North Carolina AHEC Program
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Sheps Center Releases 2011 Allied Health Job Vacancy Tracking Report

Allied health professionals make up the largest proportion (35%) of the health care workforce in North Carolina (Figure 1), yet there is limited information regarding the demand for their services throughout the state. Figure 1The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, in collaboration with the Council for Allied Health in North Carolina and the NC AHEC Program, seeks to fill this gap by conducting bi-annual studies that track allied health job vacancies in the state. This report highlights the results of the latest study with the aim of informing the work of policy makers, educators, and practitioners to ensure an adequate supply and distribution of allied health professionals in North Carolina.

The allied health job vacancy tracking project estimates workforce demand for selected health professionals in North Carolina by tracking job vacancy advertisements from both online and print sources. Though there are multiple factors that could suggest shortage including rising salaries, longer waiting times, greater number of days to fill a position, and high recruitment costs, the number of vacancies advertised is one indicator of whether a profession is facing increased demand. This report reflects tracking that was conducted in the spring of 2011, and is a continuation of four previous reports published in May 2006, August 2006, April 2007, and May 2011.

Determining which professions fall into the “allied health” workforce continues to be a topic of debate. For the purposes of this report, an exclusionary definition is assumed that defines allied health professionals as all health professionals with the exception of physicians, nurses, chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, podiatrists, nurse aides, orderlies and attendants. Even when excluding these professions, the most current data available show the allied health workforce accounts for more than one in three health care professionals in North Carolina (Figure 1). Figure 2Historically, there has been a high growth rate in allied health employment, which has continued even during the recent economic recession. Figure 2 shows that while NC saw a 1% reduction in total employment since 1999, the health care sector experienced marked expansion (47% growth). Even more resilient to the worsening economy are allied health jobs, which have outpaced both health care and total employment with 69% growth since 1999. As policymakers consider ways to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment, the allied health sector has the potential to serve as a true job engine...(PDF of full report)

Support for this study comes from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the North Carolina Health & Wellness Trust Fund, and the Florence Rogers Charitable Trust. This is a collaborative effort of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, The Council for Allied Health in North Carolina, and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program.