• Print

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 2014, there were 610,148 registered health practitioners. Over half of these (352,838) were nurses or midwives—over 3 times the size of the next largest group, medical practitioners.

Registered health practitioners 2014

Health workforce tree map

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: AIHW National Health Workforce Data Set.

Registered health practitioners, 2014
Profession Number registered
Nurses and midwives 352,838
Medical practitioners 98,807
Psychologists 31,489
Pharmacists 28,751
Physiotherapists 27,011
Dentists 15,764
Dental hygienists 1,645
Dental prosthetists 1,223
Dental therapists 1,223
Oral health therapists 1,120
Occupational therapists 16,757
Medical radiation practitioners 14,680
Chiropractors 4,902
Optometrists 4,855
Chinese medicine practitioners 4,313
Podiatrists 4,316
Osteopaths 1,968
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners 322
Multiple profession registrations –1,836
Total persons registered 610,148

Note: People can be registered in more than one profession.

Source: AIHW National Health Workforce Data Set.

Community services workforce

Most recent data on the community services workforce is included in Australia’s welfare 2015 (Chapter 2.3). Older data is available in previous editions of Australia's welfare, and Information relating to the community services workforce (2006).

Workforce publications

More workforce publications from the AIHW can be found at workforce publications.

Workforce data

All data tables for workforce.

Dynamic data display: Australia's registered health workforce by location

For more information about Health workforce trends in local areas see our Dynamic data for Australia's registered health workforce by location

This interactive presentation enables users to select the geography and statistics they are interested in.

Information in this workforce page was last reviewed in Feb 2016.