Professional associations, organizations, and societies have grown up around each of the allied health professions and their thirty-two individual specialties. These organizations are great career resources for health professionals; they welcome student members, usually offering heavily discounted membership dues (often as low as $20 per year) and discounted prices on publications, seminars, and conferences.
In general, these organizations (there are over 100 of them) are excellent resources for professional networking, professional development programs, and job hunting as well as for finding opportunities to volunteer or participate in internship programs. Many professional organizations provide special training and development programs for student members who are undergraduates, graduate students, and fellows.
Professional organizations for the allied health professions
Among these specialty career paths, there are several for which demand is increasing at a significantly higher rate than the others. Those high-demand specialties include registered nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, and pharmacists. Each of these specialties has supporting organizations.
For registered nurses, the American Nurses Association's student members can use the career assessment tool, post resumes, and search for registered nurse jobs. Students also enjoy discounts on membership, periodicals, and training.
Physician assistants can turn to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, where membership benefits include its Job Link, guidance for finding physician assistant jobs, a student loan consolidation service, and other professional resources.
Physical therapists can find help at the American Physical Therapy Association. Students can participate in the association's Student Assembly and national student enclaves, receive student-focused newsletters, network with fellow members, and apply for APTA internships. Professional resources are also available for new therapists.
For pharmacists, the American Pharmacists Association provides professional development programs, professional networking opportunities, and access to news, journals, and breakthroughs in the pharmaceutical field. The APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists helps students navigate through pharmacy school, explore careers in pharmacy, find pharmacist jobs, and connect with others in the profession.
The twenty-eight additional specialties have their own respective organizations. The American Medical Association (AMA) provides a directory.
Information about allied health careers and programs
For information about allied health careers and programs and health-care salary ranges, visit the American Medical Association's website. Additional information is offered by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Additional career resources are available at Explore Health Careers and the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions.
A non-profit, volunteer organization, Health Professionals Network, is an educational forum interested in an interdisciplinary perspective of health care delivery.
While looking for information about futures in the allied health professions, be certain to consider how certification, licensing, and accreditation fit in. Accreditation information can be found at the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
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