Healthcare entails 18 percent of the United States economy yet the demand for healthcare workers continues to grow as the population grows and a greater percentage live longer. Although some healthcare positions require only a certificate or associate degree, an increasing percentage of healthcare professions require either bachelor or graduate degrees.
Allied health professionals comprise nearly 60 percent of the healthcare workforce and entail the segment of the workforce that delivers services involving the prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of diseases and disorders; dietary and nutritional services; and health systems management. Allied health professionals work collaboratively with physicians, nurses, dentists, and pharmacists to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care.
Allied health professionals are specialists in medical evaluation and treatment, rehabilitation therapies, nutrition, medical technologies, and healthcare informatics. Athletic trainers, chiropractors, dental hygienists, diagnostic medical sonographers, emergency medical technicians, dietitians, medical technologists, occupational therapists, perfusionists, physical therapists, radiographers, respiratory therapists, and speech language pathologists make up just some of the allied health professionals working in healthcare in the U.S.
Allied healthcare providers require a broad understanding of the human body and the many factors that affect its function. Luther’s liberal arts education includes a cross-disciplinary program promoting analytical thinking and collaboration with peers from other majors. Participation in biology, chemistry, exercise science, mathematics, anthropology, psychology and physics courses, among others, will give students the chance to build a more diverse breadth of knowledge. This preparation is not only useful for those following the allied health sciences track, but for those and planning to continue onto careers in exercise physiology, kinesiology, and biomechanics, to name a few.
In addition to the allied health sciences track, your time at Luther will help build effective communication skills while you interact with faculty, your peers, and community members. At Luther, we view real-world settings as an essential aspect of learning. Because of Luther’s close connection with the members of Decorah, majors have access to hands-on internships and observation experiences in the community. This provides you with the opportunity to network with community members while practicing analytical thinking and problem-solving skills—all of which sets our students apart from others.
"The education I received at Luther was critical in my preparation for becoming a physical therapist.The relationships I made with classmates and the ability to connect and work hands on with my instructors allowed me to mature as a future member of the healthcare team. My knowledge of the anatomy and ability to communicate with athletes allowed me to seamlessly transition into the physical therapy curriculum and clinical rotations. Thank you to all of the current and past members of the Luther College Athletic Training program for making my time there so memorable."
—Jason Engelken, Physical Therapist
Winneshiek Medical Center, Decorah