What is an Allied Health Assistant? Salary, Job Description & Qualifications
Looking for a healthcare career but not sure where to start? Join the Australian health services heroes and support your community as an allied health assistant.
Are you a personable, nurturing person? Do you find providing for the people in your life rewarding? If this sounds like you, you might be in need of a career change: you would make a great allied health assistant.
When it comes to caregiving and community support, allied health assistant careers check all the boxes. Providing for people? Check. A job that keeps you on your toes? Check. Supporting your clients every single day, helping patients reach their long-term goals? Check, check, check.
If you have been considering a career change but not sure where you fit into the health industry, allied health probably hasn’t been on your radar. Frankly, this kind of career tends to fly under most people’s radars; allied health assistants are the unsung heroes of Australian healthcare, and most people outside the industry don’t know what they really do. So, what is an allied health assistant? And how do you know if it’s the right career for you?
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What is an allied health assistant?
While you might not have heard of allied health until now, it’s an absolutely essential sector in the healthcare world. Allied health professionals make up more than a quarter of the health workforce, delivering 200 million health services every year, on average.
So, what do allied health assistants do? Quite a lot! Put simply, it’s an allied health assistant’s job to support others. Allied health is an umbrella term that includes multiple healthcare careers; they offer support to healthcare professionals, assisting with administrative tasks and overall patient care.
The responsibilities of an allied health assistant range widely, depending on the sector they work within. This includes most healthcare industries that aren’t considered medical, such as:
Allied health assistants work in care facilities under the direction of doctors, nurses, podiatrists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists, amongst others.
What does an allied health assistant actually do?
It’s hard to paint a picture of the average day in this kind of career because allied health assistants have a lot of different responsibilities, so their day-to-day changes all the time.
While responsibilities and duties will vary – a day in the life of an occupational therapy assistant will be completely different to a speech pathology aide’s – all allied health assistants are expected to fulfil some tasks, such as:
The big thing that sets allied health assistants apart from other health professionals is diagnosis. Unlike doctors and nurses, allied health assistants aren’t qualified to diagnose conditions or prescribe treatments to their clients.
What’s the job outlook and salary like for an allied health assistant?
Allied health assistants are the unsung heroes of healthcare and it shows: there’s a lot of demand for allied health assistants in community services careers throughout Australia.
Therapy aides, for example, have seen a lot of growth over just 5 years: the number of people employed as therapy aides grew by 28% from 4,200 in 2011 to 5,400 in 2016.
Your salary as an allied health assistant will depend on your experience and the role you choose. You can expect to make somewhere between $57,935 and $67,647 a year in Australia.
In allied health, you can live pretty much anywhere – employment is generally steady throughout Australia with most allied health assistants employed throughout NSW, VIC, WA, and QLD.
If you’re looking for a career that can accommodate your busy schedule, allied health is very flexible in comparison to other healthcare careers. There are a lot of part-time options in this industry, so you can easily shift from full-time to part-time as your circumstances change and maintain a healthy work-life balance (while still making enough to pay the bills).
Is an allied health assistance career right for me?
If you’re interested in a career in allied health, you need to be in it for the right reasons. Allied health assistance is very face-to-face and people-focused, so if your heart’s not in it, that’s going to become clear quickly. You need to be supportive, patient, and truly dedicated to thrive in this kind of career.
As an allied health assistant, you need:
Allied health assistants are always kept on their toes. As a hands-on worker, you need to think on your feet all the time, so you won’t ever get the chance to get bored with your day-to-day.
No two days will be alike, but one thing will remain the same: you’re getting paid to provide for your community, helping people in need reach their long-term goals each and every day. What could be better than that?
How do I become an allied health assistant?
Don’t worry, we left the best for last: you don’t need to waste your time and money to pursue a career in allied health assistance. Most therapy aides find work by completing a Certificate III or Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance, so there’s no need for a Bachelor’s degree.
There is a whole range of allied health courses available through TAFE and other RTOs online, with elective units tailored to different specialisations, depending on the industry your interests fall into. Some programs provide Recognition of Prior Learning assessments, offering enrolment opportunities at all times throughout the year.
There are payment options available for these programs, so you never have to worry about paying the full fee all at once. Part of your vocational study to become an allied health assistant will be combined with work placement, so you can work while you study and apply what you learn into real, hands-on experience ASAP.
If you’re a caring, social person looking for a career that means more than just paying the bills, allied health is the career for you.
Explore courses in allied health assistance to get started.