Many healthcare professionals know that allied health is a great area to launch a career as you can start in the field with an associate degree or a certification and continue to grow with additional education, experience and certifications as you look to increase your earnings and job choice opportunities.
Looking for a job in the allied health field? Start searching now.
Allied Health Career Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) considers healthcare to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. Employment is expected to grow by 13% over the next 10 years – adding about 2 million new jobs over the next decade – which is much faster than all other occupations.
In addition, BLS projects about 1.9 million jobs open annually due to the replacement of workers who retire or move careers.
In this article, we discuss some of the top allied health job options that can help propel your healthcare career, including the top states for these jobs and the additional qualifications for each position.
What are Allied Health Professionals?
Allied health professionals are the hidden champions in the healthcare field. These professionals usually fall into two categories: technicians and assistants or therapists and technologists.
Technicians and technologists provide vital support to healthcare personnel by performing medical tests, imaging, research, consultation, support, therapy and analyses. Because of their work, physicians and other healthcare staff can help patients prevent, diagnose and treat disease.
Working in this field means you’ll often be the one providing the missing piece to a complex medical puzzle that answers the “what” and “why” questions for a medical diagnosis.
You can work in a variety of facilities, depending on your interest, such as:
- Medical facilities
- Physician offices
How to Become an Allied Health Professional
These professionals focus on the intersection of technology, human anatomy and physiology. The education requirements range between a certificate program, an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. However, for some fields, a master’s degree or doctorate may be required or will help with career advancement. Many states often require you to earn a license in a specific field as well.
Four Top Allied Health Jobs
The demand for allied health jobs is growing as the elderly population increases. The baby boomer generation is living longer than previous generations with advances in medical technology and science, and an overall better understanding of a healthy lifestyle.
The following allied health jobs have a range of opportunities and growth based on continuing education and job specialization. Depending on your interests and the time you want to devote to secondary education. There is even is opportunity in some of these fields to work on travel assignments, making this career choice even more exciting.
Four of the top allied health jobs include:
Radiologic and MRI Technicians
One piece of solving the medical diagnosis puzzle is collecting images via ultrasound, X-ray, MRI and other imaging equipment.
Imaging techs have an associate or bachelor’s degree in imaging technologies, as well as a certificate from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Medical imaging technicians earn an average of $61,980 per year with the top pay for MRI technicians averaging $77,360, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To become an MRI technician, you generally need several years of related work in the imaging field.
The medical imaging field will continue to see a growth of 6% over 10 years. There are 16,600 openings for radiologic and MRI technologists, on average, projected for each year over the next decade.
Best States for Medical Imaging Jobs
California, Texas, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania are experiencing the highest employment rates for healthcare imaging jobs with the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions also seeing continued strong employment growth.
Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians
Medical laboratory technicians have an associate degree or a postsecondary certificate in clinical laboratory science. These professionals collect and analyze specimens, but perform less complex tests and procedures than medical technologists. Medical technologists are required to have a bachelor’s degree. Some states require both technologists and technicians to be licensed.
In May 2021, the average medical lab technician and technologist salary was $57,800. The job growth outlook in this field is strong and steady at 7% over the next decade. About 25,600 openings for lab technologists and technicians nationwide are expected each year over the next decade.
Medical technologists are lab technicians who have a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or a related scientific field. Classes in that degree field include biology, statistics and organic chemistry courses, as well as other scientific-based classes. These courses hone lab skills, while the clinical portion includes hands-on training that teaches proper lab management and safety.
Certain states require med techs to be licensed. It is important to know the rules of the state you want to work in. If you work with a recruiter, they will know the state licensing rules and help facilitate that for you. Even if your state doesn’t require a license, many employers still prefer to hire certified medical technologists.
Med Techs can advance their careers in larger job settings by specializing in areas such as:
- Blood bank or immunohematology technologists – collect, classify and prepare blood for transfusions.
- Immunology technologists – analyze samples involving the immune system.
- Chemistry technologists – analyze the chemical and hormonal levels of body fluids.
- Cytotechnologists – examine body cells for abnormalities such as cancer.
- Microbiology technologists – identify bacteria and other microorganisms
As of September 2022, a medical technologist’s average pay is $73,707 a year with this job field experiencing a faster-than-average growth of 11% over the next 10 years.
Best States for Lab Tech Jobs
Texas, California, Florida, Ohio and New York have seen some of the strongest employment growth in this career field with regions like the Mid-Atlantic and the South experiencing continued steady growth.
Utilizing their knowledge of physics to provide clinical consultation to physicians, nurses and more, medical physicists assist in the research and development of treatment options for patients, mostly working with radiation therapies.
Medical physicists have a master’s or doctorate degree in physics or radiation biology, as well as completed a one or two-year residency or postdoctoral program. After the residency, they have to pass a certification examination provided by the American Board of Radiology or the American Board of Medical Physics.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average medical physicist’s salary is $147,450 annually. Job growth is projected at 8% over the next 10 years, which is faster than average. On average, 2,100 jobs are expected to be added annually as the workforce retires or switches careers.
Best States for Medical Physicist Jobs
States with the highest employment levels for physicists are California, Virginia, New York, Maryland and Colorado with steady employment growth in the South and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Career opportunities in the allied health space are endless and are a great gateway to advancing your career. And, at Soliant, we have a large team of career professionals ready to help you find the right fit for you. So, when you’re ready for a change, make sure to check out our medical physicist job, medical imaging job, medical lab technician job or medical technologist job opportunities and contact us today.