Study Allied Health in Australia

Australia is awash with opportunity for highly skilled Allied Health professionals, so why not choose Australia to pursue your studies in Allied Health?

Study Allied Health in Australia

Australia is unique, with its diversity of communities from the outback, its beaches, large cities and small rural and remote communities. With an excellent balance of public healthcare and a thriving private health sector, Australia has achieved what many others have yet to achieve-quality, comprehensive healthcare and choice for all Australians.

The Allied Health professions are becoming increasingly important in providing quality health care for all age groups. With the growth of chronic disease and ageing populations in the developed world, the opportunities for a rewarding and interesting career in one of the many professions within allied health are vast. Allied Health professionals work in a broad range of settings, including acute hospital facilities, community health centres, schools and education institutions, sporting facilities and industry and corporate locations. As well as working in the public sector, many allied health professionals successfully establish their own private clinics.

Your initial qualifications in allied health are just the starting point for a varied and interesting career. There are many specialist streams within the individual allied health professions that allow you to specialise in an area of interest; for example, animal physiotherapy. Australian universities offer many postgraduate courses in allied health specialties, as well supporting strong research programs that encourage students to gain higher research degrees.

There is a range of interesting professions and career prospects that are considered to be allied health including the following professions;

  • Clinical Exercise Physiologists
  • Dentists
  • Dieticians and Nutritionists
  • Exercise Physiologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Optometry and Orthoptics
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Psychologists
  • Podiatrists
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • Radiation Technology and Medical Imaging
  • Social Workers
  • Speech Pathologists

There are currently 39 Universities in Australia within various locations - rural, regional and metropolitan areas - and many of them offer allied health programs. Your studies in any of the allied health disciplines will involve foundational science appropriate to your profession, simulated clinical training in a variety of clinical training laboratories and hands on placement in a variety of clinical facilities that include hospital and community settings in both the private and public sectors. Many Australian universities have developed clinical placement opportunities in rural and remote locations where you gain diverse and valuable clinical experience in an interesting location.

The Australian Council of Pro Vice Chancellors and Deans of Health Sciences (ACPDHS) is the peak forum for those Australian universities that provide undergraduate education in clinical allied health sciences. Member universities provide entry level awards in at least three of the Allied Health disciplines. Currently 12 of these university's across Australia and New Zealand can provide a unique location to study allied health degrees.

With over 65 different allied health courses offered in 22 universities, there is a lot of choice in what and where you may study. All of the universities in the State capital cities offer allied health degrees, but if you are interested in seeing more of rural Australia, then a number of regional universities from James Cook University in tropical North Queensland to Charles Sturt University and the University of New England in rural New South Wales offer a broad range of allied health degrees, with a focus on rural and remote practice. Australia's population is just over 20 million people. The health of populations living in rural and remote areas is worse than those living in capital cities and other metropolitan areas. Mortality and illness levels increase as the distance from metropolitan centres increases. There is a high demand for allied health professionals in rural and remote Australia and with exceptional growth in recent years, a diverse range of new study options have been introduced.

All allied health degrees in Australia are subject to accreditation by their respective professional accrediting organisations which ensures that current degrees reflect modern practice within the profession and that high standards of teaching and research are maintained. Australian graduates in the allied health professions are well regarded internationally and work all around the globe.

Dentists provide general and emergency dental care to eligible adults in Adult clinics and support and supervision to dental therapists in Child and Youth clinics. Dentists work within the dental team who work together to provide care for a patient. Other members of the dental team include dental assistants, dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists, dental technicians and dental receptionists. Employment prospects for dentists are excellent, particularly in metropolitan areas. Registered dentists work in private practice, public sector clinics, defence forces, teaching and research or specialty practice.

Dieticians and nutritionists hold careers in hospitals, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centres, or offices of physicians and other health practitioners. State and local government agencies provide additional jobs-mostly in correctional facilities, health departments, and other publichealth- related areas. Some dieticians and nutritionists are employed in special food services, an industry made up of firms providing food services on contract to facilities such as colleges and universities, airlines, correctional facilities, and company cafeterias. Other careers in public and private educational services, community care facilities for the elderly (which includes assisted-living facilities), individual and family services, and home health care services. Some dieticians are self-employed, working as consultants to facilities such as hospitals and nursing care facilities or providing dietary counselling to individuals.

Exercise Physiologists work with clients with injury, chronic disease and complex care needs and have a wide range of career opportunities with: private clinical exercise physiology practices; group practice with allied health professionals; case management for medical insurance organisations; occupational health and safety; sports training and rehabilitation; health and fitness management; and research and development.

Physiotherapy is a growing profession and in high demand, particularly in rural and remote areas and in indigenous communities. Physiotherapists are health professionals whose focus is restoring function to improve patient's quality of life. They assess and diagnose problems with human movement, plan and administer treatment and or minimise dysfunction after sickness or injury. Physiotherapists can work in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation units, community health centres, schools, research, organisational and occupational health units, and aged care services, defence forces, in private practice and sports medicine clinics.

Occupational therapists are health professionals who assist people to overcome limitations caused by injury or illness, psychological and emotional difficulties, developmental delay or the effects of ageing. Occupational therapists are in demand in Australia and can pursue careers in private practice, in hospitals and medical rehabilitation units, community health centres, occupational health centres, aged care facilities, vocational rehabilitation units, independent living centres, schools and pharmacies. Many occupational therapists also travel and work overseas.

Pharmacists are key members in the health care team because of their specialist knowledge in the use and application of medications and their communications with patients. They are in an excellent position to provide valuable information on the formulation of dosage forms of drugs and how this relates to drug product efficacy. Pharmacists are also able to provide patients with information on the appropriate storage of medications which is of particular importance in tropical climates. In addition, because of their understanding of the functioning of body systems and the impact of disease on these systems, they are able to provide insight into disease management. Accessibility often results in pharmacists being the first members of the healthcare team contacted by patients and thus they are important primary health care providers. In this role they are able to provide advice to patients on their health in both community and hospital pharmacies. Pharmacists are found working predominantly within community and hospital pharmacies. Other areas of employment are industrial pharmacy, pharmacy administration, research and education.

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes. Graduates who have completed a APS accredited program can progress to careers as psychologists in private practice, government policy development, health and allied health, education, human resource management, research institutions, criminal justice system and correctional facilities. Graduates of some non accredited courses in psychology can pursue a diverse range of careers in government and human service organisations, business corporations, and the health sector.

Podiatrists deal with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs. In order to facilitate enhanced clinical care, podiatrists establish and maintain collaborative relationships with other health care providers, often working within a site-based, multidisciplinary team. Podiatrists work in a variety of locations including community health centres, private practice, hospitals, sports medicine clinics and aged care facilities.

Prosthetics and orthotics is the clinical discipline related to the provision of prostheses (artificial limbs) to people with amputations and orthoses (supportive devices) to people with musculoskeletal weakness or neurological disorders. The role of the prosthetist/orthotist is a clinical one, with responsibilities including: patient assessment, prescription and supply of prostheses and orthoses, caseload management, design fabrication, fitting and alignment of prostheses and orthoses, and the monitoring and review of the devices used by their clients. The prosthetist/orthotist is an integral member of the health care team who has a clinical, technical, advisory and educational role.

Radiation Technology. Radiographers use radiation equipment to produce images of the tissues, organs, bones, and vessels of the body, as prescribed by physicians, to assist in the diagnosis of disease or injury. Most graduates pursue careers as radiographers and work in collaboration with radiologists and other specialist medical practitioners to provide patients with a range of investigative examinations. Radiographers work in medical imaging departments within the public or private health care system and in private radiology practices and clinics. Although many graduates pursue a career in general radiography and computed tomography, opportunities exist to specialise in ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, mammography and management.

Social Workers are professionals who assist people with personal issues so they can reach their full potential. Social workers are committed to working with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in society. Social workers are found in either human services or in social policy research and development. They work for government agencies and communities, or work in private practice, providing counselling and support services.

Speech Pathologists focus on improving communication and or swallowing skills to improve the quality of life for people of all ages. Speech pathologists can pursue rewarding careers in a wide range of settings including: early childhood agencies, school education departments, community health centres, hospitals rehabilitation units, nursing homes, mental health services, specialist disability agencies, private practice and university research.

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