Jobs in occupational therapy provide great career prospects

It is easy to think of health care professionals as coming in just two guises – doctors or nurses. But, today’s healthcare requires levels of specialisation in so many diverse of different specialists, often known as allied health professionals. In general, the allied health professions cover all those diagnostic, technical and therapeutic roles which are not performed by doctors or nurses. Allied health jobs can be found in fields as varied as dentistry and cardiology, elderly care and play therapy. Jobs in radiography, jobs in occupational therapy; the list is extensive, with each person playing a key part in a multidisciplinary team.

It is also a misconception that allied health professionals only undertake work delegated by medical consultants. In fact AHPs have their own case-loads, make their own professional diagnoses and assessments of the patient’s needs and often meet with patients alone, making it vital that they possess exemplary patient care skills.

Some AHPs will spend most of their time in a highly medicalised environment, for example theatre practitioners or those with jobs in radiography. Many other allied health jobs, for example music or play therapists are in a completely different setting, showing the array of opportunities in the allied health professions.

Given the broad range of careers in healthcare, it is unsurprising that different levels of qualification are needed for each role and different levels of specialisation and responsibility are also an option in most areas. With seniority, many allied health positions provide the additional opportunity of managing a team of specialist practitioners.

It is a well-known fact that the NHS is Britain’s biggest employer and AHPs make up around 60% of that work force. As well as looking for permanent jobs by the traditional method, AHPs also have a range of other options open to them. An entire industry has grown up around the recruitment of these vital members of the health care team. Agencies specialising in the allied health professions can locate locum positions and temporary cover options as well as finding permanent opportunities in both the NHS and private practice.  Agencies can be a valuable way of saving time when looking for allied health jobs, especially when considering work with a number of Primary Care Trusts as they gather a number of opportunities in one place. Their web-sites usually provide search options making job-hunting much simpler, so for instance, if a candidate is looking for jobs in radiography in East London, they are not obliged to trawl through jobs in occupational therapy or jobs in Glasgow. Some agencies will also know of openings which are not being publicised anywhere else so it can be worth contacting them, even if you are fairly sure of where you wish to work.

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