There’s no argument that healthcare is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in healthcare are expected to grow at an astonishing rate of 23% job growth over the next decade, with an estimated 974,000 new jobs expected. This rapid growth is due, in part, to greater health insurance accessibility and the maturing of the large Baby Boomer population. Hospitals, health systems, private practices, long-term care facilities are looking to boost their services with qualified, licensed clinical and support (or ancillary) staff.
Colleges and universities, recognizing the need to educate qualified clinicians and ancillary personnel, are increasingly offering online courses and degrees for those interested, or already employed, in healthcare. Online, accredited degrees, allow students to quickly move into the work force; and, provides currently employed clinicians or healthcare workers easier paths to advance their education to the next level. Most, but not all, healthcare careers can be attained through accredited, online education.
Salary ranges for healthcare professions vary depending on the degree, area of study and licensure. Employment and earnings (not including physicians) for those working in healthcare range from $20,000 to $102,950 annually and requires individuals with diverse educational and technical backgrounds to qualify for positions in the clinical and non-clinical healthcare setting.
Educational Degrees and Accreditation Requirements
Depending on the career path, students should be aware of requirements for specific healthcare positions. For instance, students may obtain a Registered Nurse (RN) degree at a two-year community college or a Bachelor of Nursing (BSN), a Master of Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practices (DNP) at a four year school. Not all careers require graduate education; but, salaries will, naturally, be higher for more advanced degrees.
Many medical careers stipulate students attend an accredited institution. Referring again to nursing as an example, most states recognize the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) educational standards. Depending on the career, be certain your school of choice is properly accredited for your field.
Additionally, most of the higher paying healthcare careers require either certification, licensure or both. It’s important you determine that your online program of choice meets your state’s specific licensure requirements.
The more advanced the medical degree, the more expensive it might be. There are a variety of resources available for qualified students through Federal Financial Aid, scholarships and loans. Currently employed students may want to check with their Human Resources Department to see if the employer offers tuition assistance for employees advancing their career.
In 2015, President Obama presented a proposal to provide tuition-free community college programs for qualified students. Several states are currently offering tuition-free community college education. Check with your community college to see if you’re eligible for such a program.
Top Paying Healthcare Careers
The scope of careers in healthcare is broad. Not all healthcare careers involve direct patient care, but can span careers such as public relations, human resources and computer technology. Best Medical Degrees has collected a list of the highest paying healthcare careers based on information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Forbes Magazine and U.S. News and World Report. The ranking is from highest to lowest expected salaries and, in some cases, provides links to additional information such as online programs or additional information with educational requirements.
To become a Pharmacist, students must complete a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from an accredited pharmacy school. There are three and four year program options, requiring a Bachelor’s degree for admission; and, some pharmacy schools even accept high school graduates into six-year programs. Pharmacists fill medical prescriptions per physician orders, educate patients on how and when to take a prescribed medicine and inform them about potential side effects they may experience from taking the medicine. Pharmacists may find employment in hospitals, clinics, pharmacy or drug stores. The median salary for Pharmacists is $120,950 annually.
Becoming a Podiatrist requires a four year graduate program to obtain a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). Coursework includes anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology among other subjects; and, a clinical rotation is required. Podiatrists diagnose foot, ankle, and lower leg problems through physical exams, x rays, medical laboratory tests, and other methods. They provide treatment for foot, ankle, and lower leg ailments, and may prescribe special appliances to help the patient with mobility. Some, accredited online degree programs are available. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 14% ten-year job growth and a median salary of $120,700.
3. Advanced Practice Nurses (APRN)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates advanced Master Degrees in Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioner positions to grow 31% over the next decade with an average annual salary of $102,670. These specialized nurses provide primary and speciality care. An undergraduate degree in nursing is required before entry into a master’s program in APRN. See our ranking for MSN programs at Best Value Online Master of Nursing Degrees.
Requiring a four-year Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree, optometry students study anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, optics, visual science, and the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the visual system. There are some online programs available which also require clinical experiences and students may choose a speciality in family practice, low vision rehabilitation, pediatric or geriatric optometry, and ocular disease, etc. The average salary for licensed, certified Optometrist is an annual $101,410 and can expect, according to the BLS, a 27% job growth over the next ten years. U.S. News and World Report ranks this career #11 in its Best Jobs report.
Depending on the educational level and career path, median salaries in the field vary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. Graduates working as human resources managers can earn up to $100,000, while graduates working as counselors in schools, social work, non profits, etc., may see salary ranges from $39,000-$56,000. Approximately 50% of psychology prepared graduates work in hospitals or other health services, 10% in private business or nonprofit, 16% in governmental agencies, with the remainder in schools and universities (American Psychological Association). The American Psychological Association cites 15 subspecialties in this field. For more information, visit Best Value Masters In Psychology.
6. Doctor of Nursing Practice
The Doctor of Nursing Practice concentrates on the clinical practice of nursing and provides employment opportunities in nursing administration and/or clinical nursing faculty positions, as well as direct patient care. The BLS estimates salaries for this degree to be an average of $96,940 with a 34% job growth projected over the next decade. In 2006, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) endorsed the opinion that by 2015, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) would be designated as the terminal degree for licensed nurses. Find more information on DNP degrees at Best Value Online Doctor of Nursing Practice Degrees.
7. Gerontology Nurses
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, MSN and Nurse Practitioners with gerontology specialties enjoy a median salary of $96,460 (2012) and the job outlook is growing at an amazing 31% average rate over the next few years. These nurses can expect to find employment in hospitals, physician offices, outpatient and long-term care facilities. With the large Baby Boomer population aging, schools of nursing, in an attempt to address this rising need for qualified gerontology nurses, are providing online nurse practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and MSN programs with gerontology specializations. Several schools offer either an acute care or primary care track option. To review a ranking of online programs, please visit Best Online Masters in Nursing Gerontology.
8. Physician Assistants
Physician Assistants are state licensed clinicians who examine, diagnose and treat patients, order tests such as X-rays and blood work and prescribe medications. Ranked #4 in Best Jobs by U.S. News and World Report, Physician Assistants hold either bachelors or masters degrees with the masters degree considered to be the terminal degree. Most programs may be completed within two years, although some may require longer. Programs for MSPA (Master of Science Physician Assistant) are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Working physician assistants holding a bachelors degree, may want to obtain a Master of Health Science (MHS) or Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA) to allow for better career flexibility. The BLS estimates PA salaries to be averaged at $95,820. Check our ranking for Physician Assistance programs at Best Value Online Physician Assistant Masters Programs.
9. Medical Perfusionists
Medical Perfusionists assist surgical teams during cardiac and pulmonary surgeries. Operating a heart/lung machine (equipment that artificially replaces heart or lung functions during surgery) perfusionists are an integral part of the surgical team. Perfusionists monitor and correct the patient’s status by administering various blood products to the patient, regulating different medications, and observing and controlling the patient’s temperature during surgery. Students study courses in biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, as well as additional specialized training to satisfy the requirements of certification and licensure. According to Forbes Magazine, qualified perfusionists can earn $93,500 annually.
10. Health Information Managers
The government regulations contained in the 2012 Affordable Care Act requires healthcare providers to integrate electronic health records technology opening job opportunities for qualified, masters prepared Health Information Managers. Positions in HI and HIM include: Clinical data analysis, application analysis, health information management, information technology consultant, clinical informatics manager and chief information officer. U.S. News and World Report estimates the median salary range for clinical data analysts at $55,000 to about $95,000 for clinical informatics managers. For a ranking of our Best Value Masters in Healthcare Information Management online programs, visit Best Value Masters in Information Management.
11. Healthcare Administrators
With the advent of more health related services, in hospitals, out patient clinics, long-term care facilities and physician groups, the need for qualified healthcare managers or administrators (the title is interchangeable) is growing at a steady pace. Medical administrators typically hold, at least, a Bachelor degree; but, many go on to receive an Master of Business Administration. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates median salaries for this category to be $92,810 with an expected job growth increase of 17% over the next decade. For more information on Master Degrees in Healthcare Management and Administration, go to Best Value Online Masters Degree in Healthcare Management and Administration.
12. Clinical Trial Nurses
As research in oncology treatments advance, more clinical trials are added to determine the safety and efficacy of new chemotherapy drugs or other treatments (such as the use of lasers). These trials are closely monitored by hospitals offering clinical trials and must meet specific requirements by the National Institute of Health, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare clinics. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the minimum requirement to become a Clinical Trials Manager. These nurses work closely with physicians to precisely administer drugs and monitor chemotherapy treatments. Most nurses who wish to become Clinical Trials Managers work in oncology for a few years and obtain certification. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimated salary for these managers is $92,600 annually and has a strong 17% projected job growth during 2014-2024.
13. Biomedical Engineers
Requiring a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, Biomedical Engineers design and equipment and devices, train clinicians on the proper use of equipment and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medical devices. Biomedical engineers design electrical circuits, software, or computer simulations to test new drug therapies. Biomedical Engineers frequently work in research and development or in quality assurance. Earning, according to the BLS, an estimated $86,950 annually, this career is ranked #27 by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Jobs listing.
While most Biochemists, working in private research facilities, typically need a doctoral degree, careers also exist for Bachelors or Masters prepared students. Study at the master’s level is generally considered good preparation for those interested in doing hands-on laboratory work. These scientists study the chemical and physical biological processes, such as cell development, growth, heredity and disease and provide research analysis. While the projected job growth over the next ten years is low at 8%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an average salary of $84,940. U.S. News and World Report ranks this #77 in its Best Jobs report.
15. Physical Therapists
Following accidents, strokes or illnesses, patients may need assistance in returning to normal activities. Physical Therapists consult with physicians to develop rehabilitation plans to help patients achieve optimum mobility. Ranked #12 in US News and World Report’s 100 Best Jobs. Physical Therapists must obtain a graduate degree from an accredited institution, which typically takes three years, and be state licensed. Earning an estimated $82,390 annually, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 34% job growth in the profession over the next decade.
Radiation Therapists earn an average of $80,090 annually and has a projected job growth of around 14% over the next ten years. An Associates Degree in nuclear medicine technology is required with studies in human anatomy and physiology, physics, chemistry, radioactive drugs, and computer science. Radiation Therapists work in hospitals and specialized oncology clinics. The Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology accredits nuclear medicine programs and most require a clinical experience and licensure is required by most states.
17. Information Security Analysts
With the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996, the importance of maintaining secure computer records and systems took center stage in terms of compliance. Information Security Analysts are vital to a hospital or health system’s ability to maintain state and federal compliance regarding patient medical records. They’re responsible for monitoring security breaches and installation of appropriate software, firewalls and data encryption programs. This career requires at least a Bachelor’s degree in information technology and the BLS estimates $88,890 salary annually and has an impressive 18% job 10 year growth expectation.
18. Medical Scientists
Medical scientists typically have a Ph.D., in biology or a related life science, and conduct research designed to identify new medicines and treatments used in treating patients. Scientists analyze medical samples to investigate causes and treatment of chronic diseases, pathogens or toxicity. They also define drug potency and dosages in manufacturing of medical compounds and pharmaceuticals and some create medical devices. Earning an average of $79,930, most Medical Scientists hold a PhD, usually in biology or life sciences. The U.S. News and World Report ranks this profession at #76 in its Best Jobs report.
19. Occupational Therapists
Occupational Therapists work with patients following accident, surgery, stroke or other illness, that leaves patients needing help to relearn everyday tasks. Occupational Therapists develop treatment plans to affect a patient’s abilities to conduct daily activities and recover their abilities necessary for daily living or work. Masters degrees are required for this profession which can lead to an average salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of $78,810 with a rapid 27% job growth projected over the next decade.
20. Nursing Educators
There’s a perfect storm scenario in nursing. With an increased need for nurses and more students choosing to enter the nursing profession, colleges and universities are in need of nursing educators to teach student nurses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently estimates a median salary of $72,210 for nursing instructors in colleges and universities and $83,650 for those teaching in general medical centers or surgical hospitals. Nurses who obtain a Master or Doctoral degree are highly sought as teachers. The American Association of Colleges and Nursing (CCNE) and The Accreditation Commission For Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredit online nursing programs by assessing and identifying effective educational practices. It’s important to find an accredited online program in order to insure that licensure requirements and certificate needs are met and that the education you receive meets nursing standards in your state. To investigate online graduate programs in nursing education, please visit Best Online Masters in Nursing Education.
A Bachelor of Science in chemistry can qualify students for entry level positions in pharmaceutical manufacturing, research and development industries, federal agencies or testing laboratories. Average annual salaries for a BS in chemistry is $74,720 with an average job growth of 3%, which is somewhat slower than average nationwide. Undergraduate chemistry majors typically are required to take courses in analytical, organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry. Computer science courses are useful as are courses in mathematics, biological sciences, and physics.
Specializing in hearing, Audiologists examine patients who have hearing, balance, or related ear problems, examine and diagnose problems, develop and administer treatment, fit and dispense hearing aids and determine causes and treatment of balance disorders and hearing loss. Audiologists are required to have a doctoral degree in audiology (Au.D.) to become licensed, a requirement in all states. The BLS estimates an average salary of $73,060 and a faster than average job growth projection of 29% over the next ten years.
This profession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has an above average 19% 10-year job growth expectation and a median salary of $72,520 per year. It is recognized as #2 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Health Care Support Jobs. Responsible for cleaning patients’ teeth by removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth as well as accessing patients’ oral health and providing education on proper dental care. Hygienists also take and develop dental x-rays and apply sealants and fluorides for dental protection. This career requires licensing and certification.
24. Speech Language Pathologists
Speech Language Pathologists typically work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, homes or schools. Theses specialists diagnose and assess a variety of swallowing disorders and speech communication problems in patients. Working with patients who have had a stroke or brain injury, developmental issues, physical malformations and/or emotional problems, Speech Language Pathologists assist patients in developing speech language skills. Masters prepared, these healthcare professionals have an estimated annual salary of $71,550 and a 21% job growth outlook for the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
25. Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, manufacturing and the government, and are responsible for assuring that employees, patients and others are protected from hazardous materials, toxins and other hazards. Occupational Health and Safety Specialists typically need a Bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field, such as engineering, biology, or chemistry. Some positions require a Masters degree. In hospitals, the range of safety issues from biohazards (blood, bodily waste, etc.) to radiation, Occupational Health and Safety Specialists assure the proper handling and disposal of potentially dangerous materials. This career can expect a 4% job growth over ten years and annual salaries of an estimated $69,210.
26. Genetic Counselors
Since the mid-1800s, scientists have worked to understand human genetics; and, in the mid-20th century, they were successful in breaking genetic codes. From that science, physicians have been able to determine specific genetic markers that are the root cause for disease, illness and syndromes that are passed down through the DNA. Genetic Counselors, master prepared professionals, assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. They provide education, information and support to other healthcare providers, or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions. Genetic Counselors work in hospitals, private physician offices as well as in college and universities. With an above job growth potential of 29%, Genetic Counselors earn an average of $67,500 annually and earns a #21 ranking in Best Jobs by U.S News and World Report.
Requiring a minimum of three years undergraduate study and a four year program in Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree and a state license, Chiropractors analyze patients’ posture, spine, and reflexes and conduct tests to evaluate a patient’s posture. Chiropractors also employ neuromuscular therapy to assist in the alignment of the spine and other joints. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates these professionals may earn $66,720 a year and the career has a 17% job growth estimate and comes in at #24 in Best Jobs of U.S. News and World Report.
28. Registered Nurses
The role of Registered Nurse in healthcare has long been a respected career. While the career is moving toward the Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) degree, Associate Degree nurses (ADN) are also in demand; and, can expect an average salary of $66,640, and an estimated 16% job growth over the next ten years. With a national shortage of nurses, many employers are offering tuition assistance for ADN nurses to obtain their BSN degrees. U.S. News and World Report ranks this career at #16 in its healthcare support category and #22 in its 100 Top Jobs.
29. Healthcare Compliance Officers
There is probably no higher regulated profession than healthcare. State and federal regulations map out requirements for reporting, community standards, quality patient care and ethical considerations. Compliance Officers assure requirements are upheld to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act (HIPPA). A minimum of a Bachelors degree is typically required and, often, Healthcare Compliance Officers may hold Masters degrees in nursing or medical degrees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median salary of $64,950 for Compliance Officers and the career is ranked #94 in Best Jobs of U.S. News and World Report.
30. Orthotists and Prosthetists
Orthotists and prosthetists are responsible for designing and creating medical supportive devices for patients who have lost limbs or have mobility issues. These devices include artificial limbs (arms, hands, legs, and feet), braces, and other medical or surgical devices. This career requires a Master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics. Coursework includes studies in upper and lower extremity orthotics and prosthetics, spinal orthotics, and plastics and other materials used for fabrication. These graduate programs typically take two years; and, the BLS cites an annual salary of $64,040 and a 23% decade long job growth.
31. Healthcare Web Developer
While not a healthcare career, per se, the role of a Healthcare Web Developer is growing in the field. As more hospitals and healthcare systems reach out to more patients, an online web presence is important. These specialized websites include education, physician and medical services provided and general information on patient care. Web Developers play in a key part in presenting a professional image for medical facilities and supportive services. Increasingly, patients are able to do online hospital admission, pay bills, ask medical questions and connect with medical professionals. A minimum of an Associates Degree is typically required with an emphasis in graphics design and programming. According to the BLS, Web Developers can earn a median salary of $63,490 annually.
32. Cardiovascular Technicians
Cardiovascular Technicians can earn a median salary of $62,540 annually according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and this profession has been ranked #13 by U.S. News and World Report in its review of best healthcare support careers. These technicians play a pivotal role in the preparation of patients for procedures and assuring diagnostic equipment is properly maintained and calibrated. Attainable with an Associates Degree, students will study anatomy, medical terminology, applied sciences; and, courses in invasive or noninvasive cardiovascular or vascular technology procedures. Students can expect to complete a clinical rotation working with physicians, diagnostic clinics or laboratory. Most employers will give preference to students graduating from Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the majority will require certification by Cardiovascular Credentialing International.
33. Medical Sonographers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics put a ten year, 24% employment rate for sonographers and a mean salary of $62,540 annually. Employment may be found in hospitals, physician offices and outpatient clinics. U.S. News and World Report cited this career as #42 in its 100 Best Jobs. Students with an Associates Degree or Bachelor Degree with studies in anatomy, medical terminology, and applied sciences. Most studies will include a clinical experience and all sonographers must be licensed and certified.
34. Human Resource Specialists
Human Resource Specialists in healthcare are responsible for assuring that employees meet all licensure and certification requirements to provide patient care in hospitals or health systems. HR Specialists hold a minimum of a Bachelors degree in human resources, business or a related field and some employers will require certification. Responsible for screening, interviewing and recommending personnel for employment, HR Specialists have a median salary of $57,420, according to the BLS, and the career is ranked #90 in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Jobs survey.
35. Dietitians and Nutritionists
Dietitians and Nutritionists, as experts in food and nutrition, assess patients’ individual needs and counsels regarding appropriate diets and nutritional habits to promote healing and patients overall health. Dietitians and Nutritionists work in hospitals, clinics and outpatient centers. Requiring a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition science, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 16% job growth and $56,950 annual salary for this profession. Many states require licensure for this career. This career ranked #23 in Best Jobs in U.S. News and World Report.
36. Respiratory Therapists
Respiratory Therapists (RT) work with patients having difficulty breathing, as a result from injury, asthma, lung disease or from heart attacks. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites this profession as having a median income of $56,730 and a 12% job growth outlook over the next ten years. Approximately 4 out of 5 Respiratory Therapists work in hospitals with others working in healthcare facilities, physician offices or home health agencies. Respiratory Therapy students enrolled in an Associates Degree program will focus on diagnostic and therapeutic assessment and procedures, CPR and clinical experience. These therapists are licensed and requirements vary from state to state and the career is rated #25 in Best Jobs of U.S. News and World Report.
37. Public Relations Specialists
As hospitals and health systems grow, Public Relations Specialists are increasingly important in establishing a positive patient and community image. Responsible for press releases and information for the media, developing and maintaining their healthcare organizations’s image, advertisements and promotional programs. Many Public Relations Specialists working in healthcare assist in providing healthcare educational information for patients as well. This career typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications or English. This profession can average of $55,680 yearly according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and rated #6 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Jobs ranking.
38. MRI Technologists
MRI Technologists are charged with assuring imaging equipment is well maintained, following physician orders on which images are required, explain procedures and answer patient questions, properly position the patient for imaging and operate the computerized equipment to take images. MRI Technologists typically begin as Radiologic Technicians before specializing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates a median salary of $57,370 annually for this position which has a 9% job prospective over the next ten years. This career is ranked #10 by U.S. News and World Report in their listing 100 Best Jobs.
39. Occupational Therapy Assistants
Recognized by U.S. News and World Report as ranking #1 in its Best Jobs ranking, Occupational Therapy Assistants work collaboratively with Occupational Therapists in teaching patients to use special equipment or devices, perform therapeutic exercises to improve or develop skills necessary in daily life. Requiring at least, an Associates degree, these specialized assistants can earn an estimated $52,300 a year and the BLS projects a 40% job growth rate over the next ten years.
40. Computer Support Specialists
As hospitals and health systems increasingly rely on computers for patient record keeping, government reporting and other details, Computer Support Specialists provide onsite software support for clinicians and employees. Most Computer Support Specialists have a Bachelors degree but jobs exist for those with Associates degree. Most frequently, Computer Support Specialists test and evaluate existing network systems, perform regular maintenance and install computer systems to ensure that networks operate correctly and troubleshoot issues for employees. Coming in at #60 on the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Jobs ranking, these specialists can earn an average of $50,380 a year.
41. Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
The BLS estimates the ten-year job growth in this field at 16% with a median salary of $49,310 per year and the profession is ranked #66 by U.S. News and World Report as its Top 100 Best Jobs categories. These technicians need a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory technology, also known as a medical laboratory scientist degree which includes studies in chemistry, biology, microbiology, math, and statistics. Many employers may require certification for these positions.
42. Medical Equipment Repairer
Responsible for the installation, maintenance and repair of medical equipment, Medical Equipment Repairers require an Associates degree in biomedical technology or engineering. Some employers will require certification offered by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) offers certification in three specialty areas—Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET), Certified Radiology Equipment Specialists (CRES), and Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist (CLES). Ranked by U.S. News and World Report at #96 in its Best Jobs report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates $45,660 as an annual salary.
43. Clinical Social Workers
Working in hospitals and private practice, Clinical Social Workers work with patients and clients in crisis, illness or experiencing mental health issues. Clinical Social Workers are required to have a Master’s degree and 2 years experience in a supervised clinical setting. This profession also requires licensure and certification. The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests this career has a 12% job growth over the next ten years and a median salary of $45,500 per year.
44. Surgical Technologists
U.S. News and World Report ranks this career #24 in it’s Best Jobs rating and the BLS projects a 15% job growth expectation and a median salary of $43,450 per year. Surgical Technologists, also called Operating Room Technologists, typically need an Associates degree or certification. They’re responsible for preparation of patients, the arrangement of the operating room, sterilization of instruments, assistance to surgeons by passing required instruments and maintenance of an accurate count of instruments and supplies (such as sponges and instruments).
45. Licensed Practical Nurses
Cited as #16 in Best Jobs of the U.S. News and World Report ranking, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) perform very similar in job duties as a Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) in that they provide direct patient care under the supervision of BSNs and physicians. This profession requires a minimum education of an Associates degree as well as state licensure. Depending on the state, licensed LPNs are responsible for monitoring patients’ health, providing basic patient care such as wound management, educating patients and families on healthcare concerns, recording patient vital sign, etc. Employment may be found in hospitals, outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities and home health agencies. The BLS projects this nursing field as having a ten-year 16% job growth rate and a median salary of $42,490 annually.
46. Marriage and Family Therapists
Marriage and Family Therapists provide marital education, family counseling and support services to improve communication and problem solving skills between couples and encouraging healthy marriages. Marriage and Family Counselors may work in private clinics, hospitals or outpatients centers. This career requires a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Counseling (MFT) and licensure. Estimated salaries for this profession, according to BLS, is $42,250 and is ranked 70th on U.S. News and World Report’s Best Jobs ranking. Please see our link to the Best Online Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy Best Online Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.
47. Physical Therapy Assistants
Working under the supervision of Physical Therapists, PTAs (Physical Therapy Assistants) help patients do specific exercises as part of their care plan, educate patients and families and use devices and equipment to meet that plan. Educational requirements for this profession require a minimum of an Associates degree and state licensure. Estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to earn $41,640 annually and with a very rapid 40% ten year job growth, this career is ranked #4 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Jobs rankings.
48. Addiction and Rehabilitation Counselors
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors advise people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral problems. These counselors provide therapy and treatment and support for patients to recover from their addiction. Most of these counselors have a minimum education of a Bachelors degree but Masters degrees are available. Those in private practice are required to be licensed. BLS estimates an average salary of $39,270 yearly and a 22% job growth between 2014-2024 and U.S. News and World Report ranks this career at #51 in it’s Best Jobs listing. For more information, please see our ranking of online programs for this career at 20 Best Value Online Master’s in Addiction/Substance Abuse Counseling Programs.
49. Dental Assistants
Dental Assistants can earn an average of $37,390, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and expect an 18% future job growth. There are two routes to becoming a Dental Assistant, either through graduating an accredited Associates degree program; or, depending on your state, there is no formal education required. Dental Assistants help dentists by assuring the patient is comfortable, hand dental tools to the dentist, process x-rays and provide education in proper dental care. The U.S. News and World Report ranks Dental Assistant careers at #17 in their Best Jobs ranking.
With a rapid, BLS projected job growth of 24%, Paramedics are the first to administer medical assistance following an accident or sudden illness (such as heart attack, breathing problems or broken limbs). Paramedics are responsible for immediate health assistance and the safe transportation of patients to hospital trauma centers. While an advanced degree is not required for this career, students must complete EMT and Advanced EMT levels of instruction, along with courses in advanced medical skills that are offered in most community colleges. Ranked #25 in the Best Jobs ranking of U.S. News and World Report, the BLS estimates $31,700 as an annual salary.