Allied Health Professions

Allied Health Professions are a distinct group of health professionals who apply their expertise to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate people of all ages and all specialties. Together with a range of technical and support staff they may deliver direct patient care, rehabilitation, treatment, diagnostics and health improvement interventions to restore and maintain optimal physical, sensory, psychological, cognitive and social functions.

This inclusive grouping, which can account for up to 60% of all health professionals in some countries, provides professional leadership, governance, supervision and professional development that will assure appropriate credentialing and quality of patient care. Allied Health makes a significant contribution to health system strengthening, including primary care, and the communities with whom they work. [ICHPO Consensus Statement: June 2012]

Professions

Definitions of allied health professions vary across countries and contexts, but generally indicate that they are health professions distinct from medicine, pharmacy and nursing. Some definitions only include health care providers that require registration by law to practice, but usually all allied health professions that require a post-secondary degree or higher qualification are included.
Depending on the country and local health care system, a limited subset of the following professions (professional areas) may be represented, and may be regulated:

  • Anesthesia Technician
  • Animal-Assisted Therapist
  • Aquatic Therapist
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Autotransfusionist
  • Audiologist
  • Art Therapist
  • Cardiographic Technician
  • Cardiovascular Technologist
  • Clinical Laboratory Scientist
  • Clinical officer
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Community Health Workers
  • Dance/Movement Therapist
  • Dental hygienist
  • Diagnostic medical sonographist
  • Dietitian / Nutritionist
  • Electrocardiogram technician
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Environmental health officer
  • Environmental Health Technician
  • Esthetician
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Expressive-Creative Arts Therapist
  • Health care administrator
  • Health information technician
  • Horticultural therapist
  • Kinesiotherapist
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Massage therapist
  • Medical assistant
  • Medical coder
  • Mental Therapy
  • Neurophysiologist
  • Medical dosimetrist
  • Medical laboratory scientist
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Medical radiation scientist
  • Medical transcriptionist
  • Music therapist
  • Nuclear medicine technologist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Orthotist / Prosthetist
  • Orthoptist
  • Paramedic
  • Pedorthist
  • Perfusionist
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Phlebotomist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Radiation therapist
  • Radiologic Technologist / Radiographer
  • Recreational therapist
  • Renal dialysis technologist
  • Respiratory therapist
  • Social Work
  • Speech – Language Pathologist
  • Surgical Technologist

All professional areas ascribed before belong to the ever-growing group of allied health professionals and their sub-specialties. The precise titles, roles, and requisites of the allied health professions may vary considerably from country to country.