Top 50 Health Care Careers for 2020

According to Medical Technology Schools

  1. Physical Therapist – Physical therapy tops this health career list because it is a lucrative position with tremendous growth expected in the coming years. It also offers a relatively flexible and comfortable lifestyle. As of May 2018, the median annual wage for physical therapists was $87,930 and demand for these health professionals is expected to grow by 22 percent in the decade preceding 2028. Unlike some other health professionals, physical therapists are often able to make their own hours, choose their clients, and are more likely to be self-employed.

  2. Dental Hygienist – Between 2018 and 2028, more than 23,700 new dental hygienist jobs are expected to be available. That represents an impressive growth rate of 11 percent, which is considered much faster than average. Dental hygienists earn a median annual wage of $74,820, and typically hold at least associate degrees.

  3. Physician Assistant – Not to be confused with medical assistants, physician assistants are highly trained health workers with advanced degrees who work closely with medical doctors to diagnose and treat illness. In 2018, the median salary for a physician assistant in the US was $108,610, helping to make this challenging career one of the most lucrative in healthcare.

  4. Nurse Practitioner – In many states, nurse practitioners are licensed to do much of what physicians can do. As the demand for healthcare services increases over the next decade, the demand for nurse practitioners is expected to increase 26 percent. With a median salary of $113,930, this career is even more lucrative than that of physician assistants, particularly for in-demand specializations like adult care, gerontology, neonatal, pediatric, and more.

  5. Physician – Becoming a physician carries a great deal of prestige and requires a significant investment of time and financial resources. But the tangible rewards in this field are also pronounced. The median salary for a physician in 2018 was more than $208,000 annually. It should be no surprise that this is among the top healthcare careers available. Please note that most physicians require 11 to 15 years of postsecondary schooling and training. They also usually incur substantial student loan debts.

  6. Registered Nurse – As of 2018, there are over three million registered nurse jobs in the US and that number is expected to swell 12 percent through the year 2028. Nurses enjoy a median salary of $71,730 for their work providing and coordinating care, as well as educating and supporting patients in their wellness journeys.

  7. Occupational Therapist – The BLS has noted that demand for occupational therapists is expected to grow much faster than average at a rate of 18 percent by the year 2028. This growth coupled with a relatively high median salary of $84,270 per year make this a highly desirable career pursuit. OTs typically have at least a master’s degree.

  8. Home Health Aide – Not every health worker spends their days in a hospital or clinic. Home health aides have the opportunity to assist patients in the comfort of the patient’s home and while doing so enjoying a wide open employment market with a 41 percent projected growth-rate. Although the salary is just slightly higher than the minimum wage of many states ($11.57 hourly), with 1,185,800 jobs being added by 2028, there are expected to be many opportunities in this field. Highly accessible, the educational requirement for home health aides is a high school diploma or an equivalency exam.

  9. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer – Diagnostic medical sonographers get to work closely with physicians but do not require nearly as much training, which means a faster track to employment. Demand for medical sonographers is expected to grow 19 percent through 2028, which translates into ample opportunities for graduating students. Sonographers generally have at least an associate’s degree and certification. They earn a median annual salary of $67,080 and work in hospitals, laboratories, or medical office settings.

  10. Licensed Practical or Licensed Vocational Nurse – It’s no secret that the demand for all types of nurses is high, with some even terming the shortage a crisis. In response, the demand for licensed practical and vocational nurses is expected to climb, with nearly 78,100 more jobs being added between 2018 and 2028. Working under the supervision of RNs and physicians, LPNs and LVNs provide nursing care to individuals of all ages.

  11. Physical Therapist Assistant – With a high demand and salary for PTs, it should come as no surprise that physical therapist assistants are not far behind. The median salary for this career comes in at $48,090 and demand is expected to grow by a whopping 26 percent through 2028. Similar to LPNs, PTAs work under the guidance of a physical therapist to assist patients with mobility, physical wellness, and pain management.

  12. Dental Assistant – The field of dentistry is growing and dental assistants are in demand. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $38,660 and have 11 percent expected job-growth between 2018 and 2028. With no graduate degree requirements, this job is a relatively quick way to start working in dentistry.

  13. Medical Assistant – A medical assistant can work anywhere from a physician’s office to an emergency room, giving this career a lot of variety. More importantly, 154,900 jobs are expected to be added to this profession by 2028, meaning that there will be plenty of open positions in the next decade.

  14. Medical or Clinical Laboratory Technician – As medical technology expands, the need for trained professionals to maintain and interpret that technology grows. That is why the demand for medical and clinical laboratory technicians is expected to increase by nearly 11 percent in the coming years. Professionals in this field can expect to earn up to $40,350 as a median annual salary, and with 23,100 jobs to be added between 2018 and 2028, you can expect the positions to be around after students complete their postsecondary nondegree award.

  15. Pharmacist – While the need for pharmacists is actually expected to decrease between 2018 and 2028, the salary is much higher than most. The median income for this health career is $126,120, making it an attractive opportunity for students willing to pursue an advanced degree. Pharmacists are responsible for filling and dispensing medications, in addition to counseling patients on their use.

  16. Surgeon – A career in surgery is certainly not one to take on lightly. It requires years of schooling as well as specialized training. However, surgeons can expect to earn more than $208,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  17. Radiologic Technologist – Diagnostic imaging techniques such as x-rays have been around for many years, and they’re still one of the most effective ways to diagnose tumors and cancers. Radiologic technologists are expected to be in high demand, with 23,300 expected positions added through 2028. Radiographers also earn a decent living at $61,240 yearly with an associate’s degree.

  18. Surgical Technologist – While we know that surgeons are well compensated, their assistants, who require much less school and fewer training hours, are also in-demand. The demand for surgical technologists, also known as operating room technicians, is expected to grow by at least 9 percent through the year 2028.

  19. Dentist – With more school required and less job growth expected, dentistry is a bit lower ranked than dental hygienist or dental assistant. However, on average, dentists make an annual salary of $156,240 and may own their dental practices, which makes it relatively flexible for scheduling.

  20. Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic – The life of an emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic is certainly never dull. These life-saving health professionals are also in high demand with more than 18,700 jobs expected to be added through the year 2028. With training required beyond high school (non-degree), EMT and paramedic services may be a good career path for individuals contemplating a career in the medical field or who thrive on adrenaline and helping others in crisis.

  21. Nursing Assistant – In another instance of nursing skills being in high demand, more than 137,800 new nursing assistant jobs are expected to be added to the field by the year 2028. Nursing assistants also have a range of work environments available to them, including nursing homes, hospitals, and private physicians’ offices.

  22. Family Physician or General Practitioner – A physician does not have to be highly specialized to be in demand with an enviable salary. Family physicians and general practitioners, many of whom are self-employed, can earn an average salary of more than $208,000 per year.

  23. Speech-language Pathologist – Also known as speech therapists, speech-language pathologists are certainly in demand with an expected growth-rate of 27 percent through 2028. While a master’s degree is required to start this career, speech-language pathologists earn a median annual salary of $77,510 per year.

  24. Occupational Therapy Assistant – With an expected growth of 31 percent through 2028, occupational therapy assistants are one of the most in-demand careers in healthcare. Occupational therapy assistants earn a median annual salary of $57,620 and with a minimum requirement of an associate’s degree, this can be an attractive career for anyone seeking relatively quick employment in a helping profession.

  25. Anesthesiologist – The only physician specialty that is higher paid, on average, than general surgery is anesthesiology. These highly trained physicians earn a median annual salary of $265,990. While the overall demand is less than some other healthcare careers, the high salary was an important factor when ranking this job.

  26. Medical Records or Health Information Technician – Not all health professions involve a high degree of patient contact. Medical records and health information technicians work to organize and manage health information data, usually far from patients. The demand for these professionals is expected to grow at least 11 percent through 2028, with 23,100 new jobs being added during that time-span.

  27. Nurse Anesthetist – Just as anesthesiologists are in high demand and command high salaries, nurse anesthetists are also needed around the country. Nurse anesthetists garner a median salary of $113,930 and require a master’s degree.

  28. Cardiovascular Technologist or Technician – Another career that specializes in medical imaging is the cardiovascular technologist and technician career. These professionals most often work full-time in hospitals, maintaining and running cardiovascular monitoring equipment. The demand for cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to grow 7 percent through 2028. These technicians can expect to make a median annual salary of $67,080.

  29. Phlebotomist – With an expected growth rate of 23 percent between the years of 2018 and 2028 and a median annual salary of $34,480, phlebotomists are situated firmly in the middle section of this list. These medical personnel withdraw blood or plasma from patients for a wide variety of purposes.

  30. Pharmacy Technician – A pharmacy technician is an assistant to a pharmacist with much less training. As the need for prescription medications expands, so too does the demand for this particular career. About 31,500 jobs for pharmacy technicians are expected to be added by 2028. Professionals in this field can expect to make a median annual salary of $32,700.

  31. Health Technologist or Technician (Other) – The Bureau of Labor Statistics created this category for those technicians not explicitly named in other classifications. An example would be the dialysis technician. The need for these technologists and technicians as a whole is expected to increase 11 percent from 2018 through 2028.

  32. Massage Therapist – Individuals interested in pursuing a health career who want to work for themselves may consider a career in massage therapy, as nearly half of all massage therapists are self-employed. The demand for massage therapists is also high, expecting to increase 22 percent by 2028. The BLS states that massage therapists only require a postsecondary nondegree award and make a median salary of $41,420.

  33. Optometrist – Another career requiring a doctoral degree, optometrists can expect to earn about $111,790 annually. The demand for these specialists is also high, with more than 4,000 jobs expected to be added by 2028. In addition to performing eye exams, optometrists diagnose and treat problems with vision, eye diseases, injuries, and disorders.

  34. Respiratory Therapist – These medical professionals help patients to treat the symptoms of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma or emphysema. To pursue this career, students must earn at least an associate’s degree and can look forward to a median salary of $60,280 per year.

  35. Veterinary Technologist or Technician – Of course, not all health careers involve taking care of humans. Veterinary technologists care of animal patients of all shapes and sizes and are rewarded for those efforts with a median salary of $34,420. The demand for veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to grow by almost 19 percent by 2028.

  36. Physical Therapist Aide – A physical therapist aide does work that is slightly different from that of a physical therapist assistant, but the position is still in demand. Physical therapist aides assist physical therapists and physicians with whatever administrative, clinical, or scheduling needs they might have. Through 2028, a 26 percent increase in demand in this particular career is expected, which means more than 38,000 new jobs around the country.

  37. Medical/Clinical Laboratory Scientist – The career of a medical or clinical laboratory scientist can prove a rewarding one. With an 11 percent expected increase in job openings by 2028, it’s expected to grow faster than the national average for all careers. These positions pay a median annual salary of $52,330.

  38. Therapist – The therapists in this BLS category may include music, art, or family therapists, or others that do not fit into another category such as psychologists. This is another job with a great deal of flexibility since more than half of these therapists are self-employed and can still command a median salary of more than $50,940. A minimum education requirement for therapists is usually a master’s degree.

  39. Dietitian/Nutritionist – Working with patients to help them live healthier lives can be extremely rewarding, as any dietitian or nutritionist will know. These professionals have a job that is expecting to see a more than 11 percent increase in demand by 2028. Dieticians and nutritionists have a wide variety of backgrounds, but degrees in health or science will help prepare those interested in this field.

  40. Optician, Dispensing – A dispensing optician assists people in finding and fitting eyeglasses and contacts by following the prescriptions provided by ophthalmologists and optometrists. More than 5,400 dispensing optician jobs are expected to be added by 2028.

  41. Internist, General – A general internist, who may also be known as a doctor of internal medicine, can earn about $200,000 per year with the proper training. The primary role of internal medicine doctors is to provide non-surgical treatment of injuries and diseases of the internal organs of their adult patients.

  42. Audiologist – Although audiologists do need an advanced degree, they do not require a medical degree. They usually hold master’s degrees. These hearing and balance specialists earn a median salary of $75,920 per year and there is expected to be 16 percent growth nationally in opportunities for these medical professionals between 2018 and 2028.

  43. Veterinarian – Though veterinarians do not have quite the job outlook of their related technicians, they can expect a higher-than-average salary. The median annual salary for a veterinarian is $93,830 and 18 percent growth is expected through 2026.

  44. MRI Technologist – MRI technologists get to work alongside physicians with some of the most sophisticated medical equipment available to diagnose and treat patients. With just an associate’s degree, new MRI techs can enter this well-paid field that is expected to grow by 9 percent by the year 2028. MRI technologists make a median annual salary of $61,240, according to the BLS.

  45. Ophthalmic Medical Technician – Another field experiencing a boom in growth is that of ophthalmic medical technicians. The demand for this career in which specialists construct, fit, and repair eyeglasses is expected to grow by an impressive 11 percent through 2028. Ophthalmic technicians also counsel patients on treatments, schedule appointments, and assist eye doctors with in-office procedures.

  46. Radiation Therapist – Working with cancer patients and individuals with other serious illnesses is not easy, but it can be very rewarding. Radiation therapists, for their hard work, earn a median salary of $82,330 per year and 1,600 radiation therapy jobs are expected to be added nationally by 2028. The job is one that requires a relatively short period of education, only as much as is necessary to obtain an associate’s degree. This is typically a period of two years.

  47. Pediatrician – Physicians who specialize in working with children can be among the most compassionate individuals. They can be found working in hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms, and various specialty centers. Like all professionals with a medical degree, pediatricians are in high demand at all times, so much so that the field is expected to grow 7 percent, with median salaries of $183,240.

  48. Nuclear Medicine Technologist – Nuclear medicine technologists are one of the highest paying healthcare careers that does not require an advanced degree, although an associate’s degree and 1,300 practice hours are required. Growth for this career is projected to be strong nationally (7 percent by 2028), although jobs are concentrated heavily in certain regions, such as California and the District of Columbia. The median pay for these skilled professionals is $76,820 per year, which is equal to $36.93 per hour in a 40-hour work week.

  49. Orthotist or Prosthetist – Orthotists and prosthetists, or O&P professionals, design devices that support patients with a medical need, including prosthetics. The demand for these skills is expected to increase by 20 percent, which is much faster than average, through 2028. O&P professionals always have master’s degrees and must have completed an internship or residency prior to employment in the field.

  50. Psychiatrist – A psychiatrist is a physician who is specially trained to deal with mental and other psychological illnesses. These physicians can command a median salary of more than $216,000, depending on location, expertise, and type of practice. Psychiatrists hold doctorates in their fields and usually operate their own practices, where they maintain professional relationships with many different clients.


20 Highest Paid Non-Physician Jobs in Healthcare

According to Health Care Management Degree Guide – 2019

#20 – Respiratory Therapist

If you’ve ever sought treatment for breathing difficulty, you probably saw a respiratory therapist. Respiratory therapists treat a variety of breathing disorders including chronic respiratory diseases like asthma or emphysema. The patients they treat range from premature neonates with undeveloped lungs to elderly patients suffering from lung disease.

Median Salary: $60,280

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 23% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associate’s Degree

Additional Information:

Although the minimum requirement to become a respiratory therapist is an associates degree, respiratory therapists need to become licensed in their state (except Alaska). Employment is expected to rise at a rate much faster than average due to growth in the middle-aged and elderly population, who are more susceptible to respiratory conditions.

#19 – Dieticians and Nutritionists

Dieticians and nutritionists are health care professionals who are experts in the area of food and nutrition. They use their knowledge to promote a healthy diet and manage disease. Dieticians and nutritionists are valuable resources in the treatment of obesity and diabetes.

Median Salary: $60,370

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 15% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree

Additional Information:

Continued growth is expected for dietician and nutritionists roles as we learn more about the connection between diet and overall health.

#18 – Radiologic and MRI Technicians

Another top non-physician healthcare job that pays well are radiologic and MRI technologists. These professionals, known as radiographers, perform imaging services such as x-rays. MRI technologists are trained to provide patients with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to help physicians with diagnostics.

Median Salary: $61,240

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 13% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associates’s Degree

Additional Information:

Employment of radiologic or MRI technologists is expected to grow by almost 30,300 jobs through 2026. Most professionals need an associate’s degree and become licensed or certified in their states.

#17 – Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists

Diagnostic imaging professionals include medical sonographers, cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists They’re also called diagnostic imaging workers. They use specialized equipment to create images or conduct tests that help physicians make informed diagnostics. Most of these professionals work in hospitals but some work in doctors’ offices or  lab settings.

Median Salary: $67,080

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 17% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associate’s Degree

Additional Information:
This varied field is expecting much faster than average rates of growth, with a prediction of about 21,100 new positions nationwide by 2026.

#16 – Orthotic and Prosthetics Professionals

Orthotic and prosthetics professionals are among the highest paid non-physician health care providers. These professionals design, fabricate, measure and fit orthotic and prosthetic devices for all ages. They work with artificial limbs, braces, and other medical or surgical prosthetic devices. Positions are found in a variety of industries including:

  • manufacturing

  • health and personal care

  • hospitals.

Median Salary: $69,120

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 22% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
The demand for orthotic and prosthetic professionals is expected to continue to grow as the baby boom population enters old age. Cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the leading causes of limb loss, are more common with older individuals.

#15 – Occupational Health and Safety Specialist and Technicians

Meeting workplace health and safety standards is something all organizations strive for. Occupational health and safety professionals are on the frontline of workplace health and safety. These highly paid non-physician healthcare providers collect and analyze data across a variety of work environments. They help ensure they are meeting industry standards and regulations. They also make recommendations and help remediate compliance issues.
Median Salary: $69,370

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 8% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree

Additional Information:
Positions in the field of Occupational Health and Safety Technology is expected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth projection is based on the need for employers to adhere to existing and new regulations in the workplace. A number of vibrant degree programs in healthcare quality and patient safety can connect students quickly with this emerging field.

#14 – Chiropractors

Of all the non-physician healthcare professionals on our list, chiropractors are among the most highly educated. Chiropractors treat patients through spinal adjustments and manipulation (and other clinical interventions). They help alleviate health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system. Most work independently, but some work in group chiropractic practice. Chiropractors must earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree which typically takes four years after undergraduate study.

Median Salary: $71,410

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 12% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Doctoral or professional degree

Additional Information:
An additional 5,900 jobs are expected to be added in the chiropractic field through 2026. This increase is attributed to the increased interest in integrative or complementary healthcare as a way to manage pain and promote overall wellness. Since chiropractors use non-surgical methods and do not prescribe drugs, chiropractic care is very appealing to patients.

#13 – Registered Nurse

A registered nurse, or RN, is a skilled nursing position focused on patient care. There are a few different ways to become an RN but most have a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). RNs provide and coordinate patient care and give advice and support to patients and their families. RNs can be found in most healthcare settings including:

  • hospitals

  • physician offices

  • home health

  • long term care facilities.

Median Salary: $71,730

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 15% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree

Additional Information:
Employment of registered nurses is expected to see a rate of growth upwards of 15 percent from 2016 to 2026,. This is much faster than average growth for all occupations nationwide. The field will continue to grow for a variety of reasons including:

  • a focus on preventative care

  • an increase in chronic conditions

  • an aging baby boomer population.

#12 – Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists play an essential role in a dental office. Dental hygienists are responsible for cleaning patients’ teeth, checking for signs of oral diseases or decay such as gingivitis. They also provide other preventative dental care measures such as fluoride treatment or x-rays. They are also responsible for educating patients on how they can improve and maintain good oral health for themselves and their families.

Median Salary: $74,820

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 20% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associate’s Degree

Additional Information:
Dental hygienists must minimally hold an Associate’s Degree in dental hygiene. All states require dental hygienists to be licensed. The demand for dental hygienists is expected to grow at a rate much faster than average due in part to continued research showing the direct link between oral and overall personal health.

#11 – Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Nuclear Medicine Technologists use a sophisticated scanner to produce images of various areas of a patient’s body to help diagnose or treat certain medical conditions. They prepare radioactive drugs and administer them to patients undergoing the scans. The radioactive drugs cause abnormal areas of the body to appear different from normal areas in the images This allows doctors to locate and treat problem areas.

Median Salary: $76,820

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 10% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associate’s Degree

Additional Information:
Nuclear medicine technologists must hold a minimum of an Associate’s Degree from an accredited nuclear medicine technology program. The predicted rise of employment is again related to an aging population. This group relies on nuclear medicine technologists to provide imaging to patients with conditions like cancer or heart disease.

#10 – Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists, or speech therapists, assess, diagnose, and treat communication and swallowing disorders. They work with children and adults struggling with speech, language, and swallowing disorders stemming from:

  • strokes

  • brain injury

  • developmental delays

  • autism

Almost 40% of speech therapists work in schools, while the rest work in healthcare facilities including hospitals.

Median Salary: $77,510

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 18% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
Employment of Speech-Language Pathologists is expected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is considered much faster than the average growth for all occupations. As the average age of the baby-boom population advances, they are at greater risk for heath conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as strokes and dementia.

#9 – Genetic Counselor

A genetic counselor is a healthcare professional with specialized training in genetics and counseling. They provide risk assessment, education, and support to patients who want information about their risk for inheriting certain diseases. They also interpret genetic tests and serve as patient advocates. Most genetic counselors work full-time. They work in a variety of settings including:

  • medical centers

  • private and public hospitals,

  • diagnostic laboratories.

Median Salary: $80,370

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 29% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
The field of Genetic Counseling is seeing a much faster than average rate of growth, with a prediction of almost 900 new positions nationwide by 2026.

#8 – Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists are part of a healthcare team that administers high doses of radiation to help treat cancer or other serious diseases. They collect and analyze patient data to plan a patient’s treatment. Most radiation therapists have earned a minimum of an associate’s degree and are usually licensed or certified by their particular state. Radiation therapist jobs can be found in:

  • hospitals

  • physician offices

  • outpatient treatment centers

These well-paid non-physician positions are usually full-time.

Median Salary: $82,330

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 13% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associate’s Degree

Additional Information:
Employment of radiation therapists is expected to rise 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is considered faster than average growth for all occupations. As the population ages and radiation therapies advance, the demand for radiation therapists is expected to rise. The result is about 2,400 new jobs over the 10-year period.

#7 – Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists (OTs) are professionals with extensive training treating injured, sick, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. OTs work with patients to develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working that have been lost or impaired. Half of all OTs work in OT clinics or hospitals. Others work in nursing homes, schools, or home health.

Median Salary: $84,270

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 24% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
Employment of Occupational Therapists is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than average growth for all occupations. Experts predict there will be an increase for occupational therapists since OTs are a valuable resource in the treatment of a variety of illnesses and disabilities including Alzheimer’s disease and autism.

#6 – Physical Therapist

Physical therapists, or PTs, help patients improve their range of motion or manage pain caused by illness or injury. These highly-paid non-physician healthcare professionals play a critical role in the recovery and rehabilitation of individuals who have had surgery or need to recover from a loss of function. PTs create treatment plans, work with individuals to reach their full potential, and complete assessments.

Median Salary: $87,930

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 28% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Doctoral or professional degree

Additional Information:
Employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The need for physical therapy services will come, in large part, from the aging baby boom generation. These folks are staying active later in life but are also at risk for health conditions such as a stroke, which would require physical therapy. Physical therapists will also be needed to treat people with mobility issues stemming from common chronic conditions, such as diabetes or obesity.

#5 – Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers are responsible for analyzing and designing solutions in healthcare using both engineering and medical principles and science. The goal of this field is improving the quality and effectiveness of patient care through advances in equipment, devices, computer systems and software.

Median Salary: $88,550

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 7% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree

Additional Information:
Employment of biomedical engineers is expected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is considered as fast as average. The need for these professionals will continue to grow largely because of a the medical needs for an aging population and advances in technology.

#4 – Medical and Health Services Manager

Medical and Health Services Managers — also called Healthcare Executives, Healthcare Administrators or Healthcare Managers — are responsible for coordinating and directing medical services across a variety of settings. These professionals may manage an entire facility or specialize in managing one specific clinical area or department. Some of these professionals may also manage a medical practice for a group of physicians or clinics. Medical and health services managers have knowledge and training in:

  • business

  • ethics

  • finance

  • healthcare laws

  • technology.

Median Salary: $99,730

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 20% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree

Additional Information:
Most medical and health services managers hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree before entering the field. Master’s and Doctoral degrees are commonly found among higher-level professionals in this field. There are a wide variety of traditional and online Master’s Degree programs in healthcare administration or management, with a track record of high quality education in healthcare management.

#3 – Physician Assistant

Physician assistants, or PAs, are well paid and highly educated healthcare providers who examine, diagnose, and treat patients. Physician assistants can also order medications. Most PAs work full-time in physician offices, outpatient clinics or hospitals.

Median Salary: $108,610

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 37% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
Physician Assistants are required to complete an accredited educational program that typically leads to a Master’s Degree. Employment of physician assistants is expected to grow 37 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than average growth for all occupations. This projected growth stems from an increased demand in healthcare services.

#2 – Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses include nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. These nursing professionals provide both primary and specialty healthcare. In addition to earning a master’s degree in one of the APRN roles, they must pass a national and state certification exam.

Median Salary: $113,930

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 31% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses work in a variety of healthcare settings including:

  • hospitals

  • clinics

  • physician offices.

#1 – Pharmacist

Pharmacists play a significant role in health and wellness. Licensed pharmacists are responsible for dispensing prescription medications to patients and provide instruction in the safe use of these prescriptions. They may also provide advice to patients on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, conduct health and wellness screenings, and give immunizations.

Median Salary: $126,120

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 6% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Doctoral or professional degree

Additional Information:
Pharmacists must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), a 4-year professional degree. They must also be licensed, which requires passing two exams. Between 2016 and 2026, an additional 17,400 pharmacist jobs are expected. The rising demand for prescription medications will lead to more demand for highly educated pharmacy professionals.

The 20 Best Paying Health-Care Careers Where You Don’t Need to Be a Doctor

According to Super Scholar – 2020

1. Pharmacists – Salary: $106,630

The pharmacist must know the composition, effects, and possible side effects of common prescribed medications and treatments Patients must be counseled how to use medications and what to avoid when using them.

Many people over 50 have one or more chronic illnesses, managed principally by medications and associated lifestyle changes. The pharmacist may look after such patients over decades. The job includes medication knowledge and communicating good advice effectively to the patient.

Educational requirements: A pharmacist is expected to complete two years of undergraduate coursework in sciences, then pass a pharmacy college admission exam, for a four-year pharmacy program resulting in a doctorate in pharmacy (a Pharm.D.).

2. Physician Assistants – Salary: $84,830

Physicians may delegate jobs like conducting complete physicals, providing treatment, counseling patients, or prescribing routine medication to an assistant, while attending to more specialized matters.

The need for physician assistants is expected to grow, especially in rural and inner-city health care, principally due to an aging population.

Educational requirements: Start with a college degree and get some health-related work experience. After you complete an accredited, usually two-year program and pass a national exam, you can get a license. Continuing education is critical in this area, and you must complete 100 hours every two years, learning the latest effective techniques. Recertification is expected every six years.

3. Radiation Therapists – Salary: $77,340

Working with X-rays, you will review the diagnosis and prescription provided to you by a radiologist, which includes preparing the equipment and maintaining accurate records.

This is an excellent career choice for a person who is comfortable as a technical member of a medical team fighting serious illnesses like cancer. Many patients have potentially serious problems, so a reassuring personality is important. If that’s you, employment is expected to grow.

Educational requirements: You will need a bachelor’s degree, associate degree, or certificate in radiation therapy, but start by taking science courses. Radiation is physics, and the body is biology and chemistry, so you are working with the physics aspect of the human body.

4. Physical Therapists – Salary: $76,220

When people have suffered a serious illness or injury, rehabilitation programs help them heal. As a physical therapist, you assess their needs, and organize and carry out a program to help them. .

In this career, you must be half teddy bear and half drill sergeant in order to help uncertain people discover that they can really do it, even if “it” is as simple as climbing stairs again.

Educational requirements: Start with a Bachelors degree (science is best) and then you need a degree from an accredited physical therapist program.

When people come back from serious illness or accident, they often need help relearning daily living tasks, especially if they have lost limbs, senses, or functions. In this career, you assess and help them relearn their daily life a well as possible.

You want this career if you enjoy helping people succeed and tend to cheer comeback kids.

Educational requirements: You need a Masters degree and national certification, as well as a license to practice.

6. Nuclear Medicine Technologists – Salary: $68,450

You keep track of dangerous radioactive elements that can provide life-saving information or, save lives. You must know your elements and your equipment, and how they interact. You prepare the solutions and calculate the doses. You may be asked to help with the procedures.

This is a great career for someone who really enjoys helping in, say, the fight against cancer, but has a strong physics side and is most productive when focusing on the technical issues.

Educational requirements: Certificate programs are available from a variety of settings: hospitals, associate degree programs, and bachelor’s degree programs. Some schools offer radiologic training online. A key career asset is the certificate issued after you pass the exam provided by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board, recognized by state licensing agencies throughout the United States, after which you can use the professional credential, CNMT.

7. Speech-Language Pathologists – Salary: $68,350

In this career, you assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders caused by accident, disease, or birth defect. You may teach a sign or symbolic language or help the patient use speech equipment. You may research speech and language problems. A closely related degree is audiology (hearing-related problems).

This job will suit a science-minded person who enjoys working directly with people. Part of your job may include persuading people to keep trying, because success can be a matter of patience.

Educational requirements: You will usually need a Masters, Doctoral or other recognized graduate degree in biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and the social/behavioral sciences to start, and your further training in speech-language pathology will include a practicum (working under supervision). The certificate to get, following your training, is the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

8. Dental Hygienists – Salary: $67,860

As a dental hygienist, you help people keep and enjoy their teeth. That includes cleaning teeth, noticing any signs of disease, and educating patients on oral hygiene.

This is a good job for a person who likes detailed work but also has a flair for teaching and persuading.

Educational requirements: For this career, you need a two-year degree from a dental hygienist school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. A Bachelors or Masters may be required for lab work.

9. Audiologists – Salary: $66,850

The audiologist usually works with a physician, evaluating hearing, identifying problems, and prescribing and administering increasingly sophisticated hearing devices, mostly aimed at a growing aged population. But school systems offer substantial career opportunities as well. Audiologists also assess noise levels in workplaces and conduct hearing protection programs.

This career can put a music degree to work. Your key task is helping people to adjust to and compensate for hearing loss in constructive ways.

Educational requirements: An audiologist typically has an MA, but there is a trend toward PhDs. You must be licensed in your state in order to practice.

10. Orthotists and Prosthetists – Salary: $66,600

In this career, you serve people who have serious spinal or limb injuries or have lost all or parts of limbs due to accident, battle, or disease, by preparing and fitting orthopedic braces or prostheses.

Prostheses have greatly improved due to batteries, microcomputers, and small sturdy circuit boards, allowing for greater function, with more advances to come. New materials offer lighter, more natural designs, for both children and adults. Coaching skills are important because the prosthetist needs to persuade the depressed patient that the gains from learning to use the prosthesis are worth the investment of time and energy.

Educational requirements: Degree programs in prosthetics and orthotics are generally 4-year bachelor’s degree or 2-year master’s degree programs (typically following a science degree).

11. Registered Nurses – Salary: $66,530

Nursing is such a broad profession that the simplest way to describe it appeared as a subtitle on the cover of a successful 1990 book, Nurse, by Peggy Anderson: Doctors don’t keep you alive. I do. The registered nurse is a highly skilled practitioner who may, for example, be the first person to assess patients in an emergency room (triage nurse), supervise physician-directed treatments, or respond first to hospital emergencies.

Most nurses specialize, and a few examples of specialties are patient education specialists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. It is a career into which one can grow in many directions.

Educational requirements: Registered nurses usually require a Bachelor’s degree, an Associates degree, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. More and more hospitals are requiring that new hires have at least a BSN degree. Currently, there is a considerable shortage of nurses in the United States, to the extent that the government encourages nurses to immigrate. Many nursing programs are available online.

12. Occupational Health and Safety Specialists – Salary: $64,200

This career includes analyzing and evaluating the health and safety of work environments and designing programs to address issues. It includes inspections and enforcement personnel as well as environmental protection officers.

The job would suit a person who grasps the industry issues and has a flair for getting people to cooperate to avoid needless risks. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology had accredited 45 programs in health physics, industrial hygiene, and safety by 2007.

Educational requirements: This field offers a variety of degree options, including Associate degree and 1-year certificate programs, aimed at technicians. Depending on their needs, some employers require a bachelor’s degree in occupational health or safety but engineering, biology, or chemistry may be accepted as well. Some ask for a Master’s degree in industrial hygiene or a similar qualification. Online degrees are available.

13. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers – Salary: $63,640

Diagnostic medical sonographers direct sound waves into the body via ultrasound equipment, to produce an image or live video that physicians can use in detecting abnormalities.

The growth of this field can be judged by the number of expecting parents who have an ultrasound of their baby on the fridge door, but ultrasound is routine for illnesses and injuries as well. As a result, the ultrasonographer is a critical member of the health care team, and needs the ability to get the patient to cooperate as well as to interpret the results quickly and accurately.

Educational requirements:Online courses are available at the certificate, Associates degree, and Bachelors degree level. You may be taking your hands-on training at a local hospital.

14. Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists – Salary: $55,620

In this field, the technologist uses increasingly sophisticated laboratory equipment to prepare and conduct tests on human body fluids or cells, to identify disease agents or deficiencies, and then provides the information to physicians.

The field is excellent for the science-minded student who is eager to learn and use the most advanced health sciences technologies, and to upgrade skills as the opportunity arises.

Educational requirements:As in many growing fields, certificates, Associates or Bachelors degrees all provide entry, at least at the technician level. The critical path includes taking courses certified by a body such as National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) or a similarly respected body, as well as getting certification by a professional association. Note that the field encompasses so many sub-specialties that the student may be dealing with the requirements of different agencies and regulations, depending on the sub-specialty and the state. Online components are offered for many programs, but you need access to a laboratory as well.

15. Respiratory Therapists – Salary: $54,200

In this career you assess and treat breathing disorders. This includes working with the patient, but also maintaining patient records, and operating and maintaining the equipment.

Respiratory therapy is another of the fields that is growing due to an aging population. As of 2006, there was a total of 379 accredited programs in the United States, at colleges, universities, technical schools, and medical schools.

Educational requirements: You can work in respiratory therapy with a 2-year associate’s degree, but a 4-year Bachelors or Masters degree is usually a prerequisite for advancement. It is critical to study only at schools certified by Committees on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Bear in mind that in a growing field like this, you may be able to get financial or other help to upgrade your training.

16. Radiologic Technologists and Technicians – Salary: $54,180

In radiology, you would diagnose health problems or injuries by taking X-rays and CAT scans, or inserting harmless dyes into patients’ blood streams to track the results, You could also work with computed tomography (CATscan) and magnetic resonance (MRI).

New technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging have greatly expanded the field, leading to much faster than average growth. An eagerness to keep up with advancing technology and the ability to work with anxious patients are key factors for success.

Educational requirements: You could enter the field through a certificate (21-24 months), an Associates degree, or a Bachelors degree, with associate. An associate degree is the most prevalent form of educational attainment among radiologic technologists and technicians. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology accredited 213 programs resulting in a certificate, 397 programs resulting in an associate degree, and 35 resulting in a bachelor’s degree in 2009.

17. Dietitians and Nutritionists – Salary: $53,230

The dietician/nutritionist plans and organizes food services in large institutions and/or counsels individuals on diet and nutrition. Research may be part of the work.
This is a broad field, but it’s worth remembering that, as the population ages, more people will need help managing special diets (low sodium, low, cholesterol, restricted sugar, low- or high-fiber), and they will value expert advice.

Educational requirements: In addition to a Bachelors degree, there are often license, certification, or registration requirements, depending on the state.

18. Occupational Therapist Assistants – Salary: $50,830

In this career, you will help the occupational therapist with treatments and procedures. The essential purpose of occupational therapy is to help patients recovering from injury or disease or dealing with developmental delay live in an environment suited to them. A related career is Occupational Therapy Aide, where you would prepare required materials and equipment and may also perform clerical duties.

In this expected-to-grow field, in 2008 there were about 27,000 OTAs and 8,000 aides. Usually, you will have the advantage of normal working hours because therapy can be scheduled. However, you may need physical strength in order to help patients undergoing rehabilitation.

Educational requirements: An Occupational Therapist Assistant needs an Associate’s degree or certificate and, depending on the state, may be expected to pass a certification examination for licensure. Look for the designation of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Occupational Therapy Aides usually receive most of their training on the job, so it is a good way to get into this health service area while aiming at the future. A number of courses are available online.

19. Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians – Salary: $49,730

In this career you would conduct diagnostic tests on heart/lung patients, and you may conduct or assist in electrocardiograms and cardiac catheterizations. The duties and educational requirements of technologists and technicians are similar.

In this rapidly growing career, you may find yourself working with people who have life-threatening illnesses, so it will reward the technically competent person who can connect with others in a time of stress.

Educational requirements: You can work in this field with a two-year accredited degree, but increasingly, four-year programs are offered. You may qualify after only a one-year program if you have an allied health care degree. You may have difficulty finding an accredited program online or through distance learning because you will need hands-on training working directly with the patients and the equipment on the site.

20. Physical Therapist Assistants – Salary: $48,590

In this career, you would assist physical therapists in providing treatments and procedures for the physical rehabilitation of patients. Another position to consider is physical therapist aide, supervised by physical therapists or physical therapist assistants.

There were about 60,000 physical therapist assistants in 2008, and 46,000 physical therapist aides.

Educational requirements: Many states require an accredited physical therapist assistant program, offering an associates degree, as well as certification in CPR and other first aid, as well as clinical experience. Aides require a high school diploma, followed by on-the-job training. Licensing is not usually required, so this is a good career option for getting into the field right away and upgrading later.