Top 10 Best Healthcare Jobs
January 12, 2016
We here at HospitalCareers wanted to make a list of the best healthcare jobs for people that need new horizons– or the ones wondering what kind of healthcare jobs might fit them.
With the start of a new year, many people are thinking of new ways to better themselves and make the most of their time.
The best thing about this list is you don’t need medical degrees or Ph.D.s for all of these jobs. Some jobs on this list only require Associate degrees. So, if you need a change, don’t mind hard work and a little advanced education, these are some of the best healthcare jobs for people of all backgrounds.
We based our list on salary, job outlook, and degree required.
Top 10 Best Healthcare Jobs:
Chiropractors come in at number 10 in our list of best healthcare jobs because of the schooling, pay and stress level. While they have relatively lower stress than other jobs in medicine, they don’t make a lot of money for the amount of school they need.
Chiropractors treat patients with problems that affect neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They use spinal adjustments and manipulation, and other techniques to manage patients’ health concerns, such as back and neck pain.
While their stress is limited, they do have to ensure they don’t seriously injure patients. Because of this, Chiropractors must earn a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree and get a state license. These programs take 4 years to complete and require at least 3 years of undergraduate college education for admission.
For all the schooling, they only make an average of $66,720 per year, which is why they land where they are on the list. They do have a good job growth outlook at 17% though and many are self-employed, which is a plus.
Audiologists have pretty calm jobs because they work in quiet environments. This is probably one of the lowest stressed jobs on our list, but the schooling it takes relative to the salary, lands it at number 9.
Audiologists are health care professionals who possess expertise in nonmedical diagnosis and management of disorders pertaining to the auditory and balance system. They specialize in the middle and inner ear and identify and assess hearing and balance disorders and rehabilitate patients who suffer from such disorders.
It takes 4-7 years to earn a Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.) and can cause substantial student loan debt. Before 2012, you needed a Master’s degree, but now you must get the Au.D.
Audiologists can make $73,060 per year which is solid, but might not be enough for the amount of debt and schooling some students must take on.
This is one of the best healthcare jobs, but one of the most demanding, which is why it lands at number 8.
Pharmacists are responsible for dispensing medications as prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners. They also assist with monitoring patient health by advising physicians and other health care providers on the selection, interactions, recommended uses, suggested dosages and potential side effects of medications.
They have a higher level of education needed and higher stress levels than many of these other jobs on the list.
To be a pharmacist, you need a Pharm. D degree along with an undergrad degree. The time it takes is longer and the tests you must take are more daunting. You need to remember a ton of things to ensure that patients don’t die. So inherently there are more risks, and more stress.
Pharmacists can work long hours and sometimes nights, weekends, or holidays. Since many pharmacists are self-employed, they must take on administrative and management tasks along with their pharmacist duties, which adds to the stress.
All the hours and work pays off though, because they make $120,950 per year on average and have a good amount of jobs in their field (about 300,000).
Another thing that adds to a lower position is their slow 3% growth. They have a ton of jobs, but not many more are projected to open up into 2024.
Making it on our best healthcare jobs list at number 7 is Optometrist. An optometrist provides primary medical and health care for the eyes. They diagnose and treat eye injuries and diseases, and can also pinpoint systemic problems (like diabetes) causing eye disorders that require treatment by other specialists.
They make great money too. At about $102,000 per year, they are one of the highest paid on this list, but that comes with more schooling and more responsibility. They have to complete an O.D. program which takes four more years of schooling and more testing.
This job is growing much faster than other jobs at 27%, on average and has a good job outlook through 2024.
Most optometrists have their own offices, where they work independently, generally on a 40 hour weekly schedule. Since these offices are set up as a comfortable environment for patients and workers, an optometrist works in clean, well-lit, attractively furnished surroundings.
Medical laboratory technologists and medical lab technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances. They typically need a Bachelor’s degree, but if you want to be a lab technician you will only need an Associate degree. But because you don’t have very advanced education, you are limited in your responsibilities and pay.
This job is good if you want autonomy and a quiet atmosphere, because outside of collecting samples, you will spend more time away from patients than with them. It’s also a great healthcare job if you like doing lab work and experimenting.
The median annual wage for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians isn’t too shabby at $49,310 a year. You can work your way up the pay scale the more you learn and the more experience you get.
Also, the job growth for this job is 16 percent which is much faster than other jobs in any field. And with 328,200 jobs in the field, there are many opportunities to land a job.
Dietitians design nutrition programs to protect health, alleviate the symptoms of some types of diseases, and to prevent allergic reactions. They are the experts in understanding the importance of nutrition as the foundation of good health.
It’s one of the best healthcare jobs right now because many Americans are realizing how important a proper diet is to their health– also, with it being a new year, many people are jumping on the fitness bandwagon and you can always make good money by helping them meet their goals.
Clinical dietitians may specialize in many different areas and have a Bachelor’s degree and have completed supervised training through an internship. This education pays though, because the average salary for a dietician is $56,950 per year and many can make more money by owning their own business and by creating specialty diets and working with high-end clients.
Currently, this job is growing faster than others at 16% and has about 66,700 jobs with more on the horizon as America becomes more conscious of health.
This job has a low-stress level and normal work hours. Most work 40 hours and have a variety of facilities to work at, or their own office.
If you don’t mind a little radiation exposure, becoming a Radiologic Technologist is one of the best jobs in healthcare due to the academic requirements, pay, and relative stress levels. Radiologic Technologists perform diagnostic imaging procedures (Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), X-ray examinations and Computed Tomography (CT) scans) and administer radiation therapy treatments.
A great thing about this job is the advancement opportunities, as there are a number of specialties you can go into. These specialties can bring more money, but could mean more schooling.
The work environment isn’t bad either. The job allows for a pretty high level of autonomy, low stress, and regular work schedules. Most radiologic technology positions are full-time at 40 hours a week. Some positions may include evening, weekend or on-call assignments. They mainly work at hospitals, but can also be found at specialty clinics, urgent care facilities, and private practices.
Another great thing is entry into the field only takes an associate’s degree. Many start as radiologic technologists and go on to specialize in another area, which brings in more money. The average salary of RTs is about $58,000 a year and some of the specialties can bring in six figures.
Currently there are 230,600 radiologic technologist positions in America and the field is growing by 9% which means an increase of 20,700 more hospital jobs over the next few years.
3. Dental Hygienist
As far as best healthcare jobs go, becoming a dental hygienists is one of the best things you can do if you want to help people and make great money, but not spend all your time in college– or if you are changing career paths and need to balance work and school.
Dental Hygienists clean teeth, examine patients, provide preventive dental care, and help dentists in more complex procedures like implants and root canals. They also educate their patients on the best ways to improve and maintain oral health.
This job is great because it pays on average $71,520 per year and only requires an associate’s degree. Every job has it’s struggles, but at least with this job you have a normal work schedule, have most of your weekends off (depending on your boss’s schedule), work in a nice, clean, relaxed atmosphere, and don’t have the normal stress of other healthcare jobs.
The growth rate of this job is 19% which is much faster than other jobs in the nation. Right now there are 200,500 jobs out there with an increase in almost 40k over the next few years. So, if you put in the typical 3 years it takes to complete the program, you can almost guarantee that you will have a job when you get out.
Physical therapists (PTs) work closely with clients, patients and their families to promote, restore and maintain overall wellness and fitness. This is a growing field as many Americans want a more active, satisfying lifestyle. The statistics show that Physical Therapist jobs are growing by 34%, which is killer and much faster than many jobs.
PTs are making more money as more people are becoming active and as others are getting injured. They can work with high-end clients and sports teams, which can earn them great money. Right now PTs make on average $82,390 per year and have a good number of jobs in the field; about 211,000 jobs according to the BLS.
You do need a Bachelor’s degree and to graduate from a DPT program which can take up to 3 years in addition to your undergrad degree.
For a healthcare job, this is a relatively low stress one because in most cases they aren’t dealing with life and death. They also work regular hours and normal schedules. Sometimes they may have to work evenings, weekends, or holidays, but not always.
If you want this job, you need to be fit because a physical therapy position can be physically demanding. As a PT, you must frequently kneel, stoop, crouch, lift or stand for long periods of time. Physical therapists are also expected to move heavy equipment around and lift patients when needed. They also assist patients with turning, standing and walking.
APRNs made number one on our list of best healthcare jobs because they have great career opportunities, job growth, and have a good balance of time in school relative to salary.
Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, also referred to as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare. These nurses have many functions; from administering anesthesia, midwifing, and providing primary care, these Nurses work on a high level and maintain quality care and rapport with their patients.
To be a APRN, you must get a Master of Science in Nursing, and usually get certified in a specialty area, but all that is worth it with the median salary being $102,670 per year. Not only are these the highest paid nurses, they get to operate with autonomy and prescribe medication. Many people are foregoing Medical School to become a APRN since it allows for a lot of the same privilege.
The job growth rate is great at 31% which is the second highest on our list. There are a ton of these positions opening up and many can have their own practices since they can work independent of physicians. It’s a great job if you want to focus on patient care, not stay in school for the rest of your life, and make great money.