintain patient records, medical histories, and hospital databases.
According to the Department of Labor data, the annual median pay of medical coding and billing specialists in 2010 was $32,350.*** Postsecondary medical billing and coding training and professional certification from organizations like the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) are the credentials typically required for gaining entry into the field.
Medical Assistant: There are fast growing allied healthcare professions, and then there are real fast-growing professions. Medical assistance belongs to the second category. According to the Labor
Department, the occupation is likely to add 162,900 jobs in the 2010-20 period.****
Medical assistants provide a range of administrative and clerical services to physicians, chiropractors, podiatrists, and other healthcare practitioners. Depending on the state they are employed in and their training, medical assistants may also perform basic clinical tasks such as taking vitals, recording patient histories, administering drugs and injections, removing sutures and dressings, etc.
But their primary responsibilities are to welcome patients into a facility, help them fill forms, get them ready for examinations, explaining to them the procedures to be performed, maintain patient records, handling billing related tasks, follow up on insurance claims, manage inventory, etc.