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.
Optometrists use their knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and optics to diagnose and treat disorders of the visual system. To get started in this field, students must first earn a four-year Doctor of Optometry degree. While online programs in optometry exist, they require clinical experiences to supplement the online learning component. Some students also choose to follow up their degrees with a one-year residency, providing additional training in a specialty area like pediatric optometry or low vision rehabilitation. In 2018, optometrists made more than $110,000 per year, and about 7,000 positions should be added to the field by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Psychologists use their grasp of the ways humans think and behave to improve mental health, and perform research regarding thought and behavior. Salaries in this field can vary even among those who claim psychologist as a job title, with some positions drawing median pay less than $80,000 per year and others breaking into six-figure salaries. Work environments also vary, with schools, businesses, private practices, healthcare organizations, and government agencies as common choices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster-than-average growth in openings in this field through 2026, meaning thousands of new job openings.
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.
16. Radiation Therapists
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 help patients rebuild their physical capabilities after accidents, surgeries, strokes, or other illnesses. Under their guidance, patients develop or recover the skills they use in both professional and leisure activities. Occupational therapists made more than $80,000 per year on average in 2018, and the field will add more than 30,000 new positions by 2026. These positions require a master's degree in occupational therapy, which takes at least two years to complete. Occupational therapists can choose from many work environments, including hospitals and therapy offices as well as schools, assisted living facilities, and home support services.
20. Nursing Educators
The need for new nurses has driven a need for nursing educators as well. Nursing educators usually have a master's degree or a doctoral degree, and draw a median annual wage of more than $70,000. These educators find employment in medical and surgical hospitals as well as colleges, universities, and trade schools, and those who find jobs in hospitals often command a higher salary. Nursing educators form the backbone of accredited nursing programs, ensuring that students receive a quality education in both general nursing and specific specialties. Some nursing programs specifically train nursing educators, such as those seen in this list of the 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.
Audiologists help patients with issues originating in the ear, including hearing and balance issues. They diagnose problems, administer treatments, and dispense hearing aids. All states set minimum requirements for audiologist licensure, which include a doctoral or professional degree that takes about four years to complete. Like most medical professionals, audiologists have a background in anatomy, physiology, physics, genetics, and pharmacology. Audiologists require good communication skills, as they must communicate with both patients and other care professionals regarding a patient's diagnosis. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects high growth in audiologist positions over the next decade.
23. Dental Hygienists
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 pathologist positions are on the rise, with more than 25,000 expected to be added by 2026. These professionals help those with strokes, cleft palates, autism, Parkinson's disease, and other conditions that affect speech capability and acquisition. Common work environments for speech pathologists include schools, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Most states have a licensing or registration process for speech-language pathologists, requiring at least a master's degree program and in some cases a licensing exam. Median pay for these professionals in 2018 came in at about $77,000 per year, with those in skilled nursing facilities making more money.
25. Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
An occupational health and safety specialist collects and analyzes data regarding work processes and environments, and encourage compliance with regulations regarding health, safety, and environmental impact. These positions typically require a bachelor's degree at minimum, with some requiring a master's degree in a field like health physics or industrial hygiene. Great occupational health and safety specialists like to solve problems and have an eye for detail. These specialists made about $70,000 per year on average in 2018. New positions are opening up about as fast as the national average for all occupations, so about 8,600 new positions should open up by 2026.
26. Genetic Counselors
Scientists have worked to understand human genetics and the ways traits are inherited since the mid-1800s, and the 20th century saw a breakthrough in understanding of genetic code. This has in turn made it possible to find specific genetic markers for illnesses and diseases. Genetic counselors look at a family's risk factors for inherited conditions and birth defects, and provide the family with the information necessary to make informed family planning decisions. They have at least a master's degree in genetics or genetic counseling, and in some states, must also have a license or certification. Annual wages for genetic counselors in 2018 hovered around $80,000.
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
Healthcare professions have extensive regulations regarding both care delivery and communication, and healthcare compliance officers make sure healthcare practitioners and allied health professionals meet these stringent requirements. These professionals have extensive backgrounds in regulations like Occupational Safety and Health Administration law, the Affordable Care Act, and the Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act, which all set rules on the delivery of health services and who has access to a patient's records. Some compliance officers have medical backgrounds, but all have at least a bachelor's degree. Median salaries among compliance officers, including health compliance officers, stood at $67,870 in 2017.
30. Orthotists and Prosthetists
Orthotists and prosthetists work with medical supportive devices, which can include braces and artificial limbs. They also interview patients and make sure these devices fit correctly. This field should grow more than 20% from its previous number of open positions by 2026, as demand for prostheses will increase as baby boomers begin to lose limbs to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. To get into this field, one must complete a master's degree program in orthotics and prosthetics, which takes about two years, as well as a residency. Orthotists and prosthetists drew a median salary of $69,120 in 2018.
31. Healthcare Web Developer
As healthcare systems, insurance companies, and hospitals seek to create specialized Web presences that directly support their operations, web developers become more important for healthcare organizations. By developing solutions for appointment scheduling, billing, and service information online, web developers help healthcare organizations present a professional image and streamline the work they do. While formal education can differ significantly among Web developers, most have at least an associate's degree in graphic design, programming, or Web design. These professionals pulled in a median salary of $69,430 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
32. Cardiovascular Technicians
Cardiovascular technicians are part of the broader field of diagnostic imaging workers, using medical imaging equipment to create images and conduct tests. Cardiovascular technicians focus their work on the heart and lungs, and assist in procedures like cardiac catheterization, stent placement, and open-heart surgery. The vast majority work in hospitals or physicians' offices, though some work in diagnostic laboratories and outpatient care centers. These technicians require at least a one-year certificate program, though many study for associate's or bachelor's degrees instead. Depending on the context in which they worked, these professionals made between $50,000 and $70,000 in 2018.
33. Medical Sonographers
Sonographers work as diagnostic imaging workers, helping support other healthcare professionals by creating images of patients' bodies. Sonographers use sound-based imaging tools to create pictures known as sonograms or ultrasounds. Sonographers usually specialize in a specific part of the body, such as the breast, musculoskeletal system, or blood vessels. Most work in hospitals and physicians' offices, though more than 10% of sonographers work in medical and diagnostic laboratories and outpatient care centers. They can have certificates in sonography, associate's degrees, or bachelor's degrees. In 2018, they drew median salaries of about $70,000.
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 help patients find appropriate diets and nutritional habits. They support those recovering from injuries or surgeries as well as those with chronic conditions like diabetes and cancer, and work in environments like hospitals, outpatient support centers, and clinics. Dietitians and nutritionists must have at least a bachelor's degree, and complete an internship or residency under the supervision of a current professional. The Bureau of Labor Statistics pegged the median pay for nutritionists and dietitians in 2018 at about $60,000 per year, and growth prospects within the field currently exceed the national average.
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
An MRI technologist operates a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device, which creates diagnostic images used by healthcare professionals to plan disease treatment. They also often play a role in the maintenance and care of the imaging equipment itself. This position tends to come later in one's career, with most MRI technologists starting as radiologic technicians and specializing as they progress. These positions are projected to grow about 14% over the next decade, outpacing most other occupations. Median annual wages for MRI technologists exceeded $70,000 per year in a May 2018 assessment by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
39. Occupational Therapy Assistants
Occupational therapy assistants support occupational therapists as they assist patients in recovering or building physical skills lost to illness and injury. They work under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist, and must have at least an associate's degree in occupational therapy or a closely related field. They must also pursue CPR and basic life support certifications in order to comply with state regulations or licensure requirements. Occupational therapy assistants made about $60,000 per year in 2018, and the field's current growth prospects well outstrip the national average job growth rate.
40. Computer Support Specialists
As computers become a more integral part of health systems, with uses including billing, information storage, and communication, hospitals' need for onsite computer support specialists increases. Support specialists may provide support directly to users or attend to problems with entire networks or systems. Not all professionals in this field require degrees, though a bachelor's degree is typical. Students without a degree can shore up their credentials with specific technical certifications, including both vendor and non-vendor certifications. Computer support specialists made a median salary of $53,470 in 2018, and nearly 90,000 jobs are projected to be added to the field by 2026.
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
A medical equipment repairer installs, maintains, and repairs sensitive equipment like X-ray imaging machines, anesthesia machines, and defibrillators. They must also keep records of the status of medical equipment, and occasionally explain its operation or maintenance to other users. Educational requirements for these allied health professionals can vary, though most have either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. While these professionals pulled in a median salary of nearly $50,000 in 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects slow growth in this field, with less than 2,000 new positions opening by 2026.
43. Clinical Social Workers
Clinical social workers support patients experiencing mental health issues, crises, or illnesses, and diagnose and treat mental issues. They may work in a private practice or be part of a hospital or other medical facility. This position requires a master's degree as well as two years of experience in a clinical setting under the supervision of a professional. Healthcare social workers made about $56,000 per year as of May 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Social workers overall should see solid job growth through at least 2026, outstripping the national average for all occupations.
44. Surgical Technologists
Surgical and operating room technologists and technicians provide support for doctors before and during surgery. They arrange equipment, set up operating rooms, and provide direct assistance as needed. This position requires some college, though an associate's degree or non-degree award will usually suffice. Almost all worked in direct healthcare settings, including hospitals, physicians' and dentists' offices, and outpatient care centers. More than 12,000 new positions should open in this field between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and these workers drew a median salary of $47,300 per year.
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
Those with persistent mental health issues like eating disorders, alcoholism, and drug addiction need help from trained professionals to improve, and addiction and rehabilitation counselors provide that assistance. They provide therapy, treatment, and other support for patients. Certification and licensure requirements vary, ranging from non-degree certification programs to master's degrees depending on state and employer. Work environments also vary, with hospitals, individual services, and government organizations all commonly employing addiction counselors. The average counselor in this field pulled in just under $45,000 in 2018 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the field should grow by more than 60,000 jobs by 2026.
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.
Paramedics respond to acute sickness and injury during emergencies, such as heart attacks, overdoses, and accidents. Their work focuses on quick, efficient medical care, sometimes while simultaneously transporting a patient for more thorough care. They must complete a postsecondary non-degree award to become emergency medical technicians, then follow up with a longer paramedic program that provides additional education. Most are employed by ambulance services, local government organizations, or hospitals. The median pay for paramedics, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, was $36,650. More than 35,000 new jobs should be added to the field by 2026.