There is a wide range of healthcare jobs available in the United States, and this is a career field that offers many growth opportunities. Many medical careers require an advanced degree, but some of the best paying jobs in healthcare only require an associate degree. Healthcare careers are an excellent choice if you like to take care of people.
Healthcare professionals are in demand due to an aging population that requires more care. In this article, we explore some of the best paying jobs in healthcare, share what these occupations are all about, and give you information about job growth and healthcare salaries.
What Do Healthcare Jobs Pay?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median annual wage for healthcare professionals was $69,870 in 2020. This annual wage amount is higher than the average for all occupations in the US.
Healthcare Job Outlook
Healthcare occupations are expected to grow faster than the national average at a pace of 16 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to BLS. This means that some 2.6 million new jobs will be added in the coming decade. This positive healthcare career outlook is due to the high demand for healthcare services.
Healthcare Job Satisfaction
Healthcare careers are some of the most satisfying careers to work in. Job satisfaction comes from a combination of meaningful work, fair annual wages, and job growth opportunities. Working in healthcare gives you the opportunity to make a real difference in a patient’s life through administering medical care.
Healthcare Salaries: Lucrative Healthcare Careers
|Healthcare Careers||Healthcare Salaries||Job Outlook||Minimum Education|
|Advanced Practice Registered Nurses||$117,670||45%||Master’s Degree in Nursing|
|Physician Assistant||$115,390||31%||Master’s Degree in Nursing|
|Physical Therapist||$91,010||21%||Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy|
|Radiation Therapist||$86,850||9%||Associate Degree in Radiation Therapy|
|Occupational Therapist||$86,280||17%||Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy|
|Speech-language Pathologist||$80,480||29%||Master’s degree|
|Nuclear Medicine Technologist||$79,590||8%||Associate Degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology|
|Dental Hygienist||$77,090||11%||Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene|
|Radiologic Technologist||$63,710||9%||Associate degree|
|Respiratory Therapist||$62,810||23%||Associate degree|
Best-Paying Jobs in Healthcare: In Detail
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
Average Salary: $117,670
Advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) include nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. They provide primary and specialty healthcare to patients, such as taking medical histories, performing examinations, administering medications, and creating treatment plans. APRNs need a master’s degree in one of the APRN specialties and to pass a state and national certification exam.
Average Salary: $115,390
Physician assistants help surgeons and physicians. They are trained to care for patients, take medical histories, interpret diagnostic tests, take blood for tests, and diagnose and treat patients. Physician assistants are highly educated healthcare providers who may work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, outpatient clinics, and other medical facilities.
Average Salary: $91,010
Physical therapists help patients with pain due to illness or injuries and improve their ability to move. They treat back and neck injuries, arthritis, sprains, and strains, and they help amputees learn to use new artificial limbs. Physical therapists often work in rehabilitation centers.
Average Salary: $86,850
Radiation therapists apply radiation treatments to cancer patients. They follow treatment plans prescribed by oncologists and dosimetrists. Radiation therapists need an associate degree and certification to practice. They often work in hospitals or outpatient care centers.
Average Salary: $86,280
An occupational therapist treats injured, disabled, or ill patients. They use everyday activities to help patients develop and improve skills in daily life. These professionals have extensive job training and can work in hospitals, clinics, health centers, and nursing homes. Occupational therapists need a master’s degree or doctoral degree to practice.
Average Salary: $80,480
Speech-language pathologists, also known as speech therapists, treat patients with speech, language, and swallowing disorders. They treat patients of all ages, from infants to adults, with communication problems due to strokes, autism, language delays, and stuttering. Speech-language pathologists need a master’s degree and additional certifications, depending on the state.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Average Salary: $79,590
Nuclear medicine technologists prepare radioactive drugs for patients to obtain images and provide treatments for certain diseases. Radioactive drugs help create more contrast in images to better show abnormal areas and diagnose medical conditions like cancer or heart disease.
Average Salary: $77,090
Dental hygienists work with dentists and dental assistants to provide dental care to patients. Dental hygienists clean teeth and check for cavities and oral diseases, such as gingivitis. They can provide fluoride treatments and take x-rays. Dental hygienists also educate patients on better oral health.
Average Salary: $63,710
Radiologic and MRI technologists perform x-rays, MRIs, and other imaging technologies. They are responsible for using and maintaining imaging machines and taking images of patients according to a doctor’s instructions.
Average Salary: $62,810
Respiratory therapists help patients with respiratory diseases and breathing disorders, such as asthma or emphysema. They treat patients of all ages, from newborn infants to elderly adults. The minimum requirements to practice as a respiratory therapist are an associate degree and completing a state licensing exam.
Resources to Find the Best-Paying Jobs in Healthcare
- HospitalCareers: This is a job board that connects healthcare workers with the healthcare organization that needs them. It also provides resources such as healthcare industry career insights and career advice.
- HealthJobsNationwide: This service offers a variety of healthcare jobs to start your career in healthcare or to find your next healthcare job. You can upload your resume, apply for jobs, and research different companies in the healthcare industry.
- Health eCareers: This site offers jobs for a broad range of healthcare workers in areas such as dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, as well as healthcare administration and operations.
- American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing: This group is a professional organization for ambulatory care nurses in the United States. They share job openings for registered nurses, medical technicians, and administrative staff.
- CareerVitals: This site offers resume posting services and job alerts for nursing, medical, surgical, and technical positions.
Is Healthcare a Good Career Path?
Healthcare is a broad field with many job opportunities and some of the most meaningful jobs across all industries. Providing good patient care and improving medical conditions is an emotionally rewarding job for many healthcare workers. There are plenty of high-paying job opportunities in the healthcare industry and opportunities for professional growth.
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The healthcare industry is one of the professional fields where workers with associate degrees can earn high hourly wages. However, like most industries, an advanced degree or professional degree leads to the highest annual salaries.
Best Paying Jobs in Healthcare FAQ
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses or nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists are the most in-demand healthcare jobs today. According to BLS, these medical jobs have a 45 percent average job growth rate for 2020-2030.
There are no easy medical jobs, but some jobs require fewer years in school. There are many jobs in the medical field that only require an associate degree and some healthcare jobs don’t require a college degree at all. For instance, to become a dental assistant you need a high school diploma or GED, a specialized training program, and a state licensure or certification.
Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), physician assistants, and speech-language pathologists are the healthcare professions expected to see the greatest growth between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS. You can take an online nursing training program to meet the education requirements to get started as a registered nurse.
Dentist hygienists and physical therapists assistants are some of the least stressful healthcare careers. These two jobs don’t usually receive emergency calls, they have a predictable work schedule, and they rarely have to work overtime.
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