Healthcare practitioners include physicians, dentists, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, surgeons, surgeon's assistant, athletic trainers, surgical technologist, midwives, dietitians, therapists, psychologists, chiropractors, clinical officers, social workers, phlebotomists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, radiographers, radiotherapists, respiratory therapists, audiologists, speech pathologists, optometrists, operating department practitioners, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, medical laboratory scientists, medical prosthetic technicians and a wide variety of other human resources trained to provide some type of health care service. They often work in hospitals, healthcare centres, and other service delivery points, but also in academic training, research, and administration. Some provide care and treatment services for patients in private homes. Many countries have a large number of community health workers who work outside formal healthcare institutions. Managers of healthcare services, health information technicians, and other assistive personnel and support workers are also considered a vital part of health care teams.
Healthcare practitioners are commonly grouped into health professions. Within each field of expertise, practitioners are often classified according to skill level and skill specialization. “Health professionals” are highly skilled workers, in professions that usually require extensive knowledge including university-level study leading to the award of a first degree or higher qualification. This category includes physicians, physician assistants, dentists, midwives, radiographers, registered nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, optometrists, operating department practitioners and others. Allied health professionals, also referred to as "health associate professionals" in the International Standard Classification of Occupations, support implementation of health care, treatment and referral plans usually established by medical, nursing, and other health professionals, and usually require formal qualifications to practice their profession. In addition, unlicensed assistive personnel assist with providing health care services as permitted.
Another way to categorize healthcare practitioners is according to the sub-field in which they practice, such as mental health care, pregnancy and childbirth care, surgical care, rehabilitation care, or public health.