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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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:
- Occupational health and safety specialists help workplaces stick to health and safety regulations.
- Technicians work under specialists doing various tasks, including safety drills.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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