Americans looking for a new career know that the healthcare industry offers a wide variety of occupations with bright futures. The aging of the population has created a demand for healthcare professionals unlike anything seen in the past. If you’re looking for a challenging job with a great future, you can’t go wrong with a career in health care, though you may be concerned about the amount of education required for a lucrative healthcare career. Becoming an M.D. or D.O. generally requires 11 to 16 years of post-high school education. Pharmacists must complete a doctoral program, which means seven or eight years post-high school. For physical therapists, completing a doctoral program requires six or seven years. But finding a good job in healthcare doesn’t necessarily take a college education. Below are five health care career choices you probably haven’t considered. Each offers competitive pay without a bachelor’s degree, the potential for job satisfaction, and an employment outlook that’s above average – and in some cases, way above average.
Home Health Caregiver
Home health care aides act as caregivers in homes of individuals who for various reasons, can’t travel. The position doesn’t require a degree (or, in some states, a high school diploma). But those who work for agencies funded by Medicare or Medicaid must pass a competency exam after completing more than 90 hours of training and supervised practical work. Several certifications are also available.
The Department of Labor estimates the average hourly pay is $10.49. But the job outlook is great. The nation will need almost 400,000 new home health aides in the next five years.
Dental Lab Technician
A dental lab technician works closely with dentists to prepare materials needed for patients, such as dental prostheses (replacements for natural teeth). Dental lab techs generally need up to two years of post-high school education. The job calls for someone with a good eye for color, hand-eye coordination, and a little artistic skill, because they’re often called on to match colors and prepare material mixes. The average salary is about $30,000. But whether you like small or large workplaces, there’s a place for you. Dental lab techs may work in labs of only two people or in huge labs with 100 co-workers or more.
Pharmacy technicians work with licensed pharmacists to dispense prescription drugs. There are only a few state-mandated education requirements, but no federal licensing requirements, so some pharmacies have their own on-the-job training programs. The average pay nationally for pharmacy techs is just under $30,000, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job outlook is better than average for all occupations.
Job-seekers with mechanical aptitude might to consider a career in medical machining– making or repairing medical equipment. Employers generally look for candidates with associate’s degrees in fields like biomedical engineering. The work can be stressful, but the job outlook is very good, and the pay can be quite good. The average pay in the U.S. for medical equipment repairers is about $44,000.
EMT and Paramedic
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics respond to emergency calls to care for the sick and injured in emergency situations. The work can be hard, physically and mentally, but it can also be rewarding. A high school degree is required, along with various certifications. The average pay in the U.S. is just under $35,000 annually.
Don’t let your education, or situation deter you from finding a job in a field that is constantly growing. Take a look at all these options and use your imagination to find a job that is perfect for your own situation.