The Highest-Paying Healthcare Jobs If You’re Not a Doctor

Unless you’re already rich or receive a scholarship, going to college is expensive these days. It costs more if you want to stick around and earn an advanced degree and become a doctor. Surgeons and other medical specialists earn enough money to retire early, but you can still make a ton of money with these 15 high-paying healthcare jobs that don’t require advanced medical degrees. (We like the sinister-sounding yet important job described in item No. 5).

15. Physical therapy assistant

Physical therapy assistants are high-paying healthcare professionals who don't need advanced degrees.

Physical therapy assistants are high-paying healthcare professionals who don’t need advanced degrees. |

Median salary: $57,430

Physical therapists typically need advanced degrees to get the job, but their assistants don’t. An associates degree and certifications in CPR and first aid is usually all it takes to make close to $58,000 as a physical therapist assistant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can have a job as a PT assistant or a PT aide; assistants earn more than twice as much as aides.

Next: Another high-paying healthcare job with an aide/assistant pay gap.

14. Occupational therapy assistant

Physical therapist massaging a patient using device

Occupational therapy assistants are well-paid. | kali9/iStock/Getty Images

Median salary: $56,690

Just as with physical therapists, occupational therapists typically have help from assistants and aides as they help patients recover, maintain, or improve their physical capabilities. Also just like physical therapist assistants and aides, occupational therapists assistants make twice as much money, according to the BLS.

Next: The perfect job for celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

13. Dietician and nutritionist

nutritionist working at desk and writing medical records

Dieticians and nutritionists are high-paying healthcare jobs. |

Median salary: $59,410

Whether you love or hate Jamie Oliver, you have to applaud his dedication to making healthy meals for kids. If the chef thing doesn’t work out, he can transition to being a dietician or nutritionist. Helping patients manage their overall health through diet is one of the highest-paying healthcare jobs you can get without an advanced degree. All you need is a bachelor’s degree, training or an internship, and maybe a state license.

Next: A healthcare pro who treats people of every age.

12. Respiratory therapist

Patient in hospital on respirator

Respiration therapists treat patients of every age. | Trish233/Getty Images

Median salary: $59,710

Respiratory therapists treat premature babies, elderly people with breathing problems, and anyone with chronic lung problems. It’s an important job, but it doesn’t take years in college to start your career. Some workers have bachelor’s degrees, but according to the BLS, all you need to get started is an associate’s degree.

Next: People in this field have probably helped you before.

11. Radiologist

Radiologists take the X-rays, doctors look at them. | Remains/iStock/Getty Images

Median salary: $60,070

If you’ve ever had an X-ray or an MRI, then you’ve been helped by radiologists before. MRI technologists earn more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but in either case, you’ll earn close to $60,000 or more, and all it takes to start this high-paying healthcare job is an associate’s degree.

Next: You might want to think about your business card.

10. Diagnostic sonographer and cardiovascular technologist/technician, including vascular technologist

Woman looking at ultrasound results with doctor.

Woman looking at ultrasound results with a doctor. | Chris Ryan/Getty Images

Median salary: $65,620

If that title is too much for your business card, you can tell people you’re a diagnostic imaging worker. The title covers everything from doing ultrasounds to helping during heart surgery (if you’re a vascular technologist). No matter the official title, you’re going to be working a high-paying healthcare job without years of schooling.

Next: Not directly in healthcare, but you still protect others’ well-being.

9. Occupational health and safety specialist and technician

man wearing yellow hard hat

Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians keep the workplace safe. |

Median salary: $67,720

You won’t be working directly in healthcare with one of these careers, but you will still protect others’ well-being:

OHS technicians earn close to $50,000 per year with an associate’s degree to start. Specialists make more than $71,000 and need a bachelor’s degree. In either case, you don’t need tons of extra schooling for either of these high-paying healthcare jobs.

Next: Another high-paying job that’s not directly in healthcare.

8. Insurance underwriter

Health insurance document

Underwriters decide who gets health insurance. | Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images

Median salary: $69,760

The job title pretty much says it all. Insurance underwriters review applications and decide whether or not to provide coverage. A bachelor’s degree helps you find a job, but some employers will hire you based on your skills and experience regardless of your education.

Next: Three ways to get this one high-paying healthcare job.

7. Registered nurse

Nurse looking at patient

You don’t need an advanced degree to become a nurse. | Martin Barraud/iStock/Getty Images

Median salary: $70,000

We all know what this job’s about, but did you know there are three ways to become a registered nurse?

  • Receive a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
  • Earn an associate’s nursing degree.
  • Complete work at an approved nursing program.

It shouldn’t be too hard to find work in this in-demand and high-paying healthcare job when you’re done with school.

Next: The title says it all.

6. Dental hygienist

Dental hygienist is a high-paying healthcare job.

Dental hygienist is a high-paying healthcare job. | iStock

Median salary: $74,070

If you visit your dentist as often as you’re supposed to, then you know what this job is all about. All you need is an associate’s degree and a license to get started in this fast-growing and high-paying healthcare job.

Next: You’ll be like a professor in a lab.

5. Nuclear medicine technologist

Adults laboratory technician working

Working as a nuclear medicine technologist looks a little something like this. |

Median salary: $75,660

Believe it or not, nuclear medicine is a crucial field and technologists prepare and administer the radioactive drugs patients need. If you want to think it another way, you’ll be like a professor in a lab concocting beneficial potions. No matter how you see yourself while doing this job, all you need is an associate’s degree to get into this high-paying healthcare field.

Next: The job for people who want to fight cancer.

4. Radiation therapist

Male patient wearing a facial mask undergoing radiation

A patient being treated by a radiation therapist.| stanley45/Getty Images

Median salary: $80,570

Despite medical advances, shrinking a tumor with radiation remains one of the best ways to treat cancer. As a radiation therapist, you’ll basically be on the front lines fighting cancer, and you’ll also be working a well-paying healthcare job that doesn’t require an advanced degree; a two-year degree is all it takes.

Next: You might be the exception to the rule.

3. Occupational therapist

nursing home

Occupational therapists serve elderly patients and others. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Median salary: $83,200

We discussed occupational therapist assistants a few minutes ago, but now we’re talking about the healthcare workers directing patients’ therapy. Though most occupational therapists have master’s degrees, in some cases you start in this field with a regular-four year degree and some additional training.

Next: A high-paying healthcare job with a fancy title.

2. Biomedical engineer

9 year old Josh Cathcart from Dalgety Bay shows his excitement during the final fitting for his new bionic hand at Touch Bionics' headquarters

Creating bionic arms is something biomedical engineers might do on the job. | Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Median salary: $88,040

The title sounds fancy, but the job boils down to improving patient care systems, devices, or software. As with any job, you’ll earn more money if you have additional education, such as a master’s degree, but in most states, a plain ole bachelor’s degree is all you need to get started.

Next: You’re in charge of everything.

1. Health services manager

Two business colleagues shaking hands across the table

Health services managers make big decisions — and earn the big bucks. | UberImages/iStock/Getty Images

Median salary: $98,350

If you like managing people and resources, then being a health services manager is the job for you. Managing an entire hospital, a certain department, or medical practice fall under this job title. Master’s degrees are common since you have to keep up with all the regulations, but all you need to start your high-paying healthcare career is a bachelor’s degree.

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