Career Definition of an Orderly
Orderlies typically work in an healthcare environment, such as hospitals, ambulances or nursing homes. They perform a range of duties. Part of their job involves assisting patients. They may help lift or transfer patients and may also transport patients from place to place if they need to be moved for things like tests or medical procedures.
They are also responsible for cleaning. They may change bed sheets, mop floors and disinfect medical equipment. They also ensure supplies are restocked as needed. In some facilities they may be responsible for taking samples to laboratories. They may also prepare treatment areas and operating rooms for procedures.
|Educational Requirements||High school diploma, on-the-job training|
|Job Skills||Physical fitness and strength, communication skills, attention to detail, organization skills|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$26,690|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||8%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
It's possible to become an orderly with a high school diploma. Once hired, orderlies receive on-the-job training. Some employers may also require orderlies to have certification in basic life support so that they are capable of performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). These courses typically take three or four hours to complete and include training to use automated external defibrillators (AED) and how to remove blockages from a person's airway.
Additional Education Options
Some employers may prefer orderlies who have formal postsecondary training in a related field. One option is to earn certified nursing assistant (CNA) certification. Another option is to earn emergency medical technician (EMT) certification. These programs can usually be completed in less than a year. Once the course is completed students must pass an exam to earn their qualifications.
Since orderlies are responsible for lifting patients they need to be strong. They spend their shifts working on their feet so they also need to be physically fit. Their duties involve interacting with patients and other staff so they need to have good communication skills. Since they're responsible for cleaning and sterilizing rooms and equipment they also need to pay attention to details to ensure that all areas and equipment are cleaned properly. Organizational skills are also needed to ensure that duties are completed as efficiently as possible.
Career Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), orderlies earned a median annual income of $26,690 in 2016. Those who were employed by the government earned a median salary of $32,820 and orderlies employed in hospitals earned $27,120. Those employed in nursing homes and assisted living facilities took home median annual incomes of $23,030 and $21,660 respectively. From 2016 to 2026 the job growth rate the BLS forecasts for orderlies is 8%, which is as fast as the national average for all occupations.
Those considering a career as an orderly may also be interested in other comparable occupations that focus on cleaning or medical tasks. Learn more about what custodians, certified nursing assistants, paramedics and psychiatric technicians do by accessing the information linked below.