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Allied Health Professionals

Allied Health Professionals play a crucial role in the elder care sector by providing a wide range of specialized healthcare services that support the well-being and independence of older adults. These professionals include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, dietitians, and social workers, among others. They work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals to assess and treat older adults’ physical, cognitive, and emotional needs, promoting their overall health and quality of life. Allied Health Professionals are an essential part of the interdisciplinary team that provides care and support to older adults in the elder care sector.

Quick Facts about Allied Health Professionals

  • Education: Depending on the profession, a four-year bachelorette or a master’s degree may be required.
  • English: An advanced level of English is required, usually Gr. 12 English or Canadian Language Benchmark 9-10
  • Pay: $$ – $$$
    Most Allied Health professionals year between $25 and $55 per hour depending on the occupation.
  • Job Opportunities: ★★
    Allied Health Professionals are high opportunity occupations, with the BC’s Labour Market Outlook projecting over 8,000 job openings over the next 10 years. 
  • Sample job description: Coming soon.

Allied Health Roles in the Seniors Care Sector

Physiotherapists are regulated health care professionals and work in the seniors care sector to help older adults improve their physical function and mobility. They assess their clients’ physical abilities, develop customized treatment plans, and provide exercises and therapy to improve their strength, balance, and flexibility. Physiotherapists may also help older adults manage chronic conditions and prevent falls. By promoting physical health and independence, physiotherapists play a vital role in improving the quality of life for older adults.

Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists are regulated health care professionals who help people to resume or maintain participation in a variety of tasks – their jobs, leisure and social activities, getting around, caring for themselves and their home, and much more. They assess their clients’ abilities and develop customized treatment plans to improve their functioning. Occupational therapists may also recommend adaptive equipment or modifications to maintain independence.

Social Worker
Social workers are regulated health professionals who work with individuals, families, groups and communities to improve individual and collective well-being. In the seniors care sector they provide clinical counselling to clients and their families, as well as education on issues related to adaptation to illness and disability, loss, grief, and bereavement, transition stress, protection of vulnerable adults, caregiver support and other topics.

Dietitian & Nutritionist
Dietitians are regulated health professionals who provide nutrition advice and support to seniors living in care. They work with the interdisciplinary care team to support older adults who have specific dietary needs and develop personalized nutrition plans to help them manage their health. They also work with seniors who have difficulty eating or swallowing and may provide recommendations  for modified textures or liquid diets to ensure that they are getting the nutrition they need. Through their work, Dietitians aim to improve seniors’ overall health and quality of life, and ensure that they are receiving the nutrients they need to stay healthy and active.

Recreation, Music and Art Therapists 
Recreation Therapists, Music Therapists and Art Therapists play an important role in the elder care sector by helping seniors maintain a good quality of life through engaging and enjoyable activities. They work with seniors who may be dealing with physical, cognitive, or emotional challenges, and create individualized plans for leisure and recreation activities, as well as art and music activities that address their unique needs and interests.

Regulatory Bodies

Many roles in Allied Health are regulated under the Health Professions Act or Social Workers Act of British Columbia. In order to practice these professions you have to meet the standards prescribed by the appropriate regulatory body. You can find a full list of regulatory bodies here. A few that may be helpful for you are listed below.

  • College of Dietitians of British Columbia
    The regulatory body in British Columbia that supports Registered Dietitians for the enhancement of safe, ethical and competent nutrition services in diverse practice environments. The college is not an education institution and it does not provide dietitian services.
  • College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia
    The College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia (CPTBC) is the organization that regulates physical therapists in British Columbia.
  • College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia
    The regulatory body that protects and serves the public by overseeing the profession of occupational therapy in the province. The COTBC gets its authority from provincial legislation, the BC Health Professions Act.
  • BC College of Social Workers
    The British Columbia College of Social Workers regulates the social work profession in British Columbia. The duty and objects of the College are to serve and protect the public by superintending the practice of social work in British Columbia. The College maintains an online registry of all social workers authorized to practice as Registered Social Workers.

Helpful Resources

There are many helpful resources to start your career  in support services in B.C.’s seniors care sector. Here are just a few:

  • Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants – Allied Health 
    The Career Paths program is a government subsidized resource that helps internationally educated health care professionals achieve their licensure or registration in British Columbia, including in newcomers with international experience as a Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Dietitian, Medical Lab Technician, or Veterinarian.
  • Facilitating Access to Skilled Talent (FAST)
    The FAST (Facilitating Access to Skilled Talent) Program helps immigrants and newcomers to launch their careers in Canada through self-paced, online employment preparation and competency assessment tools developed in partnership with Canadian employers. Take the FAST occupational assessment for Recreation Assistants today to learn how your skills compare to employer expectations.

Frequently Asked Questions

*coming soon*