If helping people has always been your dream, you might find fulfilment in allied health professions. In Australia, most states do not require you to have an allied health certificate to get a job in the field. However, having a certificate can bring you a number of benefits and convenience that you will get to learn from this article.
What does an allied health assistance career look like
In 2012, the International Chief Health Professions Officers defined the allied health professions:
“Allied Health Professions are a distinct group of health professionals who apply their expertise to prevent disease transmission, 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.”
In simple words, Allied Health includes any health care occupation that does not include medical or nurse professionals, like physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, etc. These jobs have a lot of perks as well as the every year opportunities in this sector are rising in Australia. So this is becoming one of the most profitable, not to mention fulfilling, job sectors.
What does an allied health professional do
Going by job description, a well-qualified allied health professional should have a basic medical understanding and knowledge of text-book medical terms. They should be skilled enough to prevent and control infections, as well as assist in patient health care programming, treatment plans, and therapeutic support. Apart from the obvious skill set, you also have to be an easy communicator since you would be the bridge between your patient and his/her doctor.
The clinical duties of an allied health professional normally include taking vital signs and patient histories, performing certain diagnostic tests, collecting specimens, preparing the patients for medical procedures, preparing medicine and administering it to the patient, and infection control. According to the Allied Health Assistant framework by the Queensland Health, Allied Health Assistants are also responsible for (but not limited to):
- Overall management and direction of facility or organisation
- Assisting in administrative operations; reporting, budget planning and supply/equipment expenditure
- Developing, implementing and monitoring health care standards and policies for Allied Health and administrative staff
- Liaising with patients
- Maintaining a comfortable, supportive environment through multiple practices.
- Supporting and assisting Allied Health practitioners
An allied health professional typically works alongside a doctor, but a lot of them, after making a name for themselves, open their own clinic independent of a doctor. Nevertheless, the best part of this job is the challenges you will be facing every day, as well as the freedom you will have in terms of location. You will also get to meet people from all kinds of specialties and all kinds of personalities. One thing is for sure, once you are in the occupation of allied health, your life will never be boring.
What you need to do become an allied health assistant
In the career of an allied health care assistant, all that counts is how skilled you are. However, in order to prove your worth and your skills, you need to possess an allied health certificate. You are required to join a few allied health courses and complete a certification – Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance (HLT33015). To achieve this qualification, the candidate must complete at least 120 hours of work, in addition to coursework, as detailed in the Assessment Requirements of the units of competency.
Allied Health Assistants wishing to further their career can undertake additional study such as a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (HLT34015). This is more of a practical course for you. You will be working alongside health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, podiatrists, speech pathologists and nutritionists to facilitate rehabilitation and to encourage optimal health. You will also directly communicate with the patients at this level. Along with your work as an allied health student, you might also have to organize recreational and leisure activities for the patients, as well as support the training of people with disabilities to care for themselves and develop independent living skills, as a part of the process of obtaining the certificate IV in allied health assistance.
In addition to these allied health certificates, allied health assistants are generally required to have a current national police check, a working with children check, and immunisations (as required in the Healthcare Workers Schedule A).
5 Ways Certificate IV in allied health assistance can boost your Allied Health career
There are quite a few perks of studying allied health courses online; including self-paced and more efficient learning and assessment, flexibility, and lifetime access to the content. The main reasons why you should add an allied health certificate to your resume are:
You will gain leverage over other applicants
Australian rules do not mandate you to have an allied health certificate to work in this field, but you do need to have skills. However, acquiring a certificate will let you show off those skills ahead of actually doing any field work. This obviously puts you ahead of the other applicants. Even though skillsets are the major requirement here, the economy is tough at this point, and having taken an allied health course certainly gives you leverage, and you also gain the liberty to choose your employer.
For some allied-health careers, such as a medical assistant or home-health worker, a certification may be a near-necessity in crowded labour markets like today’s; even where regulations don’t require it.
High-end companies will give you a preference
If you have the skills of an allied health professional, getting a job is definitely insured. However, if you want to work in a blue-chip organization with better prospects and exposure, better money while creating better connections, a certification may set your candidacy apart from others. Many of these organizations specifically ask for a certification as well, even though the state does not.
Moreover, the patients who enrol in these kinds of institutions feel more comfortable paying someone with a certificate, which is considered as proof of your training and expertise.
You will have better opportunities open up
Even when you are working under a professional supervisor, you can have a bigger scope if you have obtained the certificate IV in allied health assistance. Especially when you are a new joinee, the supervisor trusts a certified employee more than the others for tasks with more responsibility and sensitivity.
An added certification will increase your flexibility, making you more valuable to your organization. This will secure your job as well as enhance your earning potential.
Your earning opportunities open up
You have the choice of using your allied health certificate as a solid proof of your expertise, and you can increase your pay based on this. Often supervisors, as well as franchises, are also inclined to give a recommendation of promotion and raise to a certified person, even though the compensation may vary from profession to profession, as well as company to company.
Your reputation in the field rises
No matter how skilled you are, the traditional education system compels humans to have a tendency of trusting people with a degree or a certification. So the certification will add to your reputation, and will surely help you if you ever decide to start your own clinic, without any affiliation to any company or medical professional.
There are many institutes offering allied health courses, both offline and online – you have many choices. However, do not let that confuse you. This area requires you to choose the institute that itself is passionate towards the cause of a job like this, and has properly certified and well-experienced trainers; so you can actually learn from the course. Do thorough research about the institute’s background and placement history to get the whole picture.