Allied Health—also known as the Health Care Related Professions—is used to identify a cluster of health care professions encompassing as many as 200 different careers in health care. Currently, it is estimated that there are 5 million allied health care providers who work in more than 80 different professions. This represents approximately 60% of all health care providers—but this is just a fraction of how many allied health care workers are needed to meet current and future healthcare needs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that more than 36% more workers will be needed in the allied health fields in the next ten years. As a result of this high demand for health workers, allied health salaries are quite competitive, but range quite a bit.
Allied Health professions fall into two broad categories: technicians (assistants) and therapists/technologists, and the educational requirements and salaries vary. Based on an informal survey of salary statistics in health care, here is some basic information about allied health salaries.
Allied Health Technicians
Technicians are trained to perform procedures, and their education lasts less than two years. They are required to work under the supervision of technologists or therapists. This part of the allied health field includes physical therapy assistants, medical laboratory technicians, radiological technicians, occupational therapy assistants, recreation therapy assistants, and respiratory therapy technicians.
Technicians can begin working very quickly in their chosen field due to the shorter period of education required. Some careers as Allied Health Technicians require less than a year of secondary education, usually at a vocational or technical school or a community college.
Salaries for health care technicians are in line with the education requirements, but some areas pay more than others. For instance, a Medical Assistant may have a starting salary as low as $22,000 a year (although the average salary is closer to $28,000 for Medical Assistants), but an Ophthalmic Technician can earn a starting salary as high as $39,000 with close to the same amount of education.
Here is a list of starting salaries for allied health technicians, from highest to lowest, according to the American Medical Association.
Allied Health Career Annual Salary in $
- Respiratory therapist $41,537
- Ophthalmic Technician $39,000
- Clinical lab technician / medical lab technician $37,100
- Radiographer $36,918
- Electroneurodiagnostic technologist $34,726
- Occupational therapy assistant $33,000
- Kinesiotherapist $32,500
- Dental assistant $32,198
- Dental lab technician $31,780
- Physical therapist assistant $30,000
- Health information technician $30,000
- Ophthalmic dispensing optician $27,000
- Phlebotomist $24,315
- Medical assistant $22,650
- Orthotist and prosthetist $22,000
- Pharmacy technician $19,000
- Ophthalmic laboratory technician $15,100
Allied Health Therapists & Technologists
The educational process for therapists or technologists is more intensive and includes acquiring procedural skills. In addition, students of therapy/technology learn to evaluate patients, diagnose conditions, develop treatment plans, and understand the rationale behind various treatments in order to judge their appropriateness and potential side effects. Educational curricula teach students to evaluate patients’ responses to therapy and make appropriate decisions about continued treatment or modification of treatment plans.
Many careers as Allied Health Therapists and Technologist require a bachelor’s degree, and some even require additional post-baccalaureate education. As a result, salaries tend to run much higher for those working as Therapists and Technologists in Allied Health—although you will still see large variations in pay. For instance, while an Anesthesiologist Assistant can have a starting salary as high as $95,000 a year, an Art Therapist can still earn as little as $32,000 a year with the same amount of education.
Here is a list of starting salaries statistics in health care for Therapists and Technologists, from highest to lowest, according to the American Medical Association.
Allied Health Career Annual Salary in $
- Anesthesiologist Assistant $95,000
- Physicians Assistant $71,000
- Nuclear Medicine Technologist $67,429
- Radiation Therapist $65,381
- Perfusionist $60,000
- Pathologist’s Assistant $55,000
- Physical Therapist $54,000
- Speech Language Pathologist $52,694
- Cytotech Supervisor $48,000
- Cytotechnologist $46,000
- Cardiovascular technologist $46,500
- Occupational Therapist $46,000
- Orientation and Mobility Specialist $46,000
- Specialist in Blood Bank Technology $45,000
- Magnetic Resonance Technologist $44,410
- Medical Librarian $41,000
- Health Information Administrator $40,000
- Dietician/Nutrionist $35,300