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Healthcare Careers You Can Enter With Two-to-Four Years of Schooling

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When most people think about entering a career in the medical industry, they assume it means years and years of education before even beginning to work. And while this is true if you want to be a doctor, there are a plethora of jobs available where you need only an associate or bachelor’s degree to start.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that health care jobs will grow by 14 percent between 2018 to 2028, making it one of the fastest-growing occupations today. So if you are interested in a medical career with just a certificate or university degree, then check out the list below for ideas. For a number of these jobs, you will need specific certifications so check with https://emedcert.com/products/PALS-recertification for courses.

Dental Hygienist

This is one of the highest paying health care jobs around, and you only need an associate’s degree to do this work. Dental hygienists clean your teeth and conduct dental x-rays before the dentist checks your teeth. Their job is mainly preventive—looking for signs of problems or issues with your oral health.

The average length of studies: 3 years

Average salary: $74,070

Estimated job growth: 11 percent

Occupational Therapy Assistant

This job is in the top 30 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Health Care Support Jobs ranking. To do this work, you need an associate’s degree from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education program, where you will study biology, psychology, and anatomy. Being an occupational therapy assistant involves helping individuals with a physical or mental disability recover or improve their condition.

The average length of studies: 2 years

Average salary: $56,690

Estimated job growth: 31 percent


As more Americans become interested in healthy lifestyles and better eating habits, nutritionists are growing in popularity. Because of this growing interest in healthy food and habits, the profession is expected to grow immensely between 2014 to 2024. Nutritionists specialize in food and help patients reach their health goals and plan diets with specific health concerns in mind, such as managing a condition like diabetes.

The average length of studies: Bachelor’s degree (4 years)

Average salary: $59,410

Estimated job growth: 15 percent

Physical Therapy Assistant

In this job, you will help patients regain movement and function and manage pain after an injury, such as a broken bone. This profession is #3 on the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Health Care Support Jobs ranking and is in the top 40 for 100 Best Jobs.

The average length of studies: 2 years

Average salary: $46,920

Estimated job growth: 26 percent

Medical Assistant

This job is in the top 10 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Health Care Support Jobs ranking. For someone who likes a mix of clinical and administrative work as well as socializing, then this is the perfect fit for you. Being a medical assistant involves scheduling appointments, checking patients’ vitals such as blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate, discussing with them their health concerns and needs, updating patient records and drawing blood.

The average length of studies: 12 months

Average salary: $32,480

Estimated job growth: 23 percent


This is one of the most stable professions today, as nurses are in high demand at hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices. You can become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), which can earn you around $40,000 per year. If you decided to become a Registered Nurse, you can earn more—roughly $70,000 per year. Nurses provide a range of care to patients like recording patient symptoms and conditions, monitoring patients’ behavior, conducting procedures like a hearing test, and administering medications.

The average length of studies: 1-3 years

Average salary: $42,520-$70,000

Estimated job growth: 12 percent