Best Health Care Jobs Without a College Degree

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Health care is one area that continues to struggle to find enough workers to staff in hospitals, laboratories, and offices. This problem will only get worse as baby boomers begin to encounter health issues due to age.

The great news is that this opens up many more job opportunities for you. Many health care professions are not limiting to just college graduates since there wouldn’t be enough workers to meet public need.

Health care also has some of the fastest growing and highest paying jobs for those without a college degree. Several jobs do require an associate’s degree, but it’s a worthwhile investment if you can make it work.

Jobs in health care made up the largest percentage of our top jobs without a college degree. Take a look at the full list if you are interested in what else made the cut.

As we take you through the list, each job has several data points which are provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. We’ve also highlighted the main responsibilities that you would perform in the role. This will give you an idea what will be expected when you land the job.

1. Radiation Therapist

Median Salary: $80,570 ($38.73 per hour)
Expected Job Growth by 2026: 13% (faster than average)
Associate’s Required? YesM

While this profession requires an associate’s, the ability to treat patients with cancer and other diseases is unbelievably fulfilling. These patients are going through the most challenging time in their life and fighting a tough battle. Becoming a Radiation Therapists often requires a compassionate individual with a positive attitude.

Typical responsibilities of a Radiation Therapist will include:

  • Administering radiation treatments and dispensing medications.
  • Ensuring a clean and peaceful environment for the patients undergoing treatment.
  • Most importantly, you will be providing comfort through conversation and bringing the patient whatever they need.

Treatment sessions can be long and exhausting for them, so the support you provide goes a long way.

2. Dental Hygienist

Median salary: $74,070 ($35.61 per hour)
Expected Job Growth by 2026: 20% (much faster than average)
Associate’s Required? Yes

Do you have a passion for good dental hygiene? Most people don’t, but many would enjoy being on the other end of the dental pick and scaler to remove plaque from teeth.

Typical responsibilities of a Dental Hygienist include:

  • Examining teeth for cavities or other issues
  • Cleaning and polishing teeth
  • Prepping the mouth for dental procedures like cavity filling, crowns, etc.
  • Examining x-rays and dental records

3. Physical Therapy Assistant

Median salary: $46,920 ($22.56 per hour)
Expected Job Growth by 2026: 30% (much faster than average)
Associate’s Required? No, but a license is required in most states

Physical Therapy Assistants (PTA) work under the guidance of a Physical Therapist (PT). The role of a Physical Therapy Assistant is all about helping patients who have suffered a serious injury regain critical movement and reduce pain.

The activities performed can often be the same as a Physical Therapist. The main difference is that the PT is will diagnosis and develop the physical therapy program for each patient. The PTA will often be responsible for working with the patient to carry out the program.

Typical responsibilities of a Physical Therapy Assistant include:

  • Setting up and configuring equipment used for patient rehabilitation.
  • Supporting patients to complete their physical therapy program.
  • Assist the patient during stretches and exercises.
  • Educate the patient on PT equipment use and exercises that help manage pain.

Most states require you to get a PTA license to be hired by a physical therapist’s office or hospital. This typically involves graduating from a Physical Therapy Assistant Program and passing the Physical National Physical Therapy Exam. However, the projected growth of this profession makes the PTA license one of the best to earn.

4. Pharmacy Technician

Median salary: $31,750 ($15.26 per hour)
Expected Job Growth by 2026: 12% (faster than average)
Associate’s Required? No

The only education required for a Pharmacy Technician is a high school diploma. You will need to take on-the-job training since you will be working with behind-the-counter medications and technology specific to the pharmacy.

The Pharmacy Tech will often be the first to prepare a prescription to be filled in the pharmacy. However, the Pharmacist will double check medication doses against the prescription since they are responsible if there are issues. Typical responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician include:

  • First person to portion out medications.
  • Input prescriptions into the system and fill them once ready.
  • Check out patients picking up medications.
  • Follow strict procedures for filling prescriptions for controlled drugs.
  • Performing inventory on medication and supplies.

5. Personal Care or Home Health Aide

Median salary: $23,130 ($11.12 per hour)
Expected Job Growth by 2026: 41% (much faster than average)
Associate’s Required? No

Unfortunately, the demand for Home Health Aides and Personal Care Assistants is just beginning to explode. The need will only increase as more baby boomers begin to experience chronic illnesses or disabilities that require assistance around the home.

This can range from assisting with basic day-to-day tasks to supporting doctors and nurses in providing ongoing health care.

In some states, Home Health Aides can be allowed to dispense medication under the direction of a nurse or doctor. If the position is with a certified Home Health or Hospice company, you will likely be required to take training and pass an exam.

You may also be working with disabilities or mental conditions that impair their ability to provide basic care for themselves. It will take patience and a good attitude to provide your patients with the support they may need, but may not want in some cases.

If you have experience caring for an elder family member, this could be a natural career path for you.

However, it must not be understated that these people have lived long and challenging lives in some cases. They truly deserve the best in humanity helping them in their time of greatest need.

Typical responsibilities of a Personal Care or Home Health Aide include:

  • Dispensing medication based on the patient’s care program.
  • Assisting the patient in daily tasks such as moving between rooms, cooking meals, and personal grooming.
  • Ensuring the comfort of the patient through the majority of the day.
  • Some aides will run errands for the patient; including grocery shopping, mailing packages, or other day-to-day activities.

6. Phlebotomist

Median salary: $33,670 ($16.19 per hour)
Expected Job Growth by 2026: 25% (much faster than average)
Associate’s Required? No, but requires certification from a phlebotomy program

If the sight of blood makes you feel uneasy, move onto the next job.

The job of a Phlebotomist is pretty straight-forward – they draw blood samples from patients. That’s pretty much it.

A Phlebotomist might answer questions the patient has on the process to take a sample and what is being tested, but those questions are rare. Most patients just want to get in and out as fast as possible.

Occasionally, you may need to assist patients that feel lightheaded after they donate a sample. The is often remedied through fluids (water or juice) and a small snack to get their blood sugar back up.

If this sounds like something you can handle, becoming a Phlebotomist can be an easy career to get into with good pay. Check out your local community college to see if they offer a Phlebotomy program to earn your certification.

7. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Median salary: $65,620 ($31.55 per hour)
Expected Job Growth by 2026: 17% (much faster than average)
Associate’s Required? Yes

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, also called Diagnostic Imaging Workers, spend much of their day working with specialized medical diagnostic equipment. These diagnostic machines use sonographic technology (sound waves) to create images or run various tests so doctors can assess and diagnose patient conditions.

The majority of the tests run are on the abdomen, cardiovascular system, and breasts to identify irregularities without invasive surgery.

In most cases, you will be working in a hospital laboratory for tests being run on admitted patients. Many Diagnostic Medical Sonographers also work in doctor offices and specialized diagnostic laboratories.

It’s important to note, you will need at least an associate’s degree and may be required to get certified to learn how to use the diagnostic equipment.

Typical responsibilities of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer include:

  • Preparing and maintaining diagnostic equipment.
  • Running tests and generating images on patients.
  • Analyzing images and summarizing findings for doctors.

8. MRI & Radiologic Technologist

Median salary: $60,070 ($28.88 per hour)
Expected Job Growth by 2026: 13% (faster than average)
Associate’s Required? Yes

There are millions of MRI scans performed around the world each year. Many of us have had or know someone that has had an MRI scan to check for abnormalities with internal organs and tissues.

The most common areas that require MRI scans include lower back, full body, Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), and Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL). They are also heavily used to test for melanoma, prostate cancer, and arthritis in patients at risk or already diagnosed with these conditions.

Most MRI or Radiologic Technologists were historically staffed in hospital settings, however, there are an increasing number of out-patient clinics appearing. These offices are often focused only on delivering MRI scans at the same quality and lower cost. This means these stand-alone MRI offices are quickly becoming preferred by health insurers.

Typical responsibilities of an MRI or Radiologic Technologist include:

  • Preparing MRI equipment for each patient.
  • Maintaining and adjusting MRI equipment.
  • Submitting MRI results to a lab or doctor for review.
  • Analyzing MRI scans to identify abnormalities and communicating with doctors.

9. Massage Therapist

Median salary: $39,990 ($19.23 per hour)
Expected Job Growth by 2026: 26% (much faster than average)
Associate’s Required? No, but may require massage therapist license or certification

Who doesn’t enjoy a good massage? According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), about 47.1 – 59.5 million adult Americans received a massage between 2016-2017. That’s roughly 19-24% of the adult population in the US.

While most Massage Therapists work in franchise or chain locations, massage services can also be performed in health care offices, athletic clubs, and many other settings.

An emerging trend is to have a therapist come to the customer’s home or office for a massage session. Zeel and Soothe are known as the “Ubers of Massage” since they offer customers on-demand massage sessions with therapists. If you’re willing to travel, this could be an option for you.

The results below are based on a survey performed by AMTA on the most common settings for massage sessions.

Source: American Massage Therapy Association

Most companies do require you to have a massage therapist certification. This demonstrates your knowledge of the right massage techniques and styles offered by therapists in the profession.

Typical responsibilities of a Massage Therapist include:

  • Getting to know the customer’s massage preferences and relevant medical history.
  • Cleaning and maintaining the massage rooms.
  • Providing customers with hot towels or other items to make them feel more comfortable.
  • Performing various styles of massage based on the customer’s needs.
  • Billing insurance and checking customers out when the session is complete.

10. Respiratory Therapist

Median salary: $59,710 ($28.71 per hour)
Expected Job Growth by 2026: 23% (much faster than average)
Associate’s Required? Yes

Respiratory Therapists focus almost entirely on treating patients that are having trouble breathing. Often this is related asthma, emphysema, or respiratory infections.

The work can include caring for babies in a Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with under-developed lungs or adults with lung disease. In a hospital setting, a Respiratory Therapist may be called on for emergencies when patients are struggling to breathe or choking.

Typical responsibilities of a Respiratory Therapist include:

  • Examining patients to detect breathing anomalies.
  • Teaching patients breathing exercises to manage respiratory conditions.
  • Reviewing medical history and scans of patient’s respiratory system.
  • Consulting with doctors to determine appropriate treatment plans.
  • Treat patients using chest therapy and aerosol medications.
  • Monitor patient’s respiratory healing progress.

Conclusion

There is no more rewarding profession than health care. It’s empowering to know what you do helps reduce pain and brighten the day for patients.

Let us know what you think about these jobs or if you have experience to share.

If health care isn’t your thing after reading this list, please take a look at our full list of top jobs without a college degree.

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