Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Healthcare

In Career Advice
October 8, 2015

Highest Paying Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry has some of the highest paying jobs and one of the fastest growing job markets. For all of the hospital jobs that make the top 10 list, they either meet or exceed the average growth rate by 2022.  From Radiation Therapist to Surgeon, this list will show you how much each position makes and what it takes to get there.

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Healthcare:

10. Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapist - Highest Paying Jobs

Finishing our list, we have the Occupational Therapists coming in at an average of $75,400 per year, or $36.25 per hour.

Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help patients develop, regain, and improve the functions needed for daily life.

Occupational therapists usually obtain a master’s degree in occupational therapy which takes 2-4 years after a 4 year undergrad. All states also require occupational therapists to be licensed or registered.

We are expecting to see an above average growth rate of 29%, with additional 32,800 job openings, by 2022.

9. Radiation Therapists

Radiation Therapist - Highest Paying Jobs

Last on our list of the highest paying jobs are the radiation therapists. They treat cancer and other diseases in patients that can be affected by radiation treatments, and score an average pay is $77,560 per year, or $37.29 per hour, for their knowledge and efforts.

Radiation therapists complete associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree programs in radiation therapy. However, to be highly competitive, a bachelor’s degree is ideal. Radiation therapists must be licensed in most state, and the requirements vary by state.

Above average growth rate of 24%, and we’re expecting to see 4,500 more jobs by 2022.

8. Physical Therapists

Physical Therapist - Highest Paying Jobs

At #8, we have the Physical Therapists with an average salary of $79,860 a year, or $38.39 per hour.

Physical therapists help injured people improve their motor functions and manage pain. They play an important role in the rehabilitation and treatment of patients with chronic conditions or injuries.

Physical therapists need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree that usually takes babout 3 years, after a 4 year degree. Students must then complete a one-year residency. All states require physical therapists to be licensed.

With a high average growth rate of 36% with 73,500 more jobs by 2022.

7. Physician Assistant

Physician Assistant - Highest Paying Jobs

Physician assistants are able to  practice medicine on a team under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. However, they’re educated on and able to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, and provide treatment.

As a physician assistant, you can expect to earn an average salary of $90,930 per year or $43.72 per hour.

Physician assistants must complete a physician assistant education program, which takes about 2 years to complete, from an accredited educational program. These programs usually lead to a master’s degree. All states require physician assistants to be licensed.

Physician assistants can also expect a very high growth rate of 38%, and an estimated 33,300 more job openings by 2022 as a result.

6. Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, & Nurse Practitioners

Nurse Practitioner - Highest Paying Jobs

At #6 among the highest paying jobs we have the specialty nurses with an average  salary of $96,460 per year or $46.37 per hour.

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, also referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), provide and coordinate patient care and they may provide primary and specialty health care.

APRNs must earn a master’s degree in their chosen field and be licensed in their state and pass the national certification exam. While many pursue a  Master’s, some choose to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Ph.D.

An APRN must be a licensed registered nurse (RN) before pursuing education in one of the advanced practice roles. Most APRN programs prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in nursing or other science related degrees.

Nurses are expected to enjoy a high growth rate of 31% with an estimated 47600 jobs by 2022.

5. Optometrists

Optometrist - Highest Paying Jobs

Arguably, one of the best paying and least stressful healthcare jobs is Optometry.

Optometrists examine the eyes and other parts of the visual system. They diagnose, and treat visual problems, manage diseases, injuries, and other problems our eyes face. They prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses as needed and help you see as clear as possible.

With an expected salary of $97,820 per year, or $47.03 per hour, it’s no wonder why students would find this an attractive field to pursue.

Optometrists must complete a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree program and obtain a license to practice in a each state. O.D. programs take 4 years to complete, and students must have a bachelor’s degree and pass the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) before entering an O.D. program.

After the O.D. program, optometrists complete a 1-year residency. Areas of emphasis for residency programs include family practice, low vision care, pediatric or geriatric optometry, and ocular disease, among others.

They also must be licensed by the state and complete all sections of The National Board of Examiners in Optometry.

Optometrists are expected to enjoy a 24% growth rate that is well above average, resulting in an estimated 8,100 additional jobs by 2022.

4. Podiatrists

Podiatrist - Highest Paying Jobs

In at #4, we have the Podiatrists with a median salary of $116,440 per year or $55.98 per hour.

Podiatrists have a relatively low stress job and are a considered a specialist. They are lower leg, ankle, and foot doctors, that diagnose illnesses, treat injuries, and perform surgery involving the lower extremities.
They must have a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from an accredited college of podiatric medicine, which takes about 4 years to complete on top of a bachelor’s degree in a related science field. Students must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to get into the DPM program.

After earning a DPM, podiatrists must apply to and complete a podiatric medical and surgical residency (PMSR) program, which takes 3 years.

Podiatrists in every state must be licensed and must pass the American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam (APMLE).

With an average growth rate of 23%, it ranks above average in influx of jobs. There are to be an estimated 2,400 jobs by 2022. 

3. Pharmacists

Pharmacist - Highest Paying Jobs

For the money, Pharmacists have a relatively stressful job because they are responsible for not overdosing patients and getting medication correct. Pharmacists main role is to dispense prescription medication and offer expertise in the safe use of drugs.

At an average of $116,670 a year, Pharmacists making a comfortable living at the 3rd highest paying job, and many own their own businesses, earning much more than those that do not.

To become a Pharmacist, a student must receive a bachelor’s degree in a related science field and 4 year professional degree Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.).

To get into the Pharm. D. program, applicants must pass the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT).

Note: some programs only require at least 2 years of undergrad, but to be competitive, it is wise to get a bachelor’s of science.

Pharmacists must also be licensed in each state, and to do so, they must pass 2 exams.

A 14% growth rate by 2022 is expected, resulting in an additional 41,400 jobs by 2022.

2. Dentists

Dentists - Highest Paying Jobs

Dentists have a lower stress job than physicians and surgeons and come in at number two on the list of highest paid healthcare jobs.

Dentists diagnose and treat problems with the teeth, gums and other problems of the mouth. There are 9 specialties you can pursue in dentistry; this, of course, takes more time and education. Furthermore, a dentist must be licensed in all states and licensed for each specialty.

Dentists are second among the highest paying jobs at $149,310 a year or about $72 an hour and specialty dentists can make more money per year.

Dentists undergo varying degrees of education depending on if they are a general dentist or specialize in any areas of dentistry but all have a Doctoral or Professional Degree.

General dentists need a 4 year undergrad degree coupled with another 4 years of Dental school and must pass the Dental Acceptance Test. After this, general dentists usually require no additional training.

If a dentist wants to specialize in one of the nine specialties of dentistry, they need an additional 2-4 years of education, 1-2 year residency, and, in some cases, a special state exam. Also, a 2 year post-grad may be required of some.

Note: If they plan to teach or become research dentists, it takes another 2-5 years of advanced training.

With a 16% growth rate, comes in 5% above the average growth rate among all jobs.

There is an expected additional 23,300 job openings by 2022.

1. PhysiciansSurgeons

Physician - Highest Paying Jobs

The highest paid healthcare jobs are physicians and surgeons. Arguably, they have the highest stress positions that come with the pay.

Physicians and Surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. Physicians diagnose patients, prescribe medication, order, perform and interpret tests, and interact with patients to help them with issues ranging from diets to depression.

Surgeons are the skilled hands that remove cancers, repair bones, and maneuver through a complexity of other issues found in the human body. Both surgeons and physicians go through rigorous education, training, and residency programs. And both deal with large amounts of stress.

However, their stress is well-compensated, with each raking in more than $187,200 or $90.00 an hour.  The median pay for primary care physicians is around $220,000 and specialists make an average of about $400,000.

It takes a Doctoral or Professional Degree to become either a physician or surgeon.Both go through strenuous and time intensive education and training which is stressful and full of long days and nights.

With an average of 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school, and 3-8 years of internship and residency many students get out with massive piles of student debt.

Physicians and surgeons as a position should expect to enjoy an 18% growth by 2022, much faster than average compared to other jobs in the US.

By 2022 there will be an estimated 123,300 more jobs than when the figures were compiled in 2012.

There you have it, the top 10 highest paying jobs in healthcare. If you’re looking to make the big bucks, any of these positions will help you get there. And if you’re dedicated, I wouldn’t worry too much about the student loan debt involved. If you’re dedicated to what you do, and display compassion and understanding with your patients, you’ll do great!

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