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Allied Health - In-Demand Careers that Make a Difference

Jun 15, 2020

Workers are needed in many areas across the health care spectrum. In fact, growth in health care is outpacing many other industries. Now is the perfect time to begin a career in an allied health field.

Who works in allied health?

Allied health workers support doctors, nurses and dentists in providing patient care. Some examples of allied health careers include Tonette Steeb dental assistant, dental hygienist, respiratory therapist, nutritionist, athletic trainer, counselor, lab technician, health educator, and more.

Allied health at DVC

Allied HealthDVC offers programs that train students for careers in several allied health fields. Some are geared toward students who plan to transfer for further study, while others can lead to a job. Many allied health careers do not require a bachelor’s degree.

Most health care programs include options for experiential learning - learning by doing. Many classes involve labs, and some replicate a clinical setting. These opportunities will be available to students once social distancing requirements have been eased.

Athletic Training“Health care requires hands-on skills. It also involves soft skills because you are working with people. Students must practice these skills to build confidence. They also need to improve their listening and talking skills to communicate about procedures and outcomes,” said Barbara Hewitt, the department chair for health sciences at DVC.

Students choosing careers in health care often join the DVC health care learning community.

Barbara Hewitt“They are able to visit local health care centers and hear industry speakers. They learn about infection control and protecting the privacy of patients’ health records,” said Hewitt.

Student members of DVC’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) chapter attend the annual state conference. At the event, they compete with their peers and network with professionals.

For more information about allied health programs at DVC, visit:

Allied health degrees and certificates at DVC

Associate in science degrees for transfer
  • Biology
  • Kinesiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Psychology
  • Public Health
Associate in science degrees
  • Addiction counseling
  • Addiction studies
  • Allied health
  • Biology
  • Biology: Life Science
  • Biology: Natural Science
  • Biology: Allied Health
  • Dental Assisting
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Health education
  • Kinesiology
  • Sports Medicine/Athletic Training
Certificates of achievement
  • Addiction counseling
  • Addiction studies
  • Allied health
  • Allied health fundamentals
  • Chemistry
  • Dental Assisting

Partnerships with nearby community colleges

If you are interested in nursing or respiratory therapy, you can start at DVC, and then transfer to a nearby community college to complete your program.

  • Los Medanos College (LMC) offers both a licensed vocational nursing (LVN) program and a registered nursing (RN) program.
  • Ohlone College offers a respiratory therapy program.

Spotlight: Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene

Dental AssistingDVC offers training in dental assisting and dental hygiene. Hands-on learning provides students with the skills needed to begin their career.

“Dental assisting students complete 300 hours of externship. They spend two weeks at the University of the Pacific dental school working chair-side with dental students. They work in general practice offices for eight weeks. Then they work in a specialty practice for six weeks,” said Tonette Steeb, the director of dental programs at DVC.

Dental AssistingDental hygiene students work with patients in clinical settings. They also participate in a service project.

“Dental hygiene students spend three terms working with patients in our dental programs teaching clinic. Second-year students provide dental hygiene services at the Native American Health Center in Oakland and La Clinica in Concord. They also complete a community oral health project,” said Steeb.

Job Outlook

Dental AssistingThe job outlook for dental assistants and dental hygienists is excellent.

“Dental assistants and hygienists are in high demand. Most dental assisting students are hired into the offices where they completed their externship. Some are even hired before they graduate,” said Steeb.

Tonette SteebFor more information, visit:

Community Colleges Making an Impact

California community colleges are answering the call to educate and train health care professionals during this challenging time.

“The community college system is the backbone of our training in the state of California. By some estimates, 70% of our first responders, however one would define them, are trained through that community college system and they’re doing heroic work in this state,” said Governor Gavin Newsom during his coronavirus briefing on March 24, 2020.

“Many of our students in nursing, respiratory therapy and other allied health programs in the 115 community colleges throughout the state want to serve in this moment of tremendous need,” said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, California Community Colleges Chancellor, in a statement issued on March 30, 2020.

Oakley also shared that community colleges have donated ventilators, thousands of protective masks, face covers, gloves and gowns to support California’s COVID-19 response.