Motivations for choosing an allied health profession career: findings from a scoping review


  • Lucy Wallis University of Winchester
  • Dr Rachel Locke University of Winchester
  • Dr Steven Ryall University of Winchester
  • Professor Beverley Harden Health Education England


Fourteen professions are recognised as AHPs in England representing the third largest workforce in health and care. Although there is a need to significantly grow the AHP workforce in England, recruitment to many AHP courses is an issue. To increase course applications and encourage individuals to choose AHP careers, we need to understand the decision-making process in choosing an AHP career. The aim of this scoping review was to examine the nature and breadth of evidence internationally regarding the motivations for choosing an AHP career as well as any sources of influence and barriers. A comprehensive search identified 61 relevant studies. Findings revealed inconsistency in the evidence base and the literature focused on a select number of professions and countries. No relevant studies were found for three professions. Whilst many motivations and sources of influence were identified, barriers to entering an AHP career were explored less. The opportunity to help people was a key motivation with financially based motivations less important. Personal influences, such as a relative working in healthcare, were the most influential source to choosing this career pathway, media was the least. The main barrier to choosing an AHP career identified was a lack of awareness of the profession. There is a need to further investigate career choice motivations, sources of influence and barriers for all AHPs; gaining this knowledge will help tailor future healthcare career promotion and advice for each profession and assist with overall AHP recruitment.

Author Biographies

Dr Rachel Locke, University of Winchester

Dr Rachel Locke is a Senior Lecturer in International Development: Global Health in the School of Sport, Health and Community, Faculty of Health and Wellbeing. She is Programme Lead for the new BA International Development: Global Health and leading the development of a MSc Global Health.

Dr Steven Ryall, University of Winchester

Dr Steven Ryall is a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy and programme Leader in the Department of Sport, Exercise and Health at The University of Winchester .

Professor Beverley Harden, Health Education England

Professor Beverley Harden is Health Education England lead for the Allied Health Professions and Deputy Chief Allied Health Professions Officer (England).



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How to Cite

Wallis, L., Locke, D. R., Ryall, D. S., & Harden, P. B. (2023). Motivations for choosing an allied health profession career: findings from a scoping review. International Journal of Practice-Based Learning in Health and Social Care, 11(1), 1–17. Retrieved from



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