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A Complete Guide To Allied Health

Table of Contents

What Does Allied Health Mean?

Allied health is a term that refers to healthcare professionals that are specially trained to prevent, diagnose, or treat diseases and conditions. However, these individuals are not physicians, dentists, or nurses. Allied health staff serve as part of a patient care team and are licensed or certified, depending on their specialty.

Allied health professionals make up a significant amount of healthcare workers throughout the country. According to a 2023 article from the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions, about 60 percent of the healthcare workforce in the United States can be classified as allied health.

Allied Health Specialties and Job Titles

Allied health is a term to describe healthcare professionals in a variety of settings and specialties. We’ll break down the different allied health disciplines and note which job titles coincide with each.

Rehabilitation therapy encompasses evaluation, intervention, and treatments to help patients regain function. A rehabilitation therapy team is made up of several trained professionals where they assist patients in their ability to move, speak, eat, and participate in daily activities. Members of a rehabilitation therapy team typically include:

  • Occupational Therapist (OT)
  • Physical Therapist (PT)
  • Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)

Occupational Therapists (OTs) help patients regain independence; Physical Therapists (PTs) focus on helping patients improve movement and physical function, as well as pain reduction; and Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) work with individuals to improve their ability to communicate, swallow, and speak.

  Join the PT/OT/SLP Travel Jobs Facebook group!

Respiratory Care
Respiratory Care Practitioners are trained to assist doctors in diagnosing, evaluating and caring for patients who are experiencing cardiopulmonary or breathing issues. These issues can include conditions like asthma, COPD, pneumonia, or other complex illnesses that primarily affect the lungs.

  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)
  • Pulmonologist
Looking for an RRT contract? See what's open!

Diagnostics / Imaging
The following allied health job titles are those who use diagnostic equipment to diagnose patients. This equipment includes X-Ray machines, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, computed tomography (CT) scanner, and more.

  • Radiologic Technologist – usually listed as RAD Tech or X-Ray Tech
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologists (Nuclear Med Tech)
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Find Radiology/Imaging Contracts

Sterile Processing
Sterile Processing professionals play a critical role in infection prevention in hospitals. These specially trained individuals work to properly sterilize, assemble, store, and distribute instruments and other medical supplies that are used in surgery and for general patient care.

Sterile processing professionals are typically employed by hospitals, though according to the Mayo Clinic, employment growth is expected in clinics, outpatient care centers, ambulatory surgical centers, and in senior living.

Common job titles include:

  • Sterile Processing Technician – sometimes listed as CRCST
  • Central Processing Technician
  • Instrument Technician
  • Central Service Technician
Clinical Research

Clinical laboratory professionals are laboratory workers who focus on high-complexity testing in a lab. Lab technicians are able to conduct general tests such as urine analysis or blood work, while clinical lab technologists have more advanced understanding of medical conditions and can execute complex testing that requires special equipment (e.g., to identify cancerous cells).

To put it simply, lab technicians work in support roles and perform routine tests. Clinical lab professionals may have the following job titles:

  • Medical Laboratory Technician / Laboratory Scientist (MLT)
  • Clinical Laboratory Technologist (CLT)
  • Clinical Lab Scientist (CLS)

See Laboratory Contracts

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that as of 2021, the median pay for a full-time Clinical Laboratory Technologists was $57,800 per year. However, travel contracts have increased pay, so Lab Techs who opt for contract work can expect to make more.

Additional Allied Health Job Titles

  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Social Workers
  • Dieticians
  • Case Managers
  • Mental Health Technician (MHT)
  • Cardiovascular Technician (CT)
  • Dental Hygienist

Allied Health Travel Job Requirements

Allied health travel contracts will have similar requirements to travel nursing. For example, most candidates will be required to have Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), a tuberculosis (TB) test, an annual physical stating ability to work without restrictions, and general immunizations. Of course, a valid license or certification for the job will also be required.

Depending on the specialty and setting, a drug test and criminal background check may also be required in order to be submitted to an allied health travel job.

Licensure and Certifications

Some allied health specialties have compacts, just like nurses have the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). For example, the Physical Therapy compact allows physical therapists to practice in multiple states with just one single license. Emergency Management Service (EMS) providers also have a compact.

For allied health specialties who do not have a compact, individuals will need to transfer their license or certification to each state where they’d like to work. This may also be referred to as “licensure by endorsement.”

Endorsement requirements can vary by state, so be sure to check with your recruiter first about additional costs or exams.

 📌Find a comprehensive list of allied health licensing information here, including information for Rad Techs, Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs), Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Sterile Processing.

Allied Health Contract Length

Contract length for travel allied health professionals can vary based on the position and specialty. In general, most travel assignments for allied health professionals are 13 weeks, or 90 days.

Of course, some assignments could be shorter depending on the building’s particular need. Travelers often have the option to extend their contract by re-signing for an additional 13 weeks.

Where Can I Find a Travel Job?

The short answer is – it really depends on the specialty. For example, a Sterile Processing Technician will likely only be able to find a travel contract in a hospital setting. However, a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) could find work in long-term care, an outpatient clinic, or a behavioral health setting.

The good news is that many healthcare recruitment firms are offering allied health contracts. These are the same agencies that offer travel nursing jobs.

If you’re considering an allied health contract position, we recommend doing research online to determine which agency will be the best fit for you. Make sure to check for online reviews (Glass Door, Google, Facebook).

Remember, there are thousands of experienced travel allied health professionals. Take the time to join a  Facebook group to network and ask questions.

Healthcare Consulting | Recruiting | Staffing | LeaderStat

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