Allied and Complementary Healthcare
and Healthcare Administration
Allied health fields require intense dedication from those who work in them – which means that whether you’re assisting surgeons, caring for elderly patients, taking blood samples, providing diet guidance, operating radiology equipment or overseeing physical therapy programs, the advancement opportunity you’re looking for isn’t likely to fall into your lap. You can, however, take some steps online to expand your professional network, increase your employability and improve your understanding of the job market in your field. Here’s how.
Expand your network
The social networking sites you already use are great places to start. The Facebook group "Allied Health Professionals," for example, can bring you up to date on the latest allied health news, while the LinkedIn group "Allied Healthcare Professionals" is packed with active members. But keeping up to date isn’t the only reason to join discussions on pages like these – active participation can also lead to new friendships and business contacts, which can lead to unexpected job opportunities.
Google is also your friend when it comes to tracking down social-media groups, professional associations, certification providers and other career boosting sites. Start with some search strings like "allied health association" and "allied health certification" – or substitute your specialty for "allied health" to get even more specific results.
Join an association
Whether your specialty is nursing, surgical assistance or acupuncture, it’s likely to be worth your while to join a professional association dedicated to your job field. In exchange for a membership fee, you’ll gain access to a large group of other professionals who can clue you in to job opportunities and technological advancements in your area.
One of the most comprehensive professional associations in the allied health field is the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), whose site provides up-to-date information on continuing education, certifications, jobs, salaries, and career development. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) also offers loads of informational resources on education and job outlooks – along with a wide range of benefits for members, including legal assistance and certification opportunities.
Many professional associations organize conferences and tradeshows, where you can meet fellow specialists in person, and learn about the latest products and programs relevant to your field. Associations also often offer services like legal advocacy and continuing education – so Google for associations that cater to your subfield, check out what benefits they offer, and join one that’ll connect you with the resources you need to progress in your career.
Get certified – or more certified
Joining an association isn’t the only way to expand your knowledge and job options. Formal certifications also exist for many allied health specialties – in fact, you may have had to earn one just to land your current job – and many certification systems are multi-level, with higher-level certifications making you eligible for higher pay and more responsibility.
Some professional associations and organizations offer online education and testing for certifications – so you’ve got nothing to lose by applying for some free information. Even if you’d rather not invest in a certification course right now, you’ll still be able to get an idea of which courses could help advance your progress in your specialty.
Look into staffing firms
Once you’ve upped your education and gotten ready to make the leap to a new position, the next step is to seek out job openings relevant to your new training. One approach is to get in touch with staffing agencies such as Advanced Medical and Ardor Health Solutions, both of which specialize in a variety of allied health fields. Firms like these can even help you get certified and licensed in your specialty, which means more job opportunities for you.
While it’s true that many staffing agencies focus on clerical work, others specialize in upper-level placement, or in placement within specific allied health fields. And although some staffing agencies focus on certain geographical areas, others reach out to clients nationwide, or even worldwide.
The largest staffing companies are likely to have at least one office in your geographical area – or at least a willingness to discuss opportunities in your region. So send your resume to a few, set up a meeting or a call to discuss your career outlook, and see what they can do for you.
Explore job boards
While you’re waiting for a call back from a staffing agency, job boards dedicated to allied health fields can help you get a feel for what kinds of opportunities are out there. As you might expect, there’ll be intense competition for the most desirable positions listed on these sites, and many potential employers may never even return your emails – but you’ll still be gaining useful information about employers’ expectations of candidates; not to mention giving yourself a confidence boost by keeping the process moving.
The best of these job database sites, like NutritionJobs.com and ExerciseJobs.com, also offer additional tools – like salary reports and regional job outlooks – that can help you get an even clearer idea of how your subfield looks today. Sift through a little data, and you could discover a high-paying job market to which you’re willing to relocate, or a promising subfield into which you could shift. Again, the point here is that knowledge is power.
Even if all you do is set aside ten minutes each day to research certifications and send out resumes, doing something to further your allied health career is better than doing nothing at all. And when the right opportunity finally does appear, all the groundwork you’ve laid will make you all the more ready to seize it – and to know for certain that it’s right for you.
Nutrition Jobs — Job board for those working in nutrition.
Exercise Jobs — Job board focusing on exercise and physical therapy positions.
PharmiWeb — Large database of pharmaceutical-related jobs.
For more background information see also Riley Guide’s Medical Fields page. You may also be interested in some of the sources listed under Natural Sciences and Engineering. We also have information on Medical and Pharmaceutical Sales.