High-Paying Medical Jobs You Can Do With Little Schooling

By Indeed Editorial Team

February 22, 2021

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 in the medical field but would like to enter a position as quickly as possible, there are several job options that require as little as two to three years of schooling.

You will still need to participate in some form of training for many of these entry-level careers, but you can enter many of these positions in two years or less. In this article, we'll explore 22 high-paying medical jobs that require little schooling.

22 high-paying medical jobs that require little 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. Additionally, some jobs pay hourly rates while others pay a yearly salary. When calculating hourly pay according to a 40-hour workweek and 52 paychecks per year, many of these jobs offer a substantial income for little schooling. The following 22 medical jobs can offer higher pay and you can obtain your credentials in as little as two to three years or less:

1. Medical assistant

National average salary: $36,068 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 and document 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.

Related: Learn About Being a Medical Assistant

2. Dental assistant

National average salary: $36,524 per year

Primary duties: A dental assistant is responsible for a combination of dental and administrative tasks including preparing and maintaining dentists' 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 Assitant

3. Phlebotomy technician

National average salary: $37,356 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 with safely drawing blood and plasma and work with patients in hospitals, diagnostics centers, blood banks and other healthcare settings. You can enter this field with on-the-job training and a certificate.

Related: Learn About Being a Phlebotomist

4. Emergency medical technician (EMT)

National average salary: $39,656 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 patients in emergency situations that require first aid and life support to care for injured, sick or dying patients. You can become an EMT with as little as a certificate in emergency medical treatment or paramedics.

Related: What Is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)?

5. Clinical laboratory technician

National average salary: $44,574 per year

Primary duties: A clinical laboratory technician, or medical laboratory technician, performs tests and analyze 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

6. Medical coding specialist

National average salary: $45,947 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

7. Health information technician (HIT)

National average salary: $47,861 per year

Primary duties: Health information technicians (HITs) manage and organize healthcare 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 healthcare 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.

8. Physical therapist assistant (PTA)

National average salary: $48,505 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.

Related: Learn About Being a Physical Therapy Assistant

9. Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

National average salary: $52,270 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.

Related: Learn About Being a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

10. Nutritionist

National average salary: $53,039 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

11. Certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA)

National average salary: $60,507 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.

Related: Learn About Being an Occupational Therapy Assistant

12. Nuclear medicine technologist

National average salary: $62,524 per year

Primary duties: A nuclear medicine technologist is responsible for the preparation and administration of radioactive medications in order 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.

13. Surgical technician

National average salary: $62,649 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 of an accredited surgical technician program or an associate degree.

Related: Learn About Being a Surgical Technician

14. Radiologic technologist

National average salary: $65,020 per year

Primary duties: A radiologic technologist, or X-ray technician, performs diagnostic and imaging procedures using radiologic equipment. Commonly, radiologic technologists use X-ray equipment and machines, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment and computed tomography (CT) scanning equipment. You can pursue a career as an X-ray tech with as little as a certificate of completion of an accredited radiological study program, or you can pursue an associate degree, which can help set you up for future advancement in the field.

Related: Learn About Being a Radiologic Technologist

15. Cytotechnologist

National average salary: $66,563 per year

Primary duties: Cytotechnologists study cells and cellular abnormalities and anomalies with 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.

16. 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.

Related: Learn About Being a Registered Nurse (RN)

17. Health services administrator

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 healthcare organizations. Typically, health services administrators have four-year degrees in healthcare or business, but if you obtain your RN certification and are interested in healthcare administration, there are many accelerated programs available that can help you advance in as little as a year.

Related: Learn About Being a Health Administrator

18. 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 healthcare jobs on this list, dental hygienists require an associate degree to enter the field.

Related: Learn About Being a Dental Hygienist

19. Assistant in nursing

National average salary: $90,577 per year

Primary duties: Assistants in nursing (AIN) work with RNs and physicians to provide support services in general healthcare 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.

20. Ultrasonographer

National average salary: $91,520 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.

Related: Learn About Being an Ultrasound Technician

21. Physician assistant

National average salary: $105,627 per year

Primary duties: A physician assistant works under the direct supervision of a licensed physician to diagnose and treat patients. They work in private practices, clinics, hospitals and other healthcare settings. Typically, you can gain experience as a medical assistant and advance your career with a graduate degree to become a physician assistant.

Related: Learn About Being a Physician Assistant

22. Radiation therapist

National average salary: $114,186 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.

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