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2021 Allied Health Professions Degree Guide

If you are interested in joining a career field that helps diagnose and treat specific medical problems, consider majoring in Allied Health Professions.

Allied Health professionals specialize in a specific area of the body or type of treatment to aid physicians in diagnosing and treating diseases. Students take classes in anatomy, microbiology, physiology, and health physics along with courses that are specific to the area of study you wish to pursue. Since Allied Health professionals work in a narrow niche of the medical world, you will spend most of your time taking classes that are pertinent to your concentration.

There are many areas students can specialize in. Some of the most popular are: Cardiovascular Technology, Emergency Medical Technology (EMT Paramedic), Medical Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care Therapy, Surgical Technology, Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Ultrasound Technician, Radiological Technology, Physician Assistant, Athletic Training, and many others.

Allied Health Professions Degrees Growing in Popularity

#15 Most Popular Major
50.3k Degrees Awarded
2.7% Increase in Graduates

Allied Health Professions was the 15th most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 50,338 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 2.7% increase in allied health degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 48,977.

There are 1,325 schools offering degrees in allied health professions in the United States. Our 2021 Best Colleges for Allied Health Professions ranking analyzes 96 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for allied health professions students. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of allied health programs later in this article.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Allied Health Professions

The Allied Health Professions major is rooted in science, making a background in biology, anatomy, and physiology helpful. Students who pursue this degree are strong critical and analytical thinkers since they must diagnose and devise a treatment plan for patients. Students also have strong communication and interpersonal skills as professionals interact daily with patients and must show compassion and understanding for people who are ill or concerned about procedures.

Allied Health professions are full time jobs in offices. Professionals usually work normal 40-hour workweeks, but may work holidays and weekends depending on the location of the job and medical emergencies.

Depending on the career path you intend to follow, you may only need an associate's degree to work in this field. However, you must be certified to practice. Certification requirements vary depending on the state, so it is best to research the requirements for the state you want to practice in.

Getting Accepted Into an Allied Health Professions Program

allied health professions degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. In addition to these basic allied health professions program qualifications, to serve in some allied health careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Allied Health Professions Degree Types

There are various different levels of allied health degrees. Allied Health Professions programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest allied health degree you can get. How long it takes to complete some common allied health degree levels is shown below.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

An associate's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to allied health, with approximately 38.8% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for allied health workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 40.8%
Bachelor’s Degree 17.7%
Post-Secondary Certificate 12.1%
Master’s Degree 7.7%
Some College Courses 5.9%

78.3% of allied health workers have at least a associate's. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in allied health professions careers have.

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This of course varies depending on which allied health career you choose.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Allied Health Graduate

Above Average Number of Jobs
$49.3k Average Starting Salary
20% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

There are many unique specializations within the Allied Health Professions field leading graduates to find jobs at a variety of locations. Graduates typically find work at hospitals, medical diagnostic centers, physician offices, or specialized offices.

High Growth Projected for Allied Health Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your allied health degree? Allied Health Professions careers are expected to grow 19.6% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to allied health professions.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Health Specialties Professors 294,000 25.9%
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics 285,400 15.1%
Respiratory Therapists 160,600 23.3%
Health Technologists and Technicians 152,900 19.6%
Physician Assistants 145,900 37.4%

Allied Health Degree Salary Potential

Allied Health Professions graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $49,305 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $4,400 to as high as $115,300. As you might expect, salaries for allied health graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.

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Highest Paid Allied Health Careers

Salaries for allied health professions graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers allied health grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Health Specialties Professors $122,320
Physician Assistants $108,430
Radiation Therapists $86,730
Nuclear Technicians $79,970
Nuclear Medicine Technologists $78,870

Getting Your Allied Health Professions Degree

With over 3,464 different allied health degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased allied health school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Allied Health Professions

One of 34 majors within the Health Professions area of study, Allied Health Professions has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Nursing 297,747
Health & Medical Administrative Services 48,644
Public Health 34,192
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 30,460
Rehabilitation & Therapeutic Professions 27,972

View All Allied Health Related Majors >

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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