Clinical exercise and rehabilitation - Allied Health Assistance
Use your exercise science knowledge to work as an Allied Health Assistant (AHA). AHAs work under the guidance of health care professionals, often Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists. AHAs can also work in with occupational therapists (OTs), podiatrists, speech pathologists and nutrition councillors but these areas are less common for Exercise and Sport Science studnets/graduates. If you care about helping individuals improve their health then AHA is a very good option.
AHAs follow the programs devised by allied health professionals and often run small group rehabilitations sessions or assist Physios, AEPs or OTs in their role. The average salary is around $50,000 per annum. The work is in the health care sector and often related to rehabilitation programs, such as cardiac rehabilitation, orthopaedic rehab and aged care. AHAs will have basic knowledge of medical terms and the skills to adhere to infection control and occupational health and safety. Communication skills are essential and you need to be effective in liaising with health professionals and patients. For example you may need to encourage patients to complete treatment plans related to injury, illness or chronic disease.
AHAs may need to
-assist in administrative operations, reporting
Develop, implement and monitor health care standards
Liaise with patients
Support and assist Allied health practitioners
There is projected growth in AHA positions with an additional 9000 jobs created over past 7 years across Australia. There is no specific area they AHA work in but most likely, the work is in public and private hospitals, community health centres and rehabilitation centres.
Allied Health assistant
AHAs have skills in prescribing exercise to treat patients. They need to
- have skills in communication, patience, sensitivity and tact.
-have an ability to work in a team.
To give yourself the best opportunity to be job ready at the end of your degree, it is recommend that you:
Volunteer your time in opportunities that allow you to prescribe exercise or be exposed to prescribing exercise. This can be with healthy clientele, athletes or individuals with injury or disease
Attend Professional organisation events or seminars and set yourself a goal to meet two new people every time you attend
Seek paid work as an allied health assistant whilst you are studying
Allied Health Assistant qualifications are not directly taught at Deakin. However many students/ graduate obtain work as allied health assistants if they have experience in prescribing exercise. Therefore completing qualification in Cert II and cert IV in fitness will help. Some registrered training organisations offer certificates in allied health assistance but it is not mandated that you have this to work as an AHA. Many students obtain work as AHAs with a plan to go on to Clinical Exercise Physiology or physiotherapy. This gets them a ‘foot in the door’ in a clinical setting.