5 Best Allied Health Careers in Demand with Excellent Growth

5 Allied Health Careers in Demand with Excellent Growth

There are many allied health careers in demand! This is great news if you’ve always dreamed of an interesting, stable career in healthcare—without the extensive studies needed to become a doctor or surgeon.

Did you know that allied health professionals already make up over 60% of all healthcare professionals?

What’s more: the demand for allied health professionals is predicted to grow from 15.6 million jobs in 2010 to 19.8 million positions in 2020.

It’s important to realize that a number of allied health professions are in higher demand than others around the country—and will be for the foreseeable future.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2014 and 2024, the following five allied health professions will be in highest demand:

  • Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • Physical Therapy Assistants
  • Audiologists
  • Hearing Aid Specialists
  • Speech Language Pathologists

Physical and occupational therapy careers are also great choices, and they are two of the highest paid specialties.

Beginning your career in the high demand positions of COTA and OTA also put you in a position to further your education in the future.

SEE ALSO: How to Take Full Advantage of OTA to OT Bridge Programs

Should you be interested in becoming a licensed Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist, your time spent assisting PTs or OTs will be invaluable on-the-job training hours that will count toward further licensure.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate List of Physical Therapy Schools to Choose From

Let’s take a closer look at the allied health careers in demand today.

Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant | 5 Best Allied Health Careers in Demand with Excellent Growth

1. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)

Of all the allied health careers in demand, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants top the list with a predicted job growth of 43% by 2024.

These professionals work with disabled patients, as well as patients who are recovering from an injury or disease.

In addition, COTAs help patients develop or recover skills they need to perform tasks for daily functioning.

Typically, Occupational Therapy Assistants are responsible for executing and monitoring treatment plans that have been created by Occupational Therapists.

Working closely with an Occupational Therapist, a COTA enjoys ample opportunity to directly interact with patients. Due to the variety of cases you will encounter on a regular basis, day-to-day duties require a range of skills and techniques.

Examples of possible duties include:

  • Helping someone with a back injury build strength and learn how to lift correctly
  • Helping a patient recover coordination after suffering a stroke
  • Teaching a child with autism how to use apps on a tablet to interact with others

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants often work in public and private healthcare facilities, but this career can take you to a host of unique workplaces including:

  • Hospitals or Outpatient Rehabilitation Programs
  • Schools and School Districts
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities and Nursing Homes
  • Home Health Care
  • In-Home Environmental Modification
  • Community Mobility Planning

SEE ALSO: COTA Career Opportunities: How to Create a Path to Success

To become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, you will need an associate’s degree from a certified program. Plus, you’ll need a state license.

Pay ranges from $36,420 to $76,790 per year, with the median pay being $56,950 annually.

States with the highest level of employment for Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants are:

  • Texas
  • Ohio
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ilinois

Top-paying states for COTAs are:

  • Nevada
  • Texas
  • New Jersey
  • Arkansas
  • Maryland

There are also many opportunities for traveling Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants. Working as a traveling COTA opens up a world of opportunity, including benefits like:

  • Gaining experience in unique, changing settings
  • Enhancing your cultural competency
  • Gaining independence and self-confidence
  • Honing your people skills
  • Acquiring new skills and specializations
  • The ability to explore other specialties
  • Getting experience at top healthcare facilities
  • …and much more.
Certified occupational therapy assistants top the list with a predicted job growth of 43% by 2024.Click To Tweet

Physical Therapist Assistant | 5 Best Allied Health Careers in Demand with Excellent Growth

2. Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)

Second on the list of allied health careers in demand are Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs), who are predicted to see a job growth of 40% in the next eight years.

PTAs can work in many different environments:

  • hospitals
  • clinics
  • nursing care facilities
  • home healthcare services
  • physicians’ offices

They work under the supervision of Physical Therapists to implement recovery plans for patients.

Physical Therapy Assistants are key players in patient recovery. These professionals help patients perform exercises, learn how to use functional aides, plus, they provide education about aftercare.

PTAs also observe patients and document their progress for Physical Therapists to review. With technological advances, this has become easier for both the PTA and the patient.

SEE ALSO: Top 20 Useful Physical Therapy Apps for Patients to Try

In order to become a PTA, you need an associate’s degree from an accredited program, as well as a state license or certification. You will also be required to complete on the job training during your schooling to help you prepare for this hands-on profession.

Annual wages for PTAs range from $31,840 to $75,530, with the median salary being $54,410.

States with the highest level of employment of PTAs are:

  • Texas
  • Ohio
  • California
  • Florida
  • Pennsylvania

Top-paying states for PTAs are:

  • Texas
  • Alaska
  • California
  • New Jersey
  • Florida

And for professionals who want to explore multiple locations and options, traveling Physical Therapy Assistants are in high demand.

SEE ALSO: Why a Travel Physical Therapy Profession is the Next Big Thing


Audiologist | 5 Best Allied Health Careers in Demand with Excellent Growth

3. Audiologist

With a projected growth of 29%, Audiologists are third on the list of the best allied health careers.

Audiologist professionals diagnose, treat, and manage patients’ ear problems. The problems can include hearing issues, balance problems, or other conditions in the area of the ear.

Some of their typical duties include:

  • Examining and diagnosing patients’ hearing, balance, and other ear problems
  • Determining and prescribing effective treatment plans
  • Prescribing hearing aids
  • Counseling patients on communication methods such as lip reading or using assistive technologies

Audiologists work in public and private hospitals, educational institutions, physicians’ offices, and personal care stores.

To become an Audiologist, you’ll need to complete a four-year doctorate in audiology from an accredited program. You’ll also need a state license.

Annual Audiologist salaries range from $47,580 to $110,960, with the median income being $73,060 per year.

The highest employment levels of Audiologists are found in:

  • Texas
  • California
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania

Top-paying states for Audioligists are:

  • New Mexico
  • District of Columbia
  • North Dakota
  • California
  • Colorado

Traveling Audiologists are also a hot commodity now. Travel assignments can come with increased salary, making Audiologist one of the highest paying allied health careers in demand.


Hearing Aid Specialist | 5 Best Allied Health Careers in Demand with Excellent Growth

4. Hearing Aid Specialist

Hearing Aid Specialists will see a job growth of 27%, which places them fourth on the list of allied health careers in demand.

These professionals usually work in personal care retail settings or medical offices catering to hearing loss.

Hearing Aid Specialists administer and analyze auditory tests. Based on the results, they determine the nature and extent of a patient’s hearing loss and subsequently fit the patient with a hearing aid.

They also provide patient education and instruction on how to operate and maintain hearing aids.

To become a Hearing Aid Specialist, you need to complete a two-year program. In addition, most states require you to be licensed. You will also have to complete a year of on the job training under supervision of a licensed Hearing Aid Specialist before you can practice independently.

Annual income for a Hearing Aid Specialist ranges from $26,660 to $79,400, with the median yearly salary amounting to $49,600.

Highest employment levels for Hearing Aid Specialists are in:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Washington

Top-paying states for Hearing Aid Specialists are:

  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington
  • Florida

Speech Language Pathologist | 5 Best Allied Health Careers in Demand with Excellent Growth

5. Speech Language Pathologist

Speech Language Pathologists are expected to see a job growth of 21% making them one of the best allied health careers when it comes to job opportunity.

These professionals work in private and public educational services, private healthcare offices, nursing care facilities, and social assistance organizations.

Speech Language Pathologist  job requirements include evaluating and diagnosing communication and swallowing disorders in patients, as well as devising treatment plans.

Examples of their duties include:

  • Teaching children with a cleft palate to form words
  • Helping deaf people improve their speech
  • Educating patients on how to strengthen the muscles used for swallowing

Many Speech Language Pathologists work with children. Apps for computers, tablets, and smartphones have proven to be effective tools in their daily efforts.

SEE ALSO: 6 Best Apps for Speech Therapy with Kids in Mind

In order to become a Speech Language Pathologist, you need a master’s degree in speech pathology from an accredited program, as well as a state license. Additional certifications may be required depending on the specialization.

Speech Language Pathologists earn between $44,940 and $111,000 each year, with the average salary being $71,550.

The highest levels of employment for Speech Language Pathologists are in:

  • Texas
  • California
  • New York
  • Florida
  • Illinois

Top-paying states for Speech Language Pathologists are:

  • Connecticut
  • California
  • Alaska
  • District of Columbia
  • New York

Traveling Speech Language Pathologists are also in high demand across the country.

SEE ALSO: How to Get the Best Speech Pathology Job with a Recruiter

A speech language pathologist can earn over $100K per year.Click To Tweet

Conclusion

If you’re interested in any of these in-demand allied health careers, then take the time to research them thoroughly.

  1. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants
  2. Physical Therapy Assistants
  3. Audiologists
  4. Hearing Aid Specialists
  5. Speech Language Pathologists

The best place to start your research is by speaking to people who are already working in the field. You can even ask to shadow someone for a day to gain an accurate impression of what the job entails.

Another great way to research these careers is to review the potential school(s) you would consider attending. The programs are outlined clearly plus you can reach out to professors with any follow up questions.

And if you decide to pursue one of these allied health careers, your job outlook and career prospects will be very bright!

 

Are you considering any of these allied health careers in demand?

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