Pre-health professions

Allied health professionals provide therapeutic treatment, diagnostic procedures and work in conjunction with physicians.

Allied Health Professionals generally fall into two categories: therapeutic care and technicians.

Doctors of Medicine (in any field) are considered independent practitioners and diagnose, while allied health professionals do not diagnose but provide therapeutic treatment, diagnostic procedures and work in conjunction with physicians.

The Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions defines allied health as the segment of the health care field “that delivers services involving the identification, evaluation and prevention of diseases and disorders; dietary and nutrition services; and rehabilitation and health systems management".


What is the best major?

For most health professions, the major isn't nearly as important as getting the pre-requisite courses and experience in the field. Schools like to have people with diverse interests and backgrounds, so we really want to emphasize that students should study what they enjoy, what inspires and excites them. Find your passion.

All the CPHHS majors are good fits for health professions for a number of reasons, and some include many pre-requisites for certain professional programs.

For example, while Public Health/Health Promotion Health Behavior may not include any of the sciences needed for med school, knowing the issues around population and global health is invaluable to work in medicine, and the major has enormous room for elective courses to which your pre-reqs/sciences can be applied.

The Nutrition Health Sciences option has a large majority of the pre-medical competency courses built in to the degree, but not a lot of extra room for other minors, electives, etc.

Look at them all and see which suits your interests best.


What health profession are you interested in?

For students in the CPHHS, the most common allied health careers students are interested in are: Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Nursing and Physician Assistant.

Kinesiology majors can choose to add the Pre-Therapy and Allied Health option, that does offer professional tracks for PA, PT, PT, Medicine, and Nursing pre-requisites. Please refer to the OSU course catalog or Kinesiology undergraduate major page for more information.

While the two most common medical paths our students pursue are Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO), there are other types of doctors that have different schooling (see below), shorter education paths and therefore lower financial burden, and more often than not, greater life/work balance, so be sure to really look at the different fields.




Occupational Therapy and Occupational Therapy Assistant


Physical Therapy and Physical Therapy Assistant


Physician Assistant


Pre-Med information




Another great resource for information on careers, salaries, projected growth and education is the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


More examples of allied health professions

The following is just a sampling from almost 100 different allied health professions and some information about the careers: