Factsheet, Allied Health 2017

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Source: National Health Workforce Data Sets (NHWDS), 2017

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners are registered healthcare practitioners who provide clinical services and patient care with a focus on culturally safe practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They work collaboratively within multidisciplinary healthcare teams to achieve better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, and play a key role in facilitating relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and other health practitioners.

To gain registration, practitioners must complete a minimum 12-month Certificate IV program of study approved by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Allied Health Practitioners

The workforce survey asks practitioners in all professions if they identify as an Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person. These practitioners are collectively presented in this factsheet as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health practitioners. All allied health professions are included other than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, who are presented in a separate Factsheet.

Chinese Medicine Practitioners

Chinese Medicine Practitioners are registered healthcare practitioners who may practise in one or more divisions of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine or Chinese herbal dispensing.

Persons seeking to gain registration must complete a minimum four year undergraduate, or three year postgraduate master program of study approved by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia.

Chiropractors

Chiropractors diagnose and treat back pain and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractic treatments may include manipulation, massage or advice about movement.

To gain registration as a chiropractor, practitioners must complete a minimum five-year undergraduate or three-year postgraduate Master program of study approved by the Chiropractic Board of Australia.

Dental Hygienists

Dental Hygienists are registered healthcare practitioners who work within a structured professional relationship with a dentist to provide oral health assessment, diagnosis, treatment, management, and education for the prevention of oral disease. This may include periodontal/gum treatment, preventive services and other oral care.

To gain registration as a dental hygienist, practitioners must complete a minimum two year advanced diploma, or three year undergraduate program of study approved by the Dental Board of Australia.

Dental Practitioners

The Dental Board of Australia registers Dentists, Oral Health Therapists, Dental Hygienists, Dental Therapists and Dental Prosthetists. These divisions are collectively presented in this factsheet as Dental Practitioners. The qualifications required for each division of Dental Practitioners are included in the individual division’s factsheet.

Dental Prosthetists

Dental prosthetists are registered healthcare practitioners who provide education, assessment, treatment, management and provision of removable dentures, and flexible, removable mouthguards used for sporting activities. Dental prosthetists collaborate with referring dentists and specialist dentists to ensure proper fitting and maintenance of dental prostheses.

To gain registration as a dental prosthetist, practitioners must complete a minimum three year undergraduate, or one year postgraduate program of study approved by the Dental Board of Australia.

Dental Therapists

Dental therapists are registered healthcare practitioners who work within a structured professional relationship with a dentist to provide oral health assessment, diagnosis, treatment, management and preventive services. This may include performing and interpreting dental x-rays, dental examinations, making dental impressions and routine dental treatment. Dental Therapists generally treat patients under the age of 18, unless they have completed further training.

To gain registration as a dental therapist, practitioners must complete a minimum three year undergraduate program of study approved by the Dental Board of Australia.

Dentists

Dentists are registered healthcare practitioners who may practise all parts of dentistry within their competency and training. They provide assessment, diagnosis, treatment, management and preventive services to patients of all ages.

To gain registration as a dentist, a practitioner must complete a minimum four year undergraduate, or four year postgraduate master program of study approved by the Dental Board of Australia. Further training is required for specialisation.

Oral Health Therapists

Oral Health Therapists are registered healthcare practitioners with dual qualifications as a dental therapist and dental hygienist. They work within a structured professional relationship with a dentist to provide oral health assessment, diagnosis, treatment, management and preventive services. This may include fillings, tooth extraction, oral health promotion, periodontal/gum treatment, and other care to promote healthy oral behaviours. Oral Health Therapists generally treat patients under the age of 18, unless they have completed further training.

To gain registration as an oral health therapist, practitioners must complete a minimum three year undergraduate program of study approved by the Dental Board of Australia.

Medical Radiation Practitioners

Medical radiation practitioners are registered healthcare practitioners who perform diagnostic imaging studies on patients, plan and administer radiation treatments, or prepare and administer nuclear medicine. There are three divisions of practice for medical radiation practitioners:

  • nuclear medicine technology
  • radiation therapy
  • diagnostic radiography

To gain registration, medical radiation practitioners must complete a minimum three-year undergraduate, or two-year postgraduate Master program of study approved by the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia.

Occupational therapists

Occupational therapists are registered health practitioners who work with people to improve their health and wellbeing, with a focus on physical and mental health that may be related to a person’s injury or illness, or to an accident or developmental impairment. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in everyday life.

To gain registration as an occupational therapist, practitioners must complete a minimum four-year undergraduate, or two-year postgraduate Master program of study approved by the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia.

Optometrists

Optometrists are registered healthcare practitioners trained to diagnose vision problems, prescribe optical appliances, and treat a range of eye conditions.

To gain registration as an optometrist, practitioners must complete a five year undergraduate, a five year combined undergraduate/Masters (or 3.5 year accelerated program), or a four-year Master program of study approved by the Optometry Board of Australia.

Osteopaths

Osteopaths are registered healthcare practitioners who provide direct manual therapy interventions including exercise prescription and lifestyle advice to improve movement, reduce pain and manage and/or treat a range of physical impairments.

To gain registration as an osteopath, practitioners must complete a minimum five-year undergraduate, or four-year combined undergraduate/ Master program of study, approved by the Osteopathy Board of Australia.

Pharmacists

Pharmacists are registered healthcare practitioners who prepare and dispense medicines, consult with patients and other practitioners on drug selection and administration, and work in the research, development and manufacture of medicines. In a community setting, pharmacists also advise patients on over the counter medicines and medical aids (such as blood glucose monitoring equipment).

To gain registration as a pharmacist, practitioners must complete must complete a minimum four year undergraduate, or two-year postgraduate Master program of study approved by the Pharmacy Board of Australia.

Physiotherapists

Physiotherapists are registered healthcare practitioners whose focus is on structure and movement of the human body. They work with people of all ages to improve physical mobility and movement related to sports injuries, general musculoskeletal conditions neurological and respiratory conditions. They work across the spectrum from health prevention, acute and rehabilitation.

To gain registration as a physiotherapist, practitioners must complete a minimum four-year undergraduate or two-year postgraduate Master program of study approved by the Physiotherapy Board of Australia.

Podiatrists

Podiatrists are registered healthcare practitioners trained to assess, diagnose and treat foot, ankle, and lower limb problems. Podiatrists treat biomechanical, pain related, and skin conditions as well as assisting in the management of chronic conditions such as poor circulation, and conditions affecting toenails.

To gain registration as a podiatrist, practitioners must complete a minimum three-year undergraduate or two-year postgraduate Master program of study approved by the Podiatry Board of Australia. Further training is required for the registration in the specialty of podiatric surgery.

Psychologists

Psychologists are registered healthcare practitioners trained in human behaviour and study the brain, memory, learning and processes around human development. Psychological treatments can be used to help individuals, families, groups and organisations.

To gain registration as a psychologist, practitioners must complete a minimum four year program of study approved by the Psychology Board of Australia, followed by further approved postgraduate study and/or internship.