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Orderly: Job Description, Requirements & Salary

Orderlies are healthcare professionals who don't have formal training requirements. This article explains some of their regular duties, their typical work environment and the salary and job growth orderlies are currently seeing in their career field.

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Career Definition of an Orderly

Most orderlies work in hospitals or nursing homes. They provide a combination of janitorial and patient care services. It's common for orderlies to be responsible for tasks such as ensuring medical equipment is properly sterilized, cleaning rooms and changing bed sheets. This involves knowledge of proper sterilization procedures and how to use sterilizing equipment. They also need to know and follow the appropriate disposal procedures for things such as biomedical waste.

Orderlies are also responsible for assisting with the needs of patients. This can involve helping patients move safely from their bed to a wheelchair or lifting patients on or off examination tables. They may also transfer patients from place to place. This may involve pushing them in a wheelchair or transporting them via stretcher. Orderlies also perform other general duties, such as replacing supplies that have been used.

Educational Requirements High school diploma, on-the-job training
Job Skills Physical fitness, interpersonal skills, physical strength and stamina, attention to detail, communication skills
Median Salary (2016)* $26,690
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Orderlies can enter their profession with a high school diploma and receive training once hired. There are no licensing requirements for orderlies. Some employers may expect orderlies to have CPR training so earning a basic life support certificate may be required.

Required Skills

Attention to detail is an important skill for an orderly since they play a key role in providing a clean environment and may also be responsible for sterilizing medical equipment. Since their work involves helping move or lift patients they need to be strong and have the endurance to perform physical labor throughout their entire shift. Interpersonal skills and communication skills play a key role in enabling orderlies to effectively work with patients and other medical staff.

Career Outlook and Salary

In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that orderlies earned a median annual income of $26,690. The BLS also indicated that orderlies should see an 8% job growth rate from 2016 to 2026. This is comparable to the national average rate of 7% job growth for all occupations during the same time-period.

Related Careers

Those considering becoming an orderly may want to consider other health-related professions, such as being an operating room technician or a nurse's aide. Those who are more interested in the cleaning tasks may also want to consider being a custodian.

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