Lucrative jobs in healthcare–Only an associates degree away!

The healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy—and many of the jobs are high paying opportunities. The US Department of Labor statistics projects that there will be 5.6 million new healthcare jobs by 2020.

One of the biggest causes for this dramatic growth is the aging of the baby boomer generation, which will generate high demand for healthcare services. Another reason this sector is exploding is the Affordable Care Act, which is creating numerous service related jobs within the industry.

healthy living

Health care jobs make great careers because they are in demand, readily available, well paying, fulfilling and rewarding. While there are entry-level positions available in the healthcare industry, the highest paid jobs require specialized training or multiple college degrees. Virtually all well-paid jobs in the healthcare industry will require at least a college degree. Lower level jobs that do not require a degree pay substantially less and have little upward mobility.

However there are several well paying career choices in the healthcare field that require only an associates degree. Here are 5 top choices to consider:

Nursing—Registered nurses (RNs) are expected to be one of the highest growth jobs over the next decade. The average salary for a RN is about $64K annually. RNs work in hospitals, emergency rooms, physician’s offices and urgent care facilities. They administer drugs, set up IVs, take vital signs and work directly with both patients and doctors.

Sonography—Diagnostic Medical Sonographers use ultrasound technology used to create images of organs a person’s organs for doctors to review for diagnostic purposes. On average sonographers make about $61,000 annually or an hourly fee of $29. Sonographers work in hospitals, physician’s office and various clinics.

Dental Hygienists—Dental Hygienists work in dentist offices and clean patients teeth, take x-rays and apply fluorides and sealants. This is one of the fastest growing job sectors, expected to grow 38% by 2020. Dental Hygienists can expect to make about $68,000 annually. Most Dental Hygienists enjoy flexibility of their jobs working part-time or for multiple dentists.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist—Nuclear Medicine Technologists use scanners to create images of the tissues and organs in a patient’s body. In addition, they administer the radioactive drugs used in these scans. Most Nuclear Medicine Technologists work in hospitals, but there are also job opportunities in some labs, physician’s offices and outpatient treatment centers. Nuclear Medicine Technologists can expect to make about $68,000 annually.

Radiation Therapist—Radiation Therapists administer radiation treatments to cancer patients. They x-ray patients prior to the radiation therapy and work directly with equipment and computer systems to insure the correct treatment is given. Radiation Therapists work in hospitals or cancer treatment facilities. Radiation Therapists can expect to make about $74,980 annually.

You can find more information on the outlook for other healthcare jobs from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics here.

With the healthcare industry booming, it is a great option for young people looking to enter the workforce or displaced workers looking to change careers. An associate’s degree typically takes two years to complete making these lucrative careers affordable and easily within reach for most people. In addition, all of these careers have potential for upward mobility with experience and additional training.

Article by Jennifer Smith