5 Careers in Healthcare That Do Not Require a Bachelor’s Degree

  • The healthcare industry is thriving, and multiple career opportunities do not require a four-year university degree.
  • Medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, radiologic technologists, dental hygienists, and dietitians are all in-demand careers.
  • Education requirements vary from certificates and diplomas to associate’s degrees.
  • Research job requirements, expected salary range, job growth and demand, and work environment before choosing a healthcare career.

The healthcare industry is thriving, and the global pandemic has increased the demand for healthcare workers. However, not everyone has a four-year degree required to pursue a career in healthcare.

Fortunately, there are a variety of healthcare careers that do not require a bachelor’s degree. Here are five professions that provide information on education requirements, job descriptions, and salary expectations.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants work under the supervision of doctors or nurses, performing various administrative and clinical tasks. They may schedule appointments, take vital signs, update medical records, and prepare patients for procedures. A high school diploma or equivalent is required, and on-the-job training is common.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly salary for medical assistants was $35,850 in 2020. Additionally, employment opportunities in this field are anticipated to increase by 19% from 2019 to 2029.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

EMTs in action in the ambulance

Emergency medical technicians respond to medical emergencies and provide primary medical care at the scene. They assess patients, administer medications, and manage traumatic injuries. To become an EMT, you must complete a state-approved EMT basic training course that typically lasts 1–2 months. The median annual wage for EMTs in 2020 was $35,400, and job growth is expected to grow by 6 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists distribute prescription medication to patients. They may measure medication, label prescriptions, and handle insurance forms. Pharmacy technicians typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and on-the-job training, although some states require certification.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that pharmacy technicians had a median annual wage of $34,610 in 2020. They also predict a four percent increase in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Radiologic Technologist

Radiographers or radiologic technologists conduct diagnostic imaging exams such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. They position patients, operate equipment, and record images for interpretation by a doctor.

Radiologic technologists need an associate’s degree, and licensure is required in most states. The median annual wage for radiologic technologists in 2020 was $62,280, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and employment is expected to grow by seven percent from 2019 to 2029.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases and provide preventive care. They may also take X-rays and apply sealants. A minimum of an associate’s degree is required, and licensing is required in all states.

The median annual wage for dental hygienists in 2020 was $77,090, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and employment is expected to grow by six percent from 2019 to 2029.

Choosing a Career

Now that you know about the five non-degree healthcare careers, you can explore which is right for you. Here are some of the things you must consider:

Research the different healthcare careers available

The vast healthcare industry has multiple professions with varying education requirements, from certificates and diplomas to associate’s degrees. Researching various healthcare careers will help you identify the ones that require less education and are ideal for your interest.

Determine the job requirements and expected salary

hospital staff answering a phone call

After identifying potential job options, research the job requirements to confirm that you possess the necessary certification or degree to qualify. Additionally, explore the desired salary range for the job to know what to expect going into the field.

Consider job growth and demand

Healthcare is booming, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in healthcare is projected to grow 15% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth means that healthcare jobs will continue to be in demand in the future, meaning job security in the healthcare industry is good.

Understand the work environment

Before choosing a healthcare career, you should explore the work environment and determine if it’s an environment that you are comfortable working in. For example, a dental hygienist might work in a private practice setting, while a medical assistant might work in a hospital or clinic environment. Consider factors like the work schedule, work environment, and workload to ensure you choose a career that fits your lifestyle and personality.

The Takeaways

Many healthcare career options do not require a bachelor’s degree, allowing individuals to enter healthcare without spending four years in college. Medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, radiologic technologists, EMTs, and dental hygienists are all in-demand careers with a positive job outlook and a median annual salary ranging from $34,610 to $77,090. Consider exploring these career options if you are passionate about healthcare and seeking a fulfilling career.

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