Paramedical (Para- besides) Services are those which assist medical profession in one or many forms e.g. Radiography, Medical Laboratory Technology, Nursing, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy etc. Para-medical professional supports the medical team with closely related functions for complete treatment. In modern world, Paramedical science has emerged as an important branch of medical science. It is proved as a milestone in the treatment of communicable, non-communicable diseases. In other words, we can say that paramedical science is a backbone for medical science because right diagnosis of any disease is necessary to prevent fatal diseases. Thus, Medical Science will be paralysed without paramedical science.
The continuous expansion of the health care industry brings a more demand for trained Paramedical Professionals. The main areas in paramedical education include Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Nursing, Occupational therapy, Audiology and Speech therapy, Medical laboratory technology, Radiology/X-Ray technology, Dental hygienist and Dental mechanics, Operation theatre assistant, Optometry and Ophthalmic assistant and other miscellaneous job oriented courses. These courses are offered through correspondence as well as full time classes.
Nature of Work
Physiotherapy: It is a branch of medical science which is concerned with the assessment, evaluation and treatment of physical disability, pain resulting from injury, disease or other health related problems. The professionally trained person who administers this treatment is called as a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist treats mainly post-operative cases like fracture, dislocation, amputation, neurological cases, nerve injuries, heart and chest conditions, skin conditions, muscular diseases, burns, plastic surgery etc.
Read a detailed article on Career Choice in Physiotherapy
Pharmacy: The increasing number of hospitals, nursing homes and pharmaceutical companies all over the country is a clear indication of the growing scope in this sector. A pharmacist's job is to prepare, mix, compound, or dispense drugs and medicines, ointments, powders, pills, tablets and injections on the prescription of a medical practitioner, dentist or veterinarian.
Nursing: It is one of the most well-known paramedical professions which is a vital part of medical care. In the hospital, from general ward to the operation theatre, nursing is the most important component of patient care. Nursing is an essential component of the healthcare system.
Occupational therapy: It focuses on helping individuals with mental or physical illness / disability to come back to normalcy. Occupational therapist uses various methods in the treatment of their patients to assist them in maximum recovery and becoming normal after a prolonged disabling illness. This type of therapy is patient specific, involving recreational, creative or educational activities.
Audiology and Speech Therapy: Hearing is a crucial means for the acquisition and monitoring of language and speech. Audiology is the study of hearing disorders. These professionals treat people who are unable to speak or hear clearly. Audiologist use audiometers and other testing device to measure the loudness at which a person begins to hear sound, the ability to distinguish between sounds and the nature and extent of hearing loss. Speech therapist uses special instruments as well as written and oral test to determine the nature and extent of impairment and to record and analyze speech disorders.
Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT): Medical laboratory technologists examine and analyze body fluids, tissues, blood typing, microorganisms, screening, chemical analyses, cell counts etc. of the human body. They play an important role in collecting the information needed for treating most pathology cases by sampling, testing, analyzing and reporting such investigations.
Radiology and X-Ray technology: Radiographers take x-ray films of body parts used in diagnosing medical problems. They conduct the x-raying of the patient's body, make the exposure, and then develop the x-ray film. Experienced radiologist can perform more complex imaging tests. A postgraduate radiologist normally interprets the x-rays.
Dental Hygienist / Mechanic: These technicians assist dentists in treating patients. Dental hygienists are trained to perform the specific clinical procedures that aim to prevent dental disease and work under the supervision of a dentist. The basic job of a dental mechanic is making and repairing artificial teeth, straightening of teeth & filling of cavities. They also help in the prevention and control of dental caries (decay) and gum disease. They also take dental X-rays, apply and remove periodontal packs, and advise the patient on how to take care of the teeth and mouth after operations.
Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation workers play an important role in restoring normalcy to the patient. Care in a hospital or rehabilitation center may be necessary for people with severe disabilities. In such settings, a rehabilitation team provides care. Along with the doctor or therapist, this team may include nurses, psychologists, social workers, other health care practitioners, and family members.
Personality of a Paramedical Professional should be according to the circumstances provided. As this is a team work, so they should have a blend of qualities like sense of responsibility & dedication, good communication skill, analytical and logical reasoning skill, ability to recall and memorize scientific facts, physical stamina to work long and irregular hours, patience, cool temperament, team spirit, good observation power, understanding of people, and an ability to inspire confidence in the patient. Apart from all these, one must have a pleasant smiling face whatever be the situation.
The minimum qualification for getting admission to any paramedical course is plus two (10+2) passed or equivalent examination with Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English. At least 50% of marks should be secured in each of these subjects. Minimum age limit is for candidate is 17 years.
The courses available for Paramedical sciences varies from Diploma in particular field of 2 years duration, Bachelor Degree course of 3 or 4 years duration, Master Degree course of 2 or 3 years as well as Ph.D. Although eligibility criteria is almost same for all the Paramedical courses but it varies slightly according to particular courses & disciplines as mentioned below.
Pharmacy: For the three main courses in pharmacy the elgibility criteria is as follows:
D.Pharm. (Diploma in Pharmacy): 10+2 or equivalent with physics, chemistry and biology or mathematics. This course is of two years duration.
B.Pharm. (Bachelor in Pharmacy): 10+2 or its equivalent with 50% aggregate in physics, chemistry, biology or mathematics. Alternately, the candidate should have passed D.Pharm. The entrance examination is conducted with the approval of Pharmacy Council of India. Duration of the course is four years.
M.Pharm. (Master in Pharmacy): B.Pharm with at least 60% marks from recognized university / institute (AICTE / PCI approved). Duration of the course is 18 months. Pharmacy teachers with B.Pharm and a minimum five years of teaching experience in any institution approved by AICTE are also eligible for M.Pharm course.
Nursing: For nursing courses like B.Sc. in nursing, eligibility is a 10+2 with biology, physics and chemistry. The course duration is three to four years.
For masters like M.Sc(Nursing) a B.Sc.(Nursing) degree is the eligibility. The course duration is two years. For General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM), a 10+2 with biology, physics and chemistry is the eligibility criteria. The course duration is three years and six months. For Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM), and for Health Worker (female), the minimum qualification is class X pass. Duration of the course is 18 months.
How to choose Course/Institute?
The selection of the course/institute depends on personal interest and of course economic conditions of an individual. Three different Modes of courses are available. Students can opt for Full Time Regular Course, Part Time Course or Correspondence Course. The employment opportunity is more for full time regular course & this is suitable for non-working candidates, at the same time for working individuals part time course or correspondence course is the option. The selection of institute is one of the important factors to make a better future in the field of Paramedical Science.
Colleges, Institutions and Universities
Some of the institutes offering paramedical courses are:
- Ali Yavar Jung Natioanl Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, K.C. Marg, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra (W), Mumbai-400050.
- All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi-110 029.
- All India Institute of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (AIIPM), Mumbai-400034.
- All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore-570 006, Karnataka.
- Andhra Medical College, Vishakhapatnam-530 002.
- BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur-273 013
- Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut-250 005.
- Christian Medical College, Ludhiana-141 008.
- Christian Medical College, Vellore.
- College of Nursing and Paramedicals, Coimbatore-45.
- Department of Rehabilitation, Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi-110029.
- Dr. V.M. Medical College, Solapur-413 003.
- Faculty of Technology, SNDY Women's University, Marine Lines, Mumabi-400 020.
- Government Medical College, Aurangabad-431 001.
- Government Medical College, Miraj-416 410.
- Government Medical College, Nagpur-44003.
- Govt. Medical College, Amrister-143 001.
- Govt. Medical College, Patiala-147 001.
- Grant Medical College. Mumbai-400 008.
- Guwahati Medical College, Guwahati-781 032.
- Haji Bachooali Ophthalmic Hospital, KBJM Street, Mumbai-400 012.
- Institute for the Physically Handicapped, 4, Vishnu Digambar Marg, New Delhi-110002.
- Institute of Nursing Sciences, Managalore-575 013.
- Jaslok Hospital, Mumabi-400 026.
- Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Educational and Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry-605 006.
- Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Belgaum-590 010.
- Kasturba Medical College, Manipal-576 119.
- Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Sion, Mumbai-400 022.
- Madras Medical College, Chennai-600 003.
- Mahatma Gandhi University, (School of Medicine), Kottayam-686 560.
- Medical College, Alappuzha-688 005.
- Medical College, Gandhinagar P.O. Kottayam-8.
- Medical College, Kozhikode-673 008.
- T.N. Medical College, Mumbai-400 008.
- Medical College, Pune-411 001.
- Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram-695 011.
- B Y L Nair Hospital & T.N. Medical College, Dr. A.I., Nair Road, Mumbai-400 008.
- Natioanl Institute for the Orthopedically handicapped, Bon Hooghly, B.T. Road, Calcutta-700 090.
- National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research, Olatpur, PO Bairoi, Cuttack-754010, Orissa.
- Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad-500 482.
- Occupational Therapy Training School & Centre, KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai-400 012.
- Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak-124 001.
- Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh-160012.
- Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Medical College, Raipur(MP)
- Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Jayanagar General Hospital Complex, 4th T Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore-560 041.
- Rangaraya Medical College, Kakinada-533 003.
- Rural Medical College, (Parvara Medical Trust) Loni-413 736.
- S V Medical College, Tirupati-517 507.
- Sankara Netralaya Medical Research Foundation, Madras.
- Santosh Medical & Dental College, Ghaziabad.
- Sardar Bhagwan Singh Memorial Institute & Biomedical Sciences, Dehra Dun.
- Seth G.S. Medical College, Parel, Mumbai-400 012.
- Sri. Ramachandra Medical College & Research Institute, Porur, Madras-600 016.
- St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore-560 034.
- Sumandeep Vidyapeeth University, Waghodia Road, Piparia, Vadodara. Website: www.sumandeepuniversity.co.in Ph: 02668245292
- Tata Memorial Centre, Tata Memorial Hospital, Parel, Mumbai-400 012.
- University College of Medical Sciences and G.T.B. Hospital, Shadhara, Delhi-110 095.
- University of Delhi, Faculty of Medical Science, Delhi-110 007.
After completing the basic course in any of the paramedical streams, the candidate can take up a job in a hospital, nursing home, clinic, health departments etc. With the opening of corporate hospitals like Apollo Hospital, Escorts Hospital etc, the scope for these professionals has increased tremendously. The candidates can also choose for teaching as a profession. Besides, they can open their own laboratories/clinics. The career prospects for different paramedical streams are described below.
Like all other medical and paramedical professionals, Physiotherapist can work in hospitals, orthopedic departments, schools for mentally retarded and physically disabled children, health institutions and defense medical establishments. In a senior position like senior physiotherapist, supervisor of physical therapy, superintendent of physiotherapy in government hospital and as demonstrators, lecturers, assistant professors, and associate professors in medical colleges.
Pharmacy professional has good prospects as a medical representative. A pharmacist can also find employment as hospital pharmacist. Candidates with D.Pharm are employed as pharmacist in government or private hospitals or they can start their own pharmacy. B.Pharm graduates can work as medical representative or medical detailing man, marketing manager or sales manager, drug inspectors, and as drug controllers. M.Pharm degree holders can opt for teaching as well as research jobs.
Nursing has wide employment prospects in hospitals, clinics and health department, military, schools, in training institutes as teachers and in research.
Occupational therapists work with the patients on various disorders such as orthopedic and neurological conditions, among other conditions. In schools they evaluate children's ability and provide therapy. They also supervise adult day care, residential care and mental health care program.
Speech Therapists & Audiologists can work in hospitals, schools, community health and welfare centers, private practice and even in industry ( to monitor the effect of noise pollution). Postgraduate qualifications can go for a teaching job or research positions.
Laboratory technician may find job in a hospital, minor emergency centers, private laboratory, blood donor center, doctor's clinics etc. A technologist can advance to supervisory or management position in pathology labs and hospitals. They can also work as laboratory manager, consultant, or supervisor in health care administration.
Employment opportunities for Radiographers are good, both within the country as well as abroad. Increase in health services' demand more radiographers in nursing homes, hospitals, diagnostic centers as well as superspeciality hospitals.
Dental hygienist and mechanic can get jobs in dental department of hospitals (government/private), institutions doing dental research.
Opportunities in Rehabilitation are both in India and abroad. Rehabilitation workers can get job in private hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostic centers.
The average starting salary for Paramedical Professional varies from Rs.4000/- to Rs 10,000/- per month. It may go to Rs 20,000/- and more depending on personal skills & experience.
Employment opportunity for Paramedical Professionals is increasing day by day not only in India rather in the western countries like the USA, Canada, UK, UAE etc. Their role is to help doctors to provide the correct diagnosis of a disease to enable its best possible treatment. Paramedical sciences have their own value and significance.