What does an Assistant Practitioner do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 24 May 2019
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An assistant practitioner offers support to medical professionals during procedures and other activities. These allied health professionals work under the supervision of a doctor, nurse, or person with similar high level qualifications, although they enjoy some autonomy in their work. To become an assistant practitioner, people usually need to complete some vocational training, ranging from six months to two years. Experience in clinical settings can be very helpful for people seeking employment.

Assistant practitioners cannot diagnose or prescribe, but they can perform some basic services like taking vital signs, running x-ray imaging studies, and so forth. They are part of the support team in a hospital or clinical setting and their duties can be very diverse. Different countries use varying standards, set by regulatory agencies, to determine how to classify medical professionals and what kind of activities to allow people to engage in as part of medical care.

Under the framework used in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, assistant practitioners are ranked as level four, roughly in the middle of a rubric spanning one through nine. They can perform some basic tasks with autonomy and have some advanced knowledge and skills, but do not have qualifications allowing them to act fully independently. This differs from people like advanced practitioners and consultants, who have much more training and experience and may supervise entire departments or hospitals.


Work as an assistant practitioner can be interesting and challenging. Some people may view this as a career, choosing to work in this field for life, while others may plan on going back to school to receive additional qualifications in the future. While working as an assistant practitioner, people must keep up with continuing skills training to retain their qualifications. Many choose to belong to professional organizations so they can network with other health care providers at conferences and other events.

Available pay depends on where someone works and what kinds of skills an assistant practitioner acquires in training. Pay often includes benefits for people working full time in a hospital or clinic. People who freelance may command more pay because they do not receive generous benefits packages. It can be a good idea to look up wages and salaries for people in similar regions with similar qualifications to determine if a job offer is fair, or if an applicant should attempt to renegotiate to receive better pay or benefits.



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