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Why and How to Become an Allied Health Professional

Why and How to Become an Allied Health Professional

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/ Why and How to Become an Allied Health Professional

Thinking of an Allied Health Career?

The healthcare sector is an important influence towards promoting the well-being of the general population. There are many areas of speciality available at the certificate level, allowing you to study for a potentially stable and rewarding career in many different areas of interest.

Allied Health Assistants work under the direct supervision of health care professionals (such as doctors and nurses) to provide therapeutic and program-related support in a variety of assistant roles such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry, speech pathology and nutrition.

Job Outlook Average Salary Work Hours Age Groups
Education Level Skills Trends Courses Interview with a Pro

 

Allied Health Job Outlook

The graph shows historical and projected (to 2019) employment levels (thousands) for this occupation.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, DEEWR trend data to November 2014 and DEEWR projections to 2019. Estimates have been rounded.

Over the five years to November 2019, the number of job openings for Health and Welfare Services Managers is expected to be average (between 10,001 and 25,000). Job openings can arise from employment growth and people leaving the occupation.

Employment for Health and Welfare Services Managers to November 2019 is expected to grow very strongly. Employment in this medium sized occupation (21,800 in November 2014) rose very strongly in the past five years and in the long-term (ten years).

Allied Health Salaries

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS EEBTUM survey August 2014 cat. no. 6310.0. Estimates have been rounded and consequently some discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Note: These figures are indicative and cannot be used to determine a particular wage rate.

Payscale.com lists the wage for an Occupational Therapy Assistant (living in Sydney with 5 years experience) as being between an average of $21 to $27 per hour, or approximately up to $54 000 per annum.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “The healthcare and social assistance employment category has overtaken retail as Australia's biggest employer. The health and social assistance sector has emerged as the nation's jobs powerhouse. It now accounts for more than one in every nine jobs, and in some states the ratio has climbed to nearly one in seven. Mining, by comparison, only employs about one in 50 Australian workers.”

Allied Health Weekly Work Hours

The graph shows the average weekly hours (by gender and full-time and part-time) worked for this occupation, compared with all occupations. 

Full-time Allied Health Professionals, on average, work more than the Australian average. However, Part-time Allied Health Professionals tend to work less than the Australian Average.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2014.

Allied Health Age Profile

Allied Health Professionals are made up by 44/2% of the 45-54 age bracket compared to the industry average across Australia of 22.2%.

 Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2014.

What Allied Health Qualification Do You Need?

Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Speech Pathology)

A speech pathology assistant carries out tasks to help clients overcome speech, understanding and other difficulties caused by such conditions as stuttering, autism, cleft palate and stroke. This course is designed to equip you with the skills to work successfully as a speech pathology assistant.

Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Podiatry)

With a focus on the feet, this certificate will teach you to assist with podiatry exercises for clients and provide support in fitting podiatric devices. At the completion of this course you will be qualified to work as an assistant or aide to a podiatrist or an allied health assistant.

Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Occupational Therapy) 

Occupational therapy helps those affected by illness, injury, accidents or ageing to resume everyday activities such as work, recreation and domestic tasks. OTs work with a variety of clients, from children to the aged. This course prepares you towards a career as an OT assistant.

Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance

Allied health covers rehabilitation, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nutrition, speech pathology or podiatry. This accredited qualification gives you the skills and knowledge to deliver exercise and other rehabilitation programs as an allied health assistant

Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Physiotherapy)

This course suits people who are, or want to be, physiotherapists’ assistants or aides. The custom-designed course material will teach you how to deliver a client-specific exercise program and assist with physiotherapy treatments in individual or group sessions.

Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Nutrition & Dietetics)

This course will give you broad health knowledge and specialist skills in nutrition and dietetics.  Available online, this certificate is the ideal foundation for working as a skilled assistant to a nutritionist or other health professional.

Why Study Allied Health through Open Colleges?

Our Allied Health courses are delivered online, giving you the flexibility of organising your study around your life. You can enrol anytime of the year and study at your own pace.

Among other things, you'll learn about getting started in the allied health industry. This will involve learning how to use the right medical terms and words, and to take the right medical actions with your patients.

You’ll also learn core information on allied health precision, influencing behaviour and how to maintain organisational excellence.

Your course includes comprehensive student support to help you throughout your study. Some of the diplomas and certificates allow you to graduate with a government-accredited, nationally recognised qualification that can boost your chances of employment.

Interview with an Allied Health Professional

Nicola Gray

Occupational Therapist @OccEmpower Pty Ltd

In two sentences, tell us what a bit about your role; working as an OT in the allied health industry.

I predominantly conduct capacity assessments for people who have sustained physical injuries either at work, whilst driving, or within the community. I assess their ability to safely and independently perform everyday activities within the home or workplace.

What does an OT do on a day to day basis?

An Occupational Therapist can work in a wide variety of roles with people of all ages varying from babies and children, to the elderly. Occupational Therapists assist people overcome limitations caused by injury or illness, psychological or emotional difficulties, developmental delay or the effects of ageing. They assist people to move from dependence to independence, maximising personal capability.

What are the best parts of the job?

In my opinion, the most rewarding part is watching patients progress from disability and dependence, into independence, and regaining their prior roles within their families and respective communities.

What skills/attributes do potential Occupational Therapist’s Assistants need to have?

I think the most important skills that people need are the basics of patience, perseverance, objectivity, professionalism and empathy.

What’re your favourite things about working in the allied health industry?

There are a fantastic variety of roles, both in public and private sectors. The opportunity to be part of an allied health team working towards mutual goals for each patient can be highly satisfying and rewarding. 

Thanks, Nicola, for sharing your story with Open Colleges.

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