About allied health
The allied health sector represents a broad range of health professionals who are not doctors, dentists, nurses or midwives. Allied health professions are regulated through either a national agency or self-regulation.
What allied health professionals do
Allied health professionals use evidence-based practices to prevent, diagnose and treat various conditions and illnesses. They often work in multidisciplinary health teams to provide specialised support to suit an individual’s needs.
There is no universally accepted definition of allied health. Different definitions are used internationally and across Australia.
Generally, the Australian Government recognises allied health professions that meet the following criteria:
- all practising professionals have a university level qualification of Australian Qualification Framework level 7 or higher in a recognised allied health field, that is accredited by their relevant national accreditation body
- a national professional organisation with clearly defined membership criteria
- clear national entry level competency standards and assessment processes
- autonomy of practice and
- a defined scope of practice.
Types of allied health professionals
The allied health workforce in Australia is regulated by either:
- national regulation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra)
- self-regulation by a professional association that is responsible for certifying qualifications, setting and maintaining standards and overseeing professional development.
Ahpra-regulated allied health professions
- Chinese medicine practitioners
- Medical radiation practitioners
- Occupational therapists
Self-regulated allied health professions
- Art therapists
- Exercise physiologists
- Genetic counsellors
- Music therapists
- Rehabilitation counsellors
- Social workers
- Speech pathologists
There are many other health practitioners who work closely with allied health professionals (and other primary care providers) to improve the health of the Australian population. Some examples include:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners offer culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Asthma educators support patients and their families to better manage their asthma care and minimise its impact on their quality of life.
- Credentialed diabetes educators assist people with, and at risk of, developing diabetes by empowering them to effectively self-manage their care and treatment.
- Myotherapists provide physical therapy to treat or prevent soft tissue pain and restricted joint movements.