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Health workforce

The health workforce in Australia is large and diverse, covering many occupations, ranging from highly qualified professionals to support staff and volunteers. Health occupations comprise workers who diagnose and treat physical and mental illnesses and conditions or recommend, administer, dispense and develop medications and treatment to promote or restore good health.

The registered health workforce in Australia includes:

How many health practitioners are there?

In 2013, there were 591,503 people registered as health practitioners. Over half of these (344,190) were nurses or midwives-more than 3 times the size of the next largest group, medical practitioners.

Figure: Registered health practitioners, 2013

registered workforce 2013 PNG

1 = Dental hygienists; 2 = Dental prosthetists; 3 = Dental therapists; 4 = Oral health therapists; 5 = Chinese medicine practitioners; 6 = Podiatrists; 7 = Osteopaths; 8 = Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners.

Source: National Health Workforce Data Set 2013

Table: Registered health practitioners, 2013
Profession Number registered
Nurses and midwives 344,190
Medical practitioners 95,013
Psychologists 30,456
Pharmacists 27,972
Physiotherapists 25,545
Dentists 15,479
Dental hygienists 1,759
Dental prosthetists 1,195
Dental therapists 1,093
Oral health therapists 943
Occupational therapists 15,769
Medical radiation practitioners 14,002
Chiropractors 4,736
Optometrists 4,730
Chinese medicine practitioners 4,122
Podiatrists 4,037
Osteopaths 1,837
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners 310

Note: Numbers do not add to total due to people registered in more than one profession.

Source: National Health Workforce Data Set 2013

Community services workforce

Most recent data on the community services workforce is included in Australia’s welfare 2013 (Chapter 9). Older data is available in previous editions of Australia's welfare, and Information relating to the community services workforce (2006).

Workforce publications

All workforce publications from the AIHW.

Workforce data

All data tables for workforce.

Information in this workforce page was last reviewed in March 2015.