30 Well-Paying Medical Jobs To Pursue With Limited Schooling
Updated July 31, 2023
A career in the medical field can be a rewarding experience, no matter the role you work in. If you are interested in starting a career but would like to enter a position as quickly as possible, several job options require as little as two to three years of schooling. Many available medical jobs may require as little as an associate degree or training certificate, and you can choose to advance your career by continuing your education and earning an undergraduate or graduate degree in your field.
In this article, we'll explore 30 high-paying medical jobs that require limited schooling.
Well-paying medical jobs that require limited schooling
Here are 30 well-paying medical jobs that require an associate degree or lower. For the most up-to-date salaries from Indeed, click on the links below.
National average salary: $34,548 per year
Primary duties: Veterinary technicians take animals' vital signs, draw blood or gather other specimens, and perform lab procedures. They also prepare animals and equipment for procedures, administer medications and vaccines as prescribed by the veterinarian, take and process X-rays, and educate pet owners. You can enter this field with an associate degree.
National average salary: $36,629 per year
Primary duties: Dietary technicians develop nutritional plans to promote health, treat illness and prevent disease. They educate clients about food and its impact on health and wellness, helping them understand how to make good choices in their day-to-day. You can enter this field with an associate degree.
Related: How To Become a Dietetic Technician
National average salary: $36,932 per year
Primary duties: Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists to dispense prescription and over-the-counter medication to customers. Duties may include assembling medications for prescriptions and providing information about medications. They often check and evaluate written prescriptions, verify and record patient information, and maintain patient privacy. A high school diploma or equivalent is required.
National average salary: $37,788 per year
Primary duties: A phlebotomy technician, known simply as a phlebotomist, is a medical professional responsible for drawing patients' blood for lab tests, blood donations and intravenous insertions. Phlebotomy technicians are trained and skilled in safely drawing blood and plasma and work with patients in hospitals, diagnostics centers, blood banks and other health care settings. You can enter this field with on-the-job training and a certificate.
Related: Learn About Being a Phlebotomist
National average salary: $40,684 per year
Primary duties: Cardiovascular technicians monitor a patient's heart rate and blood pressure during diagnostic or therapeutic procedures, educate patients about procedures and perform electrocardiograms (EKG) and diagnostic tests associated with the vascular system. They may also assist with procedures such as cardiac catheterizations or the placement of cardiac stents. You can enter this field with an associate degree.
National average salary: $46,475 per year
Primary duties: Medical assistants work under the supervision of physicians and are usually the first point of contact for patients entering the medical office and exam room. They record patients' medical histories, vital signs, symptoms and patient concerns for the attending physician. You can start your career as a medical assistant with a certificate and state licensure, or you can obtain an associate degree.
National average salary: $46,909 per year
Primary duties: Ophthalmic technicians collect patient histories and help maintain optometry instruments. They assist with or administer diagnostic visual tests, including testing visual acuity, color perception, measuring eye pressure and pupil reactions, and administering eye medications. An ophthalmic medical technician works directly with the ophthalmologist to assist with visual examinations and tests.
National average salary: $49,217 per year
Primary duties: Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are responsible for responding to emergency 911 calls and providing emergency medical assistance to patients in need. They may attend to patients in emergencies that require first aid and life support to care for injured, sick or dying patients. You can become an EMT with a certificate in emergency medical treatment or paramedics.
National average salary: $54,914 per year
Primary duties: A medical coding specialist works within the billing department of medical organizations like hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and other healthcare settings. They are responsible for classifying and documenting diagnoses, treatments and procedures for billing and reimbursement from health insurance companies. You can become a certified coding specialist (CCS) by completing a training program and obtaining certification.
Related: Learn About Being a Medical Coder
National average salary: $55,294 per year
Primary duties: Nutritionists are food and diet experts and help a variety of patients plan and incorporate healthier eating habits to support health and wellness. Nutritionists may work with patients with specific nutritional and dietary needs, such as diabetes, food allergies and other conditions that require a nutritionist's expertise to plan with care. You can become a nutritionist with an associate degree.
Related: Learn About Being a Nutritionist
National average salary: $55,582 per year
Primary duties: Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) assist and support patients by recording and monitoring their vital signs, providing basic care to patients like administering medications, helping patients dress, assisting when moving patients and providing other necessities. You can become an LPN by attending an accredited training program and obtaining your certification.
National average salary: $58,172 per year
Primary duties: Massage therapists manipulate an individual's muscles and other soft tissues to help relieve pain, improve circulation, increase relaxation and relieve stress. They also advise clients on methods to stretch, relax, and strengthen muscles. You may be required to attend a training program and earn certification.
National average salary: $59,275 per year
Primary duties: Psychiatric technicians provide therapeutic care to clients experiencing developmental disabilities or mental health illnesses and diseases. Duties may include helping patients with bathing, dressing, grooming or eating. Psychiatric technicians may also help transport patients to hospitals, residential facilities or medical appointments. You may enter the field through on-the-job training or certification.
National average salary: $60,022 per year
Primary duties: A clinical laboratory technician, or medical laboratory technician, performs tests and analyzes samples like body fluids, tissue and other samples. Laboratory technicians commonly work in diagnostics centers, hospitals and medical laboratories. You can get started on this career path with an associate degree.
Related: Learn About Being a Lab Technician
National average salary: $62,524 per year
Primary duties: A nuclear medicine technologist is responsible for the preparation and administration of radioactive medications to perform image scanning on patients to see abnormal areas of the body. Nuclear medicine techs also operate the imaging equipment they use to assess abnormal areas in the body of patients that may have cancer, tumors or other malignant conditions. To become a nuclear medicine technologist, you need an associate degree.
National average salary: $65,020 per year
Primary duties: A radiologic technologist, or X-ray technician, performs diagnostic and imaging procedures using radiologic equipment. They use X-ray equipment and machines and computed tomography (CT) scanning equipment. You can pursue a career as an X-ray tech with as little as a certificate of completion from an accredited radiological study program, or you can pursue an associate degree, which can help set you up for future advancement in the field.
National average salary: $66,563 per year
Primary duties: Cytotechnologists study cells and cellular abnormalities and anomalies in a laboratory setting. They commonly examine human cells under a microscope to identify whether cells are abnormal, such as cancerous cells, infections and other cellular responses. You can enter the field with an undergraduate degree, although many employers encourage cytotechnologists to pursue a graduate degree to further their careers.
National average salary: $66,735 per year
Primary duties: Health information technicians (HITs) manage and organize health care and medical data by ensuring the accuracy, accessibility, quality and security of medical information within digital systems and in print. HITs commonly work in hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities and other health care facilities to streamline the organization and maintenance of important health data. You can enter this field with an associate degree, but many employers encourage a bachelor's degree.
19. Registered nurse
National average salary: $67,350 per year
Primary duties: Registered nurses (RNs) work with physicians to provide treatment to patients for a wide range of medical purposes. RNs may perform a variety of duties including administering medications, monitoring patient procedures and treatment, educating patients and their families and working with doctors during routine exams. RNs work in a variety of medical settings and often specialize in different medical disciplines like pediatrics, oncology or gynecology. You can become an RN with an associate degree and your state licensure.
20. Dental assistant
National average salary: $68,521 per year
Primary duties: A dental assistant is responsible for a combination of dental and administrative tasks including preparing and maintaining dentistal tools, organizing patient records and scheduling appointments. You can become a dental assistant by completing a training program and obtaining state licensure or certification.
Related: Learn About Being a Dental Assistant
National average salary: $71,486 per year
Primary duties: Health services administrators are responsible for overseeing the staffing and business needs of clinics, hospitals, rehab facilities, assisted living facilities and other health care organizations. Typically, health services administrators have four-year degrees in health care or business, but if you obtain your RN certification and are interested in health care administration, there are many accelerated programs available that can help you advance in as little as a year.
National average salary: $74,591 per year
Primary duties: Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) work under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist to treat patients through massage, exercise, movement, balance and additional therapeutic motion-based approaches. PTAs work with patients to plan and monitor treatment plans, evaluate results and document their progress. You can get started as a PTA with an associate degree.
National average salary: $75,086 per year
Primary duties: Certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs) work with patients to develop a plan for recovery, improvement and strengthening of movement. A COTA typically works in rehabilitation settings to help patients improve their range of motion so they can perform everyday, occupational tasks like lifting, pulling, grasping and pushing. Become an occupational therapy assistant by obtaining an associate degree.
National average salary: $78,040 per year
Primary duties: Assistants in nursing (AIN) work with RNs and physicians to provide support services in general health care settings like hospitals and clinics. These medical professionals perform a variety of day-to-day activities that support the needs of patients and commonly document patient conditions, communicate information with medical staff and maintain patient records. You need an associate degree to enter this role.
25. Dental hygienist
National average salary: $79,456 per year
Primary duties: A dental hygienist works under the supervision of a dentist to provide preventative oral care to patients. They perform routine cleanings, examinations and evaluations to assess patients' teeth for signs of gingivitis, gum disease and other oral health concerns. Much like other health care jobs on this list, dental hygienists require an associate degree to enter the field.
Related: Learn About Being a Dental Hygienist
National average salary: $80,315 per year
Primary duties: Surgical technicians prepare and transport patients for surgery and medical procedures and assist operating surgeons during procedures. Surgical technicians may prepare and maintain surgical equipment and tools and support patients in recovery and post-op. Get started in this career field with a certificate of completion from an accredited surgical technician program or an associate degree.
National average salary: $87,433 per year
Primary duties: Respiratory therapists care for people with disorders associated with the respiratory system. Their duties may include intubating patients, monitoring vital signs, checking blood oxygen levels, administering pulmonary medications, performing lung function tests (LFTs), and caring for patients with tracheostomies. You need an associate degree to enter this role.
28. MRI technologist
National average salary: $89,720 per year
Primary duties: Magnetic resonance imaging technologists prepare patients and coordinate with physicians to provide diagnostic imaging. They operate MRI machines and coordinate with physicians to make sure results are received promptly. You need an associate degree to enter this role.
Related: How To Become an MRI Tech in 6 Steps
National average salary: $102,100 per year
Primary duties: A radiation therapist operates specialized machines and equipment, such as a linear accelerator, to administer concentrated radiation therapies to a patient's tumor or cancerous region of the body. Radiation therapists work with oncologists in hospitals and clinics in the support and care of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. You start an entry-level career as a radiation therapist with an associate degree, and just like any other medical field, you can advance your career by obtaining a graduate degree.
National average salary: $117,682 per year
Primary duties: An ultrasonographer, or ultrasound technician, uses equipment that emits high-frequency sound waves that generate an image of internal organs. Ultrasound technology helps physicians diagnose and evaluate many different types of conditions, including heart disease and cancer. An ultrasonographer also uses ultrasound equipment to help expectant mothers monitor their pregnancies. You can enter the field with an associate degree or training certificate, depending on your state's requirements.
Frequently asked questions
What's a high-paying medical job with low stress levels?
While the stress levels for a job depend on a candidate's ability to complete certain tasks and withstand specific environments, a dental hygienist is a common high-paying medical job with low stress levels. Dental hygienists enjoy consistent work schedules, high starting salaries and good benefits packages. They have predictable job duties and can enlist the support of their supervising dentist if they need assistance with more complex situations.
What medical jobs require the least amount of schooling?
It's possible to begin many medical jobs within one to two years. For example, the education for an LPN, medical assistant or phlebotomy technician can take as little as one year. Other positions that require an associate degree, like the position of a respiratory therapist, can take up to two years to complete.
Regardless if you earn a professional certification or an associate degree for your desired position, you can still enter the workforce much more quickly than if you were to pursue a medical job that requires a bachelor's degree or a graduate degree.
Can I advance in my career after holding a medical job that requires limited schooling?
Yes. Many individuals in the health care industry acquire medical jobs that require limited schooling to see if they enjoy a particular line of work. They can also use their time in these positions to gain practical experience that they can include on their resumes.
For example, an individual may work as an LPN so they can become more familiar with the nursing field. Their experience may help them discover that they want to continue advancing as a nurse, so they may eventually become a registered nurse (RN) or even a nurse practitioner (NP).
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