5 Lesser-Known Allied Health Care Professions Making a Big Impact

5 Lesser-Known Allied Health Care Professions Making a Big Impact

If you’re thinking of joining the allied health field, here is the good news: such professionals are increasingly in demand. But with so many different career options to choose from, it may be challenging to narrow them down. To help you, here are five of the lesser-known types of allied health care professionals that are making a big impact.

Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs)

Occupational therapy assistants figure prominently among the allied health care professions. These types of allied health professionals work with occupational therapists to implement treatment plans. In so doing, they help patients manage everyday activities that may be challenging due to disability, illness, or injury. OTAs work in hospitals, OT offices, rehabilitation centers, residences, and skilled nursing homes, playing a major role in ensuring optimal outcomes for the individuals you see.

Basically, as an occupational therapist assistant, you’ll help patients recover from injuries, as well as develop, improve, and maintain the skills necessary for day-to-day living. Additional OTA tasks include assisting patients with therapeutic activities and encouraging them, as well as leading children with developmental issues in play activities.

You also may be tasked with setting up equipment and transporting patients, in addition to cleaning equipment and treatment areas. Assisting patients with billing and insurance forms, teaching them how to use therapeutic equipment, and recording their progress are additional aspects of the job. For example, you might help a child develop social and motor skills by teaching them to play with other children or ride a bike.

Respiratory Therapists (RTs)

Highly valued among the allied health care professions, respiratory therapists care for individuals who have difficulty in breathing. Patients range from premature infants with underdeveloped lungs to older people who have diseased lungs. The role is essential in that it promotes faster recovery and lowers the need for hospitalization.

These types of allied health professionals administer lung treatments, manage ventilators, and give patients oxygen—under the direction of physicians. As a respiratory therapist, you might interview and examine patients, consult with doctors, and perform diagnostic tests. You’ll also treat, monitor, and record a patient’s progress.

Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLTs)

If you like working behind the scenes and making a real impact, you may want to look into the field of medical lab techs. Supporting physicians and other healthcare professionals, you’ll play a central role in patient diagnosis and treatment. Collecting patient samples and performing tests to detect possible disorders number among MLT activities.

These types of allied health care professionals also analyze test results, operate lab equipment, and log data into patients’ medical records. In many ways, the MLTs are investigators, searching for clues and uncovering information that can help develop treatments. They are also essential to the development and improvement of new medical therapies and technologies.

Speech-Language Pathology Assistants (SLPAs)

Allied health care professionals such as SLPAs play key roles in helping adults and children improve their language and communication skills. As an SPLA, you’ll work in schools, clinics, hospitals, private residences, and skilled nursing facilities.

Speech-language pathology assistants perform tasks prescribed, directed, and overseen by speech-language pathologists certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Such roles call for treating individuals with communication disorders such as stuttering, aphasia, or hearing impairment. They may also perform speech, hearing, language, and swallowing screening on new patients, make evaluations, share information with families, and track and document patient performance of treatment exercises. Moreover, they are required to identify clients’ treatment goals and implement pathologist’s plans.

Teaching patients to make sounds, maintain fluency, and improve their voices are also aspects of the SLPA job. These types of allied health professionals ease the potentially overwhelming responsibilities of the speech-language pathologist, which frees them to focus more on providing top-shelf care.

Radiologic Technologists (RTs)

Also known as radiographers, radiologic technologists in medical imaging comprise the third-largest group of healthcare professionals–surpassed in number only by doctors and nurses. A primary responsibility of this allied health care profession is operating X-ray, MRI, fluoroscopy, CT, or sonography equipment. It can require you to prepare and inject radiopharmaceutical agents into patients.

As RTs, you may also be called upon to help doctors with non-surgical procedures such as stent insertion or angioplasty. Administering radiation treatments for cancer. There have been innovations in the field, including the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, advanced visualization, and the adoption of off-cloud storage.

Select the Best Allied Health Care Profession

While these types of allied health professionals may not be as commonly known as others, they are in high demand. Further, they are making a significant impact in healthcare and in the lives of patients. Perhaps one of these will make for a rewarding fit for you.

As you embark upon your professional career, Wanderly helps you secure the best allied health care professions assignments available. Applying the latest technologies, such as big data and machine learning, we bring travel healthcare professionals and agencies together. We aim to elevate the healthcare staffing industry with our transparent marketplace.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What kind of education and training do occupational therapist assistants, OTAs, need?

Occupational therapy assistants must gain a two-year associate degree from a school accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association.

  1. What is the future of respiratory therapy?

It looks bright. In fact, the number of such therapists is projected to grow 23% by 2030, markedly faster than the average for all occupations.

  1. What is the difference between SLPAs and SLPs?

SLPAs are not trained for independent practice. Rather, they support and supplement the services of a licensed SLP.



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