High Paying Medical Jobs With Little Schooling - Best Value Schools

    High Paying Medical Jobs With Little Schooling

    Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

    Pursuing a career in the health care industry is undoubtedly one of the most lucrative job opportunities available today. Not to mention the stability that comes with it. Nonetheless, like any other career, medical jobs have their own unique set of pros and cons.

    The most notable drawbacks include the time it takes to get a bachelor’s degree before you can become a fully-licensed physician, the cost of going to medical school, plus the years of lost income from going through rigorous residency programs.

    The real question is: What’s the next best option? Are there high paying medical jobs with little schooling available to those who don’t have a medical degree or an MBA?

    The answer to both these questions is a resounding yes! Here’s everything you need to know.

    Highest Paying Hospital Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree

    The highest paying job in the medical field is that of a surgeon and physician. Dentist and pharmacist jobs come a close second.

    As you would expect, the qualifications and demands associated with these careers are pretty challenging. If that doesn’t sound appealing, here are some alternative high paying jobs that don’t require a degree.

    Medical Assistant

    Annual Average Salary: $34,800

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: 19% (Considered faster than average)

    Qualification: Postsecondary education award

    Career Overview

    Medical assisting involves a wide range of entry-level clinical and administrative tasks. If you’re thinking of getting into health care, this is one of the easiest high paying jobs you might want to consider.

    Although most states don’t have any formal educational requirements, most employers prefer to hire individuals who have undergone some kind of medical assisting program in a university, technical school, vocational school, or community college. These usually lead to certificate or diploma awards and take about a year to complete.

    You could also pursue an associate’s degree at a community college, which would take about two years to complete. To further enhance your career prospects, it is always a good idea to pursue certification from accredited licensing organizations, although it is not a requirement in most states.

    The top ones include the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) accreditation from the National Healthcareer Association and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the National Healthcareer Association.

    Physician Assistant

    Annual Average Salary: $112,260

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: 31% (Considered faster than average)

    Qualification: Master’s degree

    Career Overview

    Although the terms “medical assistants” and “physician assistants” sound similar, the reality is – they’re not. A physician assistant is a licensed health care professional who can diagnose and treat patients under a physician’s supervision.

    Most education programs typically take two years of postgraduate study and require applicants to already have a bachelor’s degree in a related field. You may also require some patient care experience to qualify for the program.

    Physician assistants in all states need to be licensed to practice by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and sit a recertification exam every 10 years.

    Nurse Practitioner

    Annual Median Salary: $115,800

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: 45% (Considered much faster than average)

    Qualification: Master’s degree

    Career Overview

    Also referred to as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), nurse practitioners need to have a master’s degree in whichever specialty role they wish to pursue. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, some schools offer bridging programs for applicants with a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing.

    Alternatively, if you don’t have any nursing qualifications but have a bachelor’s degree in a related field within the health science industry, several graduate-level programs are worth checking out. These will prepare you for the Registered Nursing (RN) licensure exam before pursuing a nurse practitioner program.

    If you’re looking for nursing jobs that offer more traditional hours, you might want to consider medical jobs in clinical settings outside the hospital environment. Examples of these include occupational nurses, legal nurse consultants, nurse health coaches, and public health nurses. 

    Although state certification requirements for nurse practitioners may vary by state, some of the popular ones you might come across include those from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB).

    Radiologic Technologist

    Annual Median Salary: $62,280

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: 7% (Considered faster than average)

    Qualification: Associate’s degree

    Career Overview

    Radiologic technologists are health care professionals whose day-to-day work revolves around performing diagnostic imaging procedures.

    While these typically involve performing computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and X-ray examinations on patients, some individuals specialize in specific diagnostic techniques like sonography, mammography, or cardiovascular-interventional radiography.

    The most common radiologic tech qualification is an associate degree. There are, however, several postsecondary education programs you can pursue a certificate award.

    Most states have a licensing or certification requirement for radiologic technologists from accredited organizations like the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Getting licensure also enhances your career prospects in states that don’t necessarily have any certification requirements in place.

    Radiation Therapist

    Annual Median Salary: $85,560

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: 7% (Considered faster than average)

    Qualification: Associate degree

    Career Overview

    A radiation therapist is a professional who delivers prescribed doses of ionizing radiation to patients diagnosed with cancer. They form an integral part of the interdisciplinary team of oncology nurses, medical physicists, and oncologists who all work together to monitor the condition of patients, as well as plan and administer treatments.

    Radiation therapists in most states usually have a bachelor’s or an associate degree in radiation therapy. They may also require licensing or certification before they’re allowed to practice. This, however, isn’t a requirement in all states across the country.

    The most widely recognized licensing credential is the one issued by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Once you qualify, you can get a healthcare job in private, local, and state hospitals, physicians’ offices, as well as outpatient care centers.

    Occupational Therapist

    Annual Median Salary: $84,950

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: 16% (Considered faster than average)

    Qualification: Master’s degree

    Career Overview

    An occupational therapist is a professional who treats patients with disabilities, conditions, or injuries that impede their ability to perform everyday tasks. These may range from job-related activities to self-care.

    The work of occupational therapists is not to be confused with that of physical therapists. While the two may sound similar, the goal of occupational therapy is to help a patient perform daily tasks with the highest possible level of independence.

    On the other hand, physical therapy is more concerned with getting the body to move when an individual loses mobility due to an injury. Physical therapists typically use fitness and stretching programs, whereas occupational therapists focus on treating the things that prevent patients from performing their daily tasks.

    To do this, they use various functional activities to help with cognitive, visual, and general coordination skills and improve their overall body function.

    Most occupational therapy programs require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree with specific physiology and biology coursework. They may also require them to have worked or volunteered in medical jobs within an occupational therapy environment before being admitted into the master’s program.

    It takes between two and three years to complete, although some colleges offer students the chance to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.

    Occupational therapists in all states across the country must be certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). The specific licensing requirements, however, may vary by state.

    Respiratory Therapist

    Annual Median Salary: $61,330

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: 19% (Considered faster than average)

    Qualification: Associate degree

    Career Overview

    A respiratory therapist is a certified medical professional who treats problems related to the lungs or breathing in general. Although they are not doctors themselves, they work closely with them to diagnose, treat and monitor respiratory-related ailments that stem from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, bronchitis, sleep apnea, and other respiratory conditions.

    Most RTs typically need an associate degree, although some hold a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy. If this is a career path you’re interested in pursuing, you’ll need to complete a program that’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, which you’ll find in several vocational-technical institutes, colleges, and universities across the country.

    To become a licensed professional, all states except Alaska require that you pass a certification exam administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). The two certification levels available are Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT) and Certified Respiratory Therapists.

    Dental Hygienist

    Annual Median Salary: $76,220

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: 6% (Considered faster than average)

    Qualification: Associate degree

    Career Overview

    Dental hygienists are health care professionals whose specialty lies in oral hygiene to provide therapeutic, administrative, clinical, educational, and research services for optimum dental health.

    Their day-to-day work involves assessing their patient’s oral tissues to determine the presence (or absence) of disease, abnormalities, or potential risks, before coming up with a dental hygiene diagnosis. They would then formulate a patient-centered treatment plan and perform the clinical procedures required to promote good oral health.

    To become a dental hygienist, you need to earn an associate degree in the field, which typically takes about three years to complete. You’ll also need to be licensed regardless of the state you reside in, which may involve passing various clinical and written examinations. The specific licensing requirements, however, may vary.

    If you plan to teach, conduct research, or run a clinical practice, you’ll need to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

    High Paying Medical Jobs You Can Land With Little Schooling

    If you wanted to become a surgeon, you would need to spend four years in medical school to get your bachelor’s degree and an additional three to seven years in an internship and residency program, depending on the specific area you intend to specialize in.

    That’s an average of seven to 11 years in school.

    It’s no different if you wanted to become a physician or dentist. If that’s entirely too long for you, but you still want to pursue a medical career, there are plenty of high paying medical jobs you can land with little schooling.

    Here are some of the top options you might want to consider.

    Surgical Technologist

    Median Annual Salary: $48,300

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: 7% (Considered faster than average)

    Qualification: Postsecondary education award

    Career Overview

    No operating room (OR) would be deemed complete without surgical technologists. These professionals are usually the first members of the team to enter the OR before surgery. Their roles can be classified into three phases:

    Preoperative Phase

    In this stage, surgical technologists first have to adorn their OR attire, which also includes scrubs. They then proceed to prepare the room, an important part of which is sterilization.

    Once that’s complete, they gather all the equipment, surgical tools, and instruments required for the procedure. They need to ensure that everything is clean and sterilized, properly arranged, and in the right numbers as required for the operation.

    It’s not enough for the OR to be sterilized. Surgical technologists are also charged with maintaining the room’s sterile conditions, which can be compromised in several ways.

    The most common of these is through the introduction of moisture. To prevent this from happening, surgical techs usually arrange dry drapes around the operating table to keep all surfaces dry and sterile.

    Intraoperative Phase

    Surgical technologists also have to be present during the operation, effectively becoming the surgeon’s “third hand” during a procedure, to maintain the sterility of the operating environment.

    They do this by preparing the required medications and administering them to the patient, retracting tissues, and passing the surgical tools to both the surgeon and their assistants during the procedure.

    If a surgical instrument ends up contaminated or missing during an operation, the resulting infection or delay could cost the patient their life. That’s why surgical technologists have to be present, thorough, and diligent at all times.

    Post-Operative Phase

    Once the surgery wraps up, a surgical tech has to perform several post-operative tasks. These include suturing the incision and applying disinfected dressings to the area, counting all the surgical tools and instruments used during the procedure to ensure nothing accidentally gets left behind in the patient, and disposing of items such as gauze and needles.

    They have to do this while maintaining the OR’s sterile environment up until the moment the patient gets wheeled to the recovery ward.

    Pathway to Becoming a Surgical Tech

    If you’re looking for a good career with little schooling, surgical tech is one of the best options to consider. All you need is a postsecondary non-degree award like a certificate or diploma in an accredited surgical technology program. You could also pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree in the field. Career prospects for the latter are much better.

    Several universities, community colleges, and vocational schools offer training programs that range anywhere between several months to two years. The courses center on teaching students proper sterilization techniques, how to prevent and control infections, setting up technical and robot medical equipment, and the general care and safety of patients.

    Getting certified may prove to be quite beneficial in making you stand out from other applicants and landing your dream job. The two main credentialing organizations are the National Center for Competency Testing that allows you to become a “Tech in Surgery – Certified” and the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, to earn the title “Certified Surgical Technologist.”

    Once you qualify, you may choose to advance to another medical career such as Registered Nursing.

    Dental Assistant

    Median Annual Salary: $40,080

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: 7% (Considered faster than average)

    Qualification: Postsecondary education award

    Career Overview

    If you’re looking for an exciting career that combines the operational and functional elements of an office with those of health care services, then you should consider taking up dental assisting. Many individuals use this as the stepping stone to pursue a career in dental medicine.

    The role of a dental assistant ranges from prepping the patient for a procedure to administrative tasks such as maintaining patient records and scheduling appointments. Here’s an overview of the various types of dental assistants that exist.

    Unregistered Dental Assistants

    These individuals typically have on-the-job training. You would be expected to greet patients and escort them to the appropriate room, as well as handle the necessary official paperwork, which may include ordering inventory and billing activities.

    Your role may also involve maintaining infection control standards, in addition to setting up and preparing for certain dental procedures as permitted by the practice. That being said, the majority of employers hardly ever hire dental assistants with no prior formal training.

    Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologists

    Individuals who fall into this category of dental assistants usually already have their dental X-ray license. They’re permitted to perform all the functions and duties of unregistered dental assistants as detailed above, as well as take dental X-rays (radiography).

    Certified Dental Assistants

    Earning a CDA certification from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) is an educational milestone and can be broken down into three phases.

    There’s the Radiation Health & Safety element that’s integrated into the process of getting a Dental Radiologic Technologist License (LDRT).

    There are also the Infection Control and General Chairside components. These involve sterilizing tools and instruments, assisting with root canals, crowns, restorative procedures, and the preparation of sharps containers for subsequent disposal.

    Certified Orthodontic Assistants

    To get a COA certification, you need to pass a set of two component-exams administered by DANB. Dental assistants can then use this credential to show potential employers that they are proficient in orthodontic assisting and infection control.

    The primary role of a COA includes taking X-rays, preparing dental tools and instruments before a procedure, assisting with dental molds, assessing teeth and jaw, cleaning and tightening braces, addressing cavity issues, as well as a variety of other dental functions.

    Certified Preventive Dental Assistants

    To become a CPDA, you’ll need to pass four component-exams administered by DANB. These will allow you to apply sealants, coronal polish, topical fluoride, as well as topical anesthetics. There are no prerequisites required to take these examinations.

    Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistants

    This is an intermediate-level certification for dental assistants issued by DANB. It consists of four component exams that allow successful candidates to perform complex tasks, including filling and polishing amalgams, making final impressions for crowns, bridges, removable partial dentures, and filling restorations. They’re also permitted to apply sealants.

    Pathway to Dental Assisting

    Dental assisting is one of the few jobs in the medical industry that require little schooling. As a result, there are several possible pathways to becoming a fully-fledged professional in the field.

    Depending on your state’s certification and licensing requirements, you can learn through on-the-job training, pass a certification exam from a credentialing body like DANB, or graduate from an accredited program if you prefer to go the formal education route.

    Given that this particular career doesn’t have any formal educational requirements, it is one of the few high paying medical jobs you can land with little schooling, even if all you have is a high school diploma. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for the highest-paid 10 percent in this field is $56,930.

    Physical Therapist

    Median Annual Salary: $89,440

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: 18% (Considered faster than average)

    Qualification: Professional degree

    Career Overview

    If you’re wondering what high paying job can make 80k a year without a degree, the truth is, there aren’t many. Nonetheless, a career in physical therapy comes pretty darn close.

    With a median annual wage of $89k+ and only three years of training required, becoming a physical therapist is quite a lucrative career path. These professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating patients with disabilities, injuries, and a host of other health conditions that have led to mobility loss.

    Physical therapists also provide their services to people who are simply looking to lead a healthier life and prevent potential mobility issues that may crop up in the future. The field has five distinct practice areas that individuals pursuing a career in physical therapy can pursue.

    Orthopedic Physical Therapists

    Specialists in this area focus on restoring mobility and function to the musculoskeletal system, including bones, ligaments, tendons, and joints. Sports-related injuries also fall in this category.

    Geriatric Physical Therapists

    A geriatric PT works primarily with older adults suffering from age-related ailments like osteoporosis, cancer, arthritis, and balance disorders. The goal of professionals in this sub-specialty of physical therapy is to reduce pain, restore mobility, enhance fitness, and help patients become more accommodating to their physical limitations.

    Neurological Physical Therapists

    A neurological PT focuses on patients suffering from neurological impairments and disorders resulting from conditions like cerebral palsy, brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke. They teach patients to adapt to mobility, balance, and muscle loss impairment to live as independently as they possibly can.

    Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapists

    A cardiopulmonary PT helps individuals suffering from the effects of pulmonary and cardiovascular-related conditions such as pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart attacks. The goal of treatment is to promote their patients’ functional independence and enhance endurance. 

    Pediatric Physical Therapists

    A pediatric PT focuses on the unique mobility needs of adolescents, children, toddlers, and infants who exhibit problems with learning and natural movement. These medical professionals typically work with minors suffering from injuries or diseases resulting from genetic disorders, developmental delays, congenital disabilities, head trauma, acute injury, limb deficiencies, and so forth.

    Pathway to Becoming a PT

    If this high-paying job is something that you might be interested in, you will need to pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program, typically lasting three years. Applicants will need to have a bachelor’s degree with prerequisite courses in physiology, physics, chemistry, biology, and anatomy.

    You’ll need to apply for a clinical residency program as well once you graduate. All states require PTs to be licensed by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

    Medical Transcriptionist

    Median Annual Salary: $33,380

    Job Outlook 2019-2029: -2% (decline)

    Qualification: Postsecondary education award

    Career Overview

    If you’re looking for medical jobs that have easy degrees with high pay and only require two years or less of college or training, you should consider becoming a medical transcriptionist.

    Your role would be to create written reports and other administrative documents based on physicians’ and health care workers’ dictated recordings. Most transcriptionists work in physicians’ practices, hospitals, and third-party transcription firms as full-time employees or independent contractors.

    Although you don’t need a bachelor’s or associate’s degree to become a transcriptionist, you need some form of postsecondary education, which several community colleges, vocational schools, and distance learning programs offer. Most of them are one-year certificate programs, although some schools offer associate’s degrees.

    While it’s not a requirement, you can get a medical transcription certification from various credentialing organizations such as the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity.

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