Not every entry level medical job requires a bachelor’s degree or higher. In fact, besides other than doctors and nurses, many jobs in health care don’t.
A high school diploma and certification is good enough for some jobs, such as medical assistant. The same for a surgical technician, a crucial member of the operating team. And while the training is important, it’s not as time-consuming or expensive as for some other positions, say psychiatrist or anesthesiologist.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs in the healthcare industry to grow by 15% through 2029 with 2.4 million new jobs added. This is more than any other occupational group.
There are some good paying entry level medical jobs with little schooling that might be a good fit for now. They can also launch you into other jobs in the medical field later, such as registered nurses and occupational therapists. Both of those jobs require more education and job training. They pay more too.
But even without extra schooling, you will be working in the growing healthcare field.
If you’ve been considering a job in health care but don’t want to spend loads of time and money to pursue a career that takes years of extra education, you’ve come to the right place.
6 High Paying Medical Jobs With Little Schooling
We’ve rounded up a list of some of the best jobs in healthcare that pay salaries of $40,000 or more and only require a few years of school, mostly associate’s degrees and/or credentials. Here are six healthcare jobs that will help you bring home the bacon, minus all that college debt.
1. Medical Assistant
If you want to work in a clinical setting without spending half your life studying (and amassing loads of college debt), then you might just consider working as a medical assistant. To become a medical assistant, you’ll typically have to complete a certificate program or an associate’s degree — either of which can be done in two years or less.
Medical assistants help doctors and nurses by checking in patients, scheduling appointments, taking vitals, and performing other administrative tasks that keep the practice running smoothly. You can expect to earn an annual salary anywhere from $36,000 to $43,000 per year as a medical assistant, depending on where you work and live.
2. Surgical Technician
For those who aren’t afraid of hospitals and more specifically the operating room, becoming a surgical technician is a career path that also happens to pay pretty well. With as little as one to two years of school, surgical techs are ready to go to work in the OR preparing patients and the operating room itself for surgeries and medical procedures.
Because of the many skills surgical techs are required to have, these positions also pay well with a median salary of $47,800, and the top 10% of techs earning over $57,000.
3. Ultrasound Technician
Want to work with patients but not so much in the operating arena? Then you might be interested in learning more about becoming a sonographer, aka ultrasound technician. Sonographers are responsible for operating ultrasound imaging equipment, which helps doctors in treating pregnant patients, or those with cancer or heart issues.
Although this position won’t involve cleaning up after surgeries, it does require good bedside manner, and you will have to complete a certificate program or associate’s degree. But the earning potential for ultrasound techs is really, really good— with median annual salaries hovering just under $76,000.
4. Medical Coder
For a healthcare job that leans more toward medical technology, you might be interested in exploring a career as a medical coder. Medical coders are the people who translate medical services into “codes” that can be used for billing patients.
These roles have a variety of different certifications that can be achieved to move up in the field, but even those with the most basic training earn roughly $41,543 per year, with certified medical coders earning 39% more — with an average salary of $57,646.
Since these jobs can often be done from any secure computer, they also come with more flexibility. Medical coders may be permitted to work flexible hours or even remotely if they can safely access secure patient information from their location.
5. Dialysis Tech
Another important healthcare position that helps patients immensely (and pays really well) is working as a dialysis tech.
As a dialysis tech, you’ll need to complete a two-year program after you earn a high school degree plus some additional equipment training to prepare as the main person operating and regulating the use of dialysis equipment in the treatment of patients with kidney disorders.
While this job does take place in a clinical setting, it mostly involves ensuring dialysis treatments run smoothly for patients, operating machinery, and working with patients to make sure they’re comfortable. As a dialysis tech you can expect to earn at least $44,666, with some of the highest earners taking home as much as $66,000.
6. Massage Therapist
If you want to get really hands-on in the healthcare industry, then you might consider becoming a massage therapist. Massage therapists generally complete a one-year certification program and earn an average salary of $47,180, with the highest earners (especially those in states with a higher cost of living) making as much as $77,080.
Besides the great salary, massage therapy is a pretty rewarding job that allows you to treat patients in a non-clinical setting (usually a massage parlour or spa) and help them feel better just with the power of your own two hands.
Getting a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree isn’t for everyone, and fortunately, there are a variety of well-paying jobs that don’t require those. Besides finding a career that requires minimal education, you might also consider increasing your income with a lucrative side hustle or even applying for one of the many jobs you can do from home.
However you choose to reach your financial goals, remember that the most important skills you’ll need aren’t necessarily the ones that can be taught in a classroom. While some jobs require more training than others, nearly all jobs require some degree of dedication and hard work. Spend some time perfecting your job application skills, and let that dedication shine on through.
Contributor Larissa Runkle specializes in finance, real estate and lifestyle topics. She is a regular contributor to Codetic.