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Published: March 1, 2011

Allied health professions

The vocations in health care that provide direct supportive services to doctors and dentists. Among those in the allied health professions are dental assistants and dental hygienists, dieticians, emergency medical technicians (paramedics), midwives, hospital pharmacists, registered and practical nurses, opticians, physicians’ assistants, a wide range of therapists (including occupational, physical, respiratory and speech) and an even wider range of technicians (electrocardiograph, medical laboratory, medical record, radiologic [X-ray], surgical, ultrasound and so on). Formal education and training for each of the allied health professions ranges from on-the-job training programs to formal academic programs in two- and four-year colleges and universities. Many programs require only certificates of completion; others require associate, bachelor’s and even master’s degrees.