Allied health refers to professionals in the healthcare industry that work as technicians, therapists or technologists. There are more than 5 million allied health professionals in the United States.
More than 200 careers make up allied health, including physical therapy, dental hygiene, respiratory therapy and athletic training. The careers focus on patient health, which can be a direct or indirect responsibility for the allied health professional.
The education required for allied health professionals varies based on category. Technicians commonly attend school for approximately 2 years and are required to be supervised by therapists or technologists. Therapists and technologists undergo more extensive educational programs, with some resulting in doctorate degrees.