Health Technicians

Health technicians are a significant part of the health sector workforce. Most are women, working in various areas at all levels of care in national health systems.

These professionals perform predominantly technical, specialized functions related to research and the application of principles, concepts, and methods.

However, there are differences among the countries of the Region in terms of the qualifications, training, titles, responsibilities, competencies, and practices of these professionals. The range of occupations includes technicians in nursing, diagnostic imaging, clinical laboratory and pathology, pharmacy, medical and dental prosthetics, physiotherapy, pre-hospital emergency, and community health, among others.

Fact sheet

Although the work of health technicians is considered strategic for health systems, little systematized information exists about these professionals. There are gaps in information about their tasks, level of responsibility, educational requirements, and the classification and regulation of these occupations in different countries.

Health technicians are often undervalued and exposed to risks and poor conditions, both in the workplace and in terms of labor rights.

Therefore, it is necessary to invest in actions, strategies, and policies aimed at education, professionalization, and guaranteeing decent work for health technicians.

Investments in this workforce will strengthen the health system, increase the attractiveness of these occupations, and improve worker retention, especially for the care of vulnerable populations and those in remote and underserved areas. 

PAHO Response

The strategic lines of the Policy on the Health Workforce 2030: Strengthening Human Resources for Health to Achieve Resilient Health Systems are expected to strengthen governance; promote national policies and plans for human resources for health; develop and consolidate regulatory mechanisms related to human resources for health; strengthen the formation of multi-professional teams; foster the development and strengthen the capacities of health personnel; and promote decent working conditions, physical and mental protection for healthcare professionals, and an adequate supply of human resources for health.

Actions and strategies aimed at health technicians include identifying and analyzing data on this workforce, mapping occupations, developing skills and competencies, and supporting policy development.


Year of Health and Care Workers 2021