Allied Healthcare Careers

The landscape of healthcare is vast and multifaceted, encompassing a variety of professionals who work together to provide comprehensive and holistic patient care. Among these professionals are those in allied healthcare, a term that refers to a diverse range of roles that support and complement the work of doctors and nurses. If you are considering a career as a Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN) and want to compare it to other entry-level allied healthcare careers, look no further. Below, we explore the world of allied healthcare, drawing comparisons between LPN/LVNs and several allied healthcare careers, including Medical Assistant (MA), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Phlebotomist, Dental Assistant, and Pharmacy Technician.

What Is an Allied Healthcare Career?

Allied healthcare is a broad term that includes a variety of healthcare professions outside of medicine and nursing. These professionals play crucial roles in patient care, often working closely with doctors and nurses to ensure the well-being of patients. Allied healthcare encompasses a range of roles that are often considered entry-level, and have differing educational and certification requirements. These roles are essential for the smooth functioning of healthcare facilities and contribute significantly to patient outcomes.

LPN vs. Other Allied Healthcare Careers

LPNMedical AssistantCNADental AssistantPharmacy TechnicianPhlebotomist
Education1-2 years of training1-2 years of training or diplomaBrief training programOn-the-job training or formal educationFormal education programTraining program and certification
TasksPatient care, administer medication, assist with proceduresClinical and administrative tasks, patient vitals, medication administration under supervisionDirect patient care, activities of daily living, vital signs measurementAssist with dental procedures, take X-rays, and administrative tasksDispense medications, manage inventory, interact with customersDraw blood, maintain sample integrity, interact with patients
Work SettingHospitals, nursing homes, clinicsMedical offices, clinics, hospitalsVarious healthcare settingsDental offices, clinics, hospitalsRetail and hospital pharmaciesHospitals, clinics, diagnostic laboratories
Average Salary$54,620$ 40,700$ 36,220$44,820$37,790$ 40,580
Certification RequirementsNCLEX-PN examOptional certification availableCNA certification requiredOptional certification availableCertification may be requiredCertification may be required

Medical Assistant

Medical Assistants play a crucial role in healthcare settings by supporting both administrative and clinical functions. On the administrative side, they may schedule appointments, maintain patient records, and handle billing tasks. In the clinical realm, they assist healthcare professionals by taking vital signs, preparing patients for examinations, and explaining treatment procedures. The versatility of Medical Assistants makes them valuable team members who contribute to the smooth operation of medical offices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

Learn more about how to become a Medical Assistant.

Certified Nursing Assistant

Certified Nursing Assistants provide essential care to patients in various healthcare settings, particularly in long-term care facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes. CNAs assist patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating, and help with mobility and range of motion exercises. They also monitor and record vital signs, communicate with patients to understand their needs, and report observations to the nursing staff. CNAs play a pivotal role in enhancing the overall well-being and comfort of patients under their care.

Learn more about how to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.


Phlebotomists specialize in drawing blood from patients for diagnostic testing, blood donation, or research purposes. They are skilled in using a variety of techniques to collect blood samples, ensuring accuracy and patient comfort. Phlebotomists must also maintain sterile environments, properly label specimens, and organize collected samples for transportation to laboratories. Their precise and compassionate approach is crucial in reducing patient anxiety and ensuring the integrity of blood samples, ultimately contributing to accurate medical diagnoses.

Learn more about how to become a Phlebotomist.

Dental Assistant

Dental Assistants work closely with dentists to provide essential support in dental procedures and patient care. They prepare examination rooms, sterilize instruments, and assist dentists during treatments. Dental Assistants also take and process X-rays, educate patients on oral hygiene practices, and manage appointment scheduling and billing. Their role is integral to the efficient functioning of dental practices, contributing to a positive patient experience and the overall success of dental healthcare teams.

Learn more about how to become a Dental Assistant.

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technicians play a vital role in the pharmaceutical sector by assisting pharmacists in dispensing medications, managing inventory, and providing customer service. They measure and package medications, maintain accurate records, and ensure that prescriptions are filled correctly. Pharmacy Technicians may also answer customer inquiries, process insurance claims, and collaborate with healthcare professionals to coordinate patient care. Their attention to detail and knowledge of pharmaceutical procedures contribute to the safe and effective distribution of medications in various healthcare settings, including retail pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics.

Learn more about how to become a Pharmacy Technician.

Last Updated/Verified: Feb 13, 2024