Health Care Job Descriptions To help you understand what is involved in a particular occupation, this section provides information on the common tasks performed on the job, and the necessary education and skill requirements for a number of health care professions.
Addiction Worker (certificate or diploma requirement or equivalent) Addiction Care Worker, Addiction Counselor – works with people who have addictions related to chemical and gambling dependencies. This includes people who work in detoxification. Requires a 2-year diploma with instruction on approaches to intervention, including assessment, treatment, relapse prevention, case management and self-help. Audiologist Audiologists are concerned with the prevention, identification, assessment, treatment and (re) habilitation of hearing difficulties in children and adults. Audiologists also provide education and counseling services for people experiencing hearing difficulties and vestibular problems, such as dizziness and tinnitus. They select and fit hearing aids and other assistive listening devices and provide training for their use. Audiologists require a master’s degree in Audiology and registration with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario. Biomedical Technician Requires a 3-year diploma in Biomedical Technology, Biomedical Engineering Technology, or Electronics Engineering Technology (Biomedical). All of these programs provide graduates with the knowledge and ability to ensure medical electronic equipment is performing safely and effectively. Same position may be termed Biomedical Technologist in some hospitals. Cardiovascular Perfusionist Operates extracorporeal circulation equipment and is part of a cardiac operating room team. Uses techniques such as hemodilution, hemoconcentration, auto transfusion, and the operation of intra-aortic balloon pumps. Requires an advanced diploma certificate in Cardiovascular Perfusion Technology. Chiropodist The practice of Chiropody is the assessment of the foot and the treatment and prevention of diseases or disorders of the foot by therapeutic, orthotic and palliative means. This profession requires a 3-year diploma in Chiropody and registration with the College of Chiropodists of Ontario. Clinical Manager Responsible for the day-to-day management of a clinical department or unit, either Inpatient or Outpatient services. The educational background and experience required for this position will vary depending on the department and/or the policies of the organization. For example, clinical managers could be Registered Nurses or from an Allied Health Profession. The person’s
primary function will be for the ‘management’ of the department and not for providing direct patient care, although a component of their time may be allocated to this function. Clinical Nurse Specialist A registered nurse who holds a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing with expertise in a clinical nursing specialty. An expert practitioner, the CNS provides direct care, education and consultation to clients, as well as education and consultation to the health care team. A CNS is a nurse who is prepared at the graduate level in a clinical specialty such as mental health or cardiovascular nursing. These nurses provide expert care in complex client situations either through direct care or consultation. Communicative Disorders Assistant Works in an adjunctive capacity with a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist or Audiologist. Conducts remediation programming after the therapist has completed the assessment and determined the treatment approaches. Requires a 1-year post-graduate diploma. Community/Social Services Worker Family service worker, mental health worker, crisis intervention worker - Requires a 2-year Social Service Worker Diploma and registration with the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Diagnostic Cytologist Responsible for laboratory testing involving the initial interpretation of cells from patient samples. Works under the guidance of a pathologist. Requires Advanced Diploma Certificate in Diagnostic Cytology, completion of national certification examination conducted by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science and registration with the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario. Dialysis Technician Performs dialysis treatments under the supervision of a registered nurse. Duties include pretreatment assessment, cannulation, initiation of treatment, treatment monitoring, discontinuation of treatment, and post-treatment assessment. May be called a dialysis technologist in some hospitals. Dietitian Food and nutrition expert who helps people meet their nutritional needs. The Dietetics Act gives the scope of practice of dietitians as "the assessment of nutrition and nutritional conditions and the prevention and treatment of nutritional disorders by nutritional means.” This profession requires a degree in Foods and Nutrition and registration with the College of Dietitians of Ontario. ECG Technician Performs diagnostic tests related to the heart, recording the heart’s electrical impulses onto a paper strip. The ECG Technician will administer and document various types of ECG monitoring, and will provide appropriate care of the equipment. Graduate of a 2 or 3 semester college certificate program as an ECG Technician or a Cardiovascular Technician.
Echocardiographer Performs and interprets 2-D, M-mode, pulse wave, continuous wave, and colour Doppler studies under supervision. Works closely with the supervising physician during the interpretive sessions to assist in the evaluation of data and to contribute relevant technical information. Communicates with patients and provides effective patient care. Requires an advanced diploma certificate in Echocardiography. EEG Technician Performs EEG tests to help people with brain-related injuries and illnesses learn about their condition. Education for this profession includes completion of a 2-year college or hospitalbased program in electrophysiology technology and supervised practical training. Registration with the Canadian Board of Electroencephalograph Technologists is available and is usually required by employers. May be called an EEG Technologist in some hospitals. Genetic Counsellor Primary role is the provision of genetic counselling but duties may also include genetic clinic organization, intake sessions before diagnostic visit, follow-up of families and individuals, involvement in screening programs, DNA testing programs, genetic education, and assisting support groups. Requires a Masters degree in Genetic Counselling. Genetic Technologist Responsible for performing a variety of procedures to process specimens for genetic analysis: cytogenetics and/or molecular genetics. Requires a post-graduate diploma in Genetics Technology and certification with the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science. Health Record Professional (updated) Also called Health Record Administrator, or Health Record Technician. Until recently, the Canadian College of Health Record Administrators had two types of graduates, technicians and administrators. Now, all graduates that pass the certification exam set by the College use the initials CCHRA(c) and are called Health Record Professionals. However, there are two types of education pathways to reach this designation and this determines the type of job the professional would get. A graduate of a 2-year college program is usually a coder in a Health Records Department or has a position in the Release of Information. A degree graduate would often become a manager and/or work in utilization management or something similar. As this is a recent change, many hospitals still use the job titles Health Records Administrator and Health Records Technician. Health Record Administrator Graduate of a health record program recognized by the Canadian Health Record Association. In Ontario, this is a 2-year diploma program in Health Information Management. Registered as an HRA with the Canadian College of Health Record Administrators after passing the national certification examination. Today, could be a graduate of a 4-year degree program and be registered as a Health Record Professional. Health Record Technician
Graduate of a one-year diploma program in Health Information Management. Registered as an HRT with the Canadian College of Health Record Administrators after passing the national certification examination. Today, could be a graduate of a 2-year diploma program and be registered as a Health Record Professional. Instructional Therapist Works often in autism programs. Trained in methods of treatment and rehabilitation. Medical Lab Technician/ Assistant/ Phlebotomist Under direct supervision, performs laboratory preparations and tests which require limited, but defined technical manual skills and responsibilities. Graduates from the program (2 semesters at school and one of clinical experience) often work in private labs, taking blood from outpatients, sorting samples, doing data entry for other lab personnel. Upon approval by the Ontario Society of Medical Technologists (OSMT), graduates will be qualified to write the Ontario Society of Medical Technologists certification exam for Medical Laboratory Assistant. Medical Lab Technologist Performs sophisticated medical tests on blood, body fluids and tissues. The results of these tests provide information doctors need to make decisions about their patients’ health. To be registered as a general member of the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario you must complete an accredited 3-year (6 semesters) Medical Lab Science program and pass the certifying exams of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS). This includes a year of clinical placement in an accredited hospital laboratory site. MRI Technologist Plays a role on the diagnostic imaging team. Practices advanced MRI techniques such as functional and cardiac MRI. Requires a 15-month advanced diploma certificate program and passing the MRI National Certification Examination conducted by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT). May be called an MRI technician in some hospitals. Medical Radiation Technology – Nuclear Medicine Technologist Nuclear Medicine Technologist – prepares radio pharmaceuticals and administers them to patients or to biological samples, operates radiation detection equipment (e.g. gamma cameras, scanners, ionization chambers, scintillation counters) to acquire data for use by nuclear medicine physicians in the diagnosis of disease, and performs diagnostic procedures using radioactive materials on biological specimens. Requires a 2-3 year diploma and registration with the College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario. Medical Radiation Technology – Specialty, Radiation Therapist Radiation Therapist – works closely with doctors, patients and other members of the health care team, plans all treatment details (including calculating the radiation dose and simulating its distribution), positions patients and operates radiation therapy equipment, and constructs and fits accessory devices that will shape, modify and direct the administered radiation. Requires a 3-year diploma in Radiation Therapy. Medical Radiation Technology – Specialty, Radiological Technologist
Radiological Technologist Performs diagnostic imaging examinations. Operates X-ray, radiographic and fluoroscopic equipment, specialized CT scanners and mammography units to produce radiographs or images of body structures for the diagnosis of disease or injury by Radiologists. Requires a 3year diploma in Radiological Technology. Nurse Practitioner Nurse practitioners are experienced registered nurses with additional nursing education that enables them to provide individuals, families, groups and communities with health services in health promotion, disease and injury prevention, cure, rehabilitation and support. They work collaboratively with physicians and other members of the health care team. The NP designation in Ontario requires a minimum basic education Baccalaureate in Nursing and completion of an educational program for Nurse Practitioners. Occupational Therapist Clinical occupational therapy specialist, community occupational therapist, occupational therapist, research occupational therapist - Occupational therapists are health care professionals who assist individuals in developing or maintaining life roles and activities at home and in the community when one’s ability to function independently has been challenged by accident, handicap, emotional problems, developmental difficulties or disease. Requires a degree in Occupational Therapy and registration with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario. Occupational Therapist Assistant Graduate of a 2-year diploma program as an Occupational Therapy Assistant and works under the supervision of a registered Occupational Therapist. Pathologist A medical doctor who examines tissues and is responsible for the accuracy of laboratory tests. Pathologists interpret the results of these examinations and tests information that is important for the patient's diagnosis and recovery. Personal Support Worker Personal support worker, health care aide, personal care attendants, etc. - Provides long-term care and support to patients and clients. Work responsibilities include personal care, housekeeping duties, shopping and companionship. The abilities of the Personal Support Worker are critical to the well being, comfort, safety and health of the people they support. Has graduated from the 18 week (one semester) Personal Support Worker program, developed by the Ministry of Health as part of the province’s long-term care reform. Pharmacist Clinical pharmacist, community pharmacist, druggist, hospital pharmacist, industrial pharmacist, pharmacist - Oversees the dispensing of medications, assists with medication information provision, supports wellness goals, monitors and discusses therapy in an effort to prevent and resolve drug-related needs. Works closely with physicians and nurses in assessing the impact
of medication use and helping to meet therapeutic goals. Requires a degree in pharmacy and registration with the Ontario College of Pharmacists. Pharmacist Assistant Responsible for receiving the prescription, drug preparation, clerical and computer duties, inventory management, and customer service in the dispensary. Works under the supervision and guidance of the Pharmacist or the Pharmacy Technician. Requires a 1-year Pharmacy Assistant certificate. Pharmacist Technician Assists Pharmacist in delivery of pharmaceutical services including assisting in the preparation of prescriptions, inventory management, maintaining drug files, billing, and communicating with customers, physicians, and suppliers. Requires a 2-year Pharmacy Technician diploma. Physiotherapist Physiotherapy is the health care profession dedicated to enhancing and restoring one’s mobility. Physiotherapy's unique contribution to health care stems from its advanced understanding of how the body moves, what keeps it from moving well, and how to restore mobility. Physiotherapists require a degree in Physiotherapy and registration with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario. Physiotherapist Assistant Performs duties assigned by the Physiotherapist or Medical Practitioner. Uses neuromuscular stimulation equipment, interferential current therapy, short wave diathermy and other physical therapy modalities under the supervision of the registered Physiotherapist. Requires a 1-year Physiotherapist Assistant certificate. Physiotherapist/Occupational Therapist Assistant (Combined) This profession is qualified as both a physiotherapist assistant and an occupational therapy assistant, and often functions under the title of Rehabilitation Assistant. Requires a 1-year certificate program in PT/OT Assistant. Psychologist Clinical psychologist, experimental psychologist, research psychologist - Psychologists diagnose psychological and emotional disorders, counsel clients and provide therapy, undertake research, and apply theory relating to behaviour and mental processes. Has a doctoral degree in psychology and is registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Psychometrist Psychometrist – under the general supervision of a professional psychologist, psychometrists administer, score and report on a variety of group and individual psychological tests. Other duties may be performed as required. Requires a degree in psychology.
Registered nurse, community health nurse, critical care nurse, graduate nurse, nursing researcher, occupational health nurse, private duty nurse, public health nurse, registered psychiatric nurse – Requires a diploma or degree in nursing and registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario. Registered Practical Nurse Registered practical nurse, registered nursing assistant, operating room technician, licensed practical nurse – Requires a diploma in practical nursing and registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario. Registered Respiratory Therapist (Registered Respiratory Care Practitioner) Respiratory Therapists are graduates of a three-year diploma or four-year joint diploma/degree program offered at community colleges and universities in conjunction with teaching hospitals. Respiratory therapists must be registered with the regulatory body the College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario (CRTO) in order to practice respiratory therapy in Ontario. Respiratory therapists work in a variety of settings allergy testing, pulmonary function testing, participation in clinical research studies, medical gas therapy, inhaled medication administration, polysomnography, undergraduate training and education to respiratory therapy students and other health care professionals in acute care hospitals including but not limited to: intensive care units for all ages groups (neonatal, paediatric and adult), emergency departments, transport teams, operating room, general wards, pulmonary function laboratories, stress-test laboratories, out-patient clinics such as asthma clinics and pulmonary rehabilitation programs. Job responsibilities include a broad range of cardio-respiratory activities such as: ventilatory management (e.g. invasive and non-invasive mechanical ventilator management), providing airway support and management (e.g. intubation), attendance at all cardio-respiratory arrests as an Arrest team member, providing assistance to the anaesthetist (e.g. arterial line insertion, IV line insertions, conscious sedation), cardio-respiratory patient assessments, patient education, allergy testing, pulmonary function testing, participation in clinical research studies, medical gas therapy, inhaled medication administration, polysomnography, undergraduate training and education to respiratory therapy students and other health care professionals. Social Worker (Bachelor’s level) Medical social worker, psychiatric social worker – Graduate of a bachelor’s level program in social work and registered with the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Assesses, diagnoses, treats and evaluates individual, interpersonal and societal problems through the use of social work knowledge, skills, interventions and strategies, to assist individuals, dyads, families, groups, organizations and communities to achieve optimum psychosocial and social functioning. Social Worker (Master’s level) Medical social worker, psychiatric social worker – Graduate of a master’s level program in social work and registered with the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Assesses, diagnoses, treats and evaluates individual, interpersonal and societal problems through the use of social work knowledge, skills, interventions and strategies, to assist individuals, dyads, families, groups, organizations and communities to achieve optimum psychosocial and social functioning.
Speech Language Pathologist Clinical pathologist – speech language, language pathologist, research pathologist – speech language, speech and hearing clinician, speech language pathologist, speech therapist – Speech-language pathologists are concerned with the prevention, identification, assessment, treatment and (re)habilitation of communication and/or swallowing disorders in children and adults. Speech-language pathologists also provide education and counseling services for people experiencing communication and/or swallowing difficulties. Requires a master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology and registration with the College of Audiologists and SpeechLanguage Pathologists of Ontario. Therapeutic Recreation Assistant A therapeutic recreation assistant (TRA), sometimes referred to as a recreation or recreational therapy assistant, works with individuals who have mental, physical, emotional and/or developmental disabilities. Under the clinical supervision of an appropriate supervisor, the TRA plans and implements activity modalities or recreation mediums used to treat or maintain the physical, mental, and emotional well being of consumers served. Requires a diploma in recreation. Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Recreation Therapist, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist – selects and utilizes clinical assessment tools, scores and interprets results, designs therapeutic recreation interventions, develops realistic leisure goals which addresses the mental health issues and illnesses of patients and establishes community discharge plans with follow-up measures. Requires a degree in Therapeutic Recreation. Ultrasound Technologist Ultrasound Technologist, Sonographer, Ultrasonographer. A professional with an advanced diploma in Ultrasound. Certification by passing the exam from the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Imagery (ARDMI). There are a number of routes into this profession – the most common is by qualifying as a Medical Radiation Technologist and then taking the advanced diploma in ultrasound and passing the exam from the ARDMI. Unregulated Care Worker Orderly, health care aide, hospital porter, nursing attendant, patient care aide, ward aide, kinesiologist, rehab therapist. Provides long-term care and support to patients and clients. Has not taken the Personal Support Worker certification program. Source: 2003 OHA Labour Market Survey