Careers in Health
Know what is involved in an allied health assistance career and start your journey with one of our online health study options
As technology and medicine advance, we see people living healthy lives longer than ever before. Along with this, not only do we see young people taking measures to better prepare their bodies for old age, we also see the elderly population requiring services in abundance.
As doctors try to maximise their time, routine tasks are passed on to assistants and administrative staff, enabling medics to see more patients in the same length of time, and focusing their efforts on more complex and challenging patients.
The demand for Health Assistants is on the rise and medical centres, health clinics and rest homes everywhere also require qualified management and administration personnel to run successful businesses. While many healthcare services are not for profit, these businesses still need to run efficiently and effectively in order to maximise budgets and services provided.
To improve and maintain high levels of care and service provision, hospitals, clinics and other health practices search for qualified staff at every level. So, if you’re looking to commence online health study or if you’re aiming to qualify for a practice management position, now is the perfect time to start your career in health.
With plenty of opportunities throughout Australia, whether you’re just starting out in the workforce, already have some experience or simply need a career change, this is the time to take the next step towards a career in health. Remember, there are opportunities both in the private and public sector, not only at medical centres, hospitals and clinics but also at diagnostic, rehabilitation and alternative medicine practices and facilities.
The healthcare sector offers plenty of part-time and casual positions, as well as some full-time openings, so whether you’re looking for a role that suits an already busy schedule or you wish to dedicate yourself to a health practice on a full-time basis, you’re sure to find a career in health that works for you.
If you think you could take part in this growing industry, read on and find out more about the possible roles and career options available to you, what they entail, and some career and industry prospects and insights.
What do Healthcare Assistants do?
Healthcare Assistants work under the supervision of a qualified specialist or health professional, usually a nurse. They work very closely with patients to help them get back on their feet.
Within a hospital or clinic, Healthcare Assistants’ work can be a little more focused on keeping things tidy and clean as part of infection control.
Some Healthcare Assistants choose to specialise in certain fields and may also work with the elderly or people with disabilities. In these cases, they often work within the patient’s home and their duties will vary, revolving mostly around keeping the patient comfortable, checking their blood pressure, temperature and pulse, and keeping them company.
The work is very demanding, both physically and emotionally, but it’s also extremely rewarding.
Most healthcare assistance professionals are used to working night shifts and public holidays, as these options provide them with better pay thanks to a greater demand for their services.
Daily duties of a Health Assistant
Daily activities of Health Assistants vary greatly depending on where they work.
If working at a hospital in which patients stay overnight, Healthcare Assistants will be responsible for observing, monitoring and recording patients' conditions, taking temperatures, pulse, blood pressure and weight, communicating with patients, relatives and other health professionals, assisting health professionals with clinical duties, and checking and ordering supplies.
If working at a clinic or medical centre, they might be responsible for tidying up, preparing consultation rooms for patients, drawing blood for tests, and cleaning and disinfecting both wounds and instruments in order to avoid the spread of disease.
If you choose to specialise in caring for elderly people or people with disabilities, and work in the patients’ homes, your duties become more personal, promoting positive nutritional, mental and physical health, keeping records, preventing and controlling infection, administering food and medicine intake, assisting patients with personal hygiene, and providing patients with overall reassurance, comfort and safety.
Important skills for an allied health career
Those who wish to pursue a career in health, starting with health assistance, can greatly benefit from the following traits:
- Patience: As Healthcare Assistants work closely with patients under treatment or rehabilitation programs, they have to deal with people when they’re at their most vulnerable, so patience and sympathy are key. Additionally, if they choose a career in health that specialises in elderly people or the disabled, it’s crucial that they’re extremely patient and kind.
- Organisation: As they need to follow many procedures and keep on top of patient records, it’s essential that Health Assistants are extremely organised.
- Communication: Healthcare Assistants have to communicate with patients, families, carers, doctors and other health professionals, both verbally and in written form. It is therefore vital that they’re expert communicators.
- Empathy: The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and empathise with other’s situations is a great trait to have if you’re working closely with medical patients. Understanding why patients are moody, whiny or cranky, and then dealing with that by trying to help and maximise their comfort are some of the basic everyday tasks for Health Assistants.
Where can I study health?
Foundation Education offers a great variety of online health study options to help you get started with your allied health career.
Our flexible courses fit in with your schedule so you can study whenever and wherever you like.
We take pride in providing our students with a top quality support system, with real people with real industry experience ready to help you any time.
We also include professional placement components in our courses, which will help you present as a great applicant in job applications because you’ll not only have a nationally recognised qualification but also some much valued professional experience.
What to expect from a Health Assistant career
This growing industry is going to be the single largest contributor to employment growth in the next few years so you can rest assured that once you attain a nationally recognised qualification, and complete the required professional placements, you’ll be a highly employable candidate for the health sector.
Whether you choose to specialise with certain patients or assist at hospitals or health clinics, working closely with patients – helping them get back on their feet and returning to their normal lives – is an extremely rewarding experience.
If you’re a caring person and want to put your natural traits and recently gained skills to good use, a career in health is an amazing option that allows you to have a significant impact on other people’s lives.
Healthcare and social assistance: industry insights
The healthcare and social assistance sector is projected to be the largest contributor to employment growth throughout the country, increasing by more than 16% by the end of 2018.
This is great news for those just starting their careers or for those re-entering the job market, as employers will be looking for candidates who are formally qualified and looking for opportunities to grow as professionals.
Employment opportunities also lie ahead for those seeking part-time and casual positions – new mums returning to workforce, for example – as these are abundant at the moment. Full-time opportunities are available as well, though these usually require professionals to have some previous medical or administrative experience.
Practice Managers: professional prospects
The health industry, including Practice Managers and related positions, should see great growth and a huge increase in employment opportunities in the near future.
Practice Managers will see a 16% growth in job openings by the end of 2020*, and those already in the health sector wishing to upskill should take advantage of this fruitful period to do so.
Practice Managers working on a full-time basis earn an average of $1100 each week**.
Opportunities for employment in the health sector are found in most abundance in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, while South Australia and Tasmania also provide some job openings.
What does an allied health career involve?
Healthcare is an extremely broad and diversified industry, and those qualified for an administrative role can find opportunities in both public and private health, at facilities providing diagnostic, rehabilitation and/or preventive services, as well as alternative medicine practices.
The healthcare industry also offers great flexibility of employment. There are opportunities for those who need a full-time position, as well as those looking for part-time or casual work.
This industry also provides opportunities for workers at all career levels, from entry-level to experienced professionals and those returning to the workforce.
As a wide and varied sector, there are many different positions and employment opportunities in healthcare.
Some of the potential roles in the health sector include:
- Medical Receptionist
- Health Services Program Manager
- Allied Health Assistant
- Practice Manager
Your career in health starts here
Career option 1: Health Services Administrator
As health facilities and practices are still, at the end of the day, businesses, it’s important that Health Services Administrators are hired. They have an understanding of business administration as well as knowledge of the health services sector.
Ensuring administration tasks are performed efficiently, Health Administrators are an important part of maintaining a health service practice’s functionality. Their duties include maintaining client records, scheduling appointments, processing payments, operating business software programs and other administrative tasks.
The below courses can help you achieve the necessary qualifications to perform this role.
- BSB31115 Certificate III in Business Administration (Medical)
- HLT37315 Certificate III in Health Administration
- HLT47315 Certificate IV in Health Administration
- HLT43015 Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance
Career option 2: Allied Health Assistant
As specialists choose to spend their valuable time with patients to provide the best level of care and focus on the most important and complex cases rather than wasting time on tasks that could be performed by another member of staff, more often than not we see Allied Health Assistants perform routine tasks and carry out prescribed treatment with patients.
Allied Health Assistants usually work very closely with patients, focusing on their individual goals in the fields of rehabilitation, physiotherapy, podiatry, speech therapy and nutrition, among other areas. They provide program-related support to allied health professionals and assist the administration team with daily duties to ensure the full functionality of an allied health practice.
The below course can help you achieve the necessary qualifications to perform this role.
Career option 3: Practice Manager
Health institutions, such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, rehabilitation centres, etc., are all businesses. And even though they’re commonly not-for-profit organisations, they still need to run effectively so that funding is maximised and resources aren’t wasted. Often, even if they are not for profit, they still need to be profitable enough that they can “run themselves”. That’s why it’s so important that talented and qualified Practice Managers are involved.
As the person responsible for the efficient and smooth running of a health service practice, Practice Managers perform key managerial duties and delegate responsibilities and tasks to other admin staff. They ensure resources are adequately allocated, that customer service is provided to the highest possible standard, and that the business runs smoothly.
The below course can help you achieve the necessary qualifications to perform this role.
Disclaimer: Please note that statistics, industry and profession insights and prospects were sourced from: