FAQs about careers in the allied health professions
This page has some frequently asked questions about careers in the allied health professions.
- What are the allied health professions?
- How do I train to be an allied health professional?
- Is there financial help to support me while I’m training for a career in one of the allied health professions?
- Are there opportunities to work as an assistant in the allied health professions (AHP) and then train as a fully qualified AHP?
- What is the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?
- Can dietetic assistants be seconded onto a degree programme in dietetics?
- Can I use my interest in sport in the NHS?
Allied health professionals provide treatment and help rehabilitate adults and children who are ill, have disabilities or special needs, to live life as fully as possible. They often manage their own caseloads.
The training for each of these professions varies. For all, an approved programme of training is required and for most these are full-time and at undergraduate level. For some careers, part-time courses are offered and degree apprenticeship standards have been approved - enabling you to study for a degree part-time while being employed. It is possible to do an accelerated programmes after a relevant first degree for some AHPs, and for a few, postgraduate study is currently the only route in.
For more information about the profession and the training, explore the career that interests you:
- art therapist
- diagnostic radiographer
- music therapist
- occupational therapist
- operating department practitioner
- speech and language therapist
- therapeutic radiographer
For these professions, use our course finder to locate courses that lead to statutory registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for all professions except osteopaths and the General Osteopathic Council that regulates osteopaths. Statutory registration is a legal requirement to practice in the UK.
Is there financial help to support me while I’m training for a career in one of the allied health professions?
Are there opportunities to work as an assistant in the allied health professions (AHP) and then train as a fully qualified AHP?
Yes, there are opportunities to work in a variety of clinical support roles, such as a dietetic assistant, physiotherapy assistant, podiatry assistant, occupational therapy assistant, technical instructor, radiography assistant, orthotic technician, prosthetic technician and speech and language therapy assistant.
Depending on your role, your employer may then support you to train as a fully qualified AHP. Have a look at NHS Jobs for current vacancies.
No, there aren't opportunities to do this. You would need to do an approved undergraduate or masters programme. Use our course finder for details of these courses or visit our page about dietetic assistants for more information about what they do.
There are opportunities to work with patients who have received injuries through sport eg as a doctor specialising in this field or using sport as part of a programme of rehabilitation after an injury, illness or operation (e.g.physiotherapist, physiotherapy assistant, cardiac physiologist) and in promoting better health (eg health trainer).