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Best Paying Jobs in Health Care Today by Degree Level

business meeting with medical practitioner, one of the best paying jobs in health care

If job security is important to you, you might consider one of the best paying jobs in health care. Not all positions require patient contact, and there is sure to be a position that matches with your talents and interests. As medical services will always be in demand, you can be assured of job opportunities throughout this field.

Besides deciding on a field, another consideration is the level of education you want to pursue. Within healthcare, you can find satisfying occupations that require anywhere from an associate’s degree up to a doctorate.

Knowing the career prospects with each degree level is immensely helpful in choosing the right one for you. Once you get a better idea of the expected growth and salaries that come with each option, you will be able to make an informed choice. Especially in a field like healthcare, the possibilities are endless. From highly skilled jobs, such as surgeons, to very technical yet non-patient positions, such as health services manager, you can opt for any of the vast multitudes of options available.

Did you grow up fantasizing about being a doctor? Or are you aware of all the other opportunities you have to serve humanity through this challenging field? Let’s explore some of the highest-paying healthcare careers in the US in 2022!

Healthcare Degree Options

Sometimes, making the right decision can be tricky, considering the diverse paths available. It’s good to have information about the types of healthcare degrees.

For instance, if you take the more conventional path and become a doctor, there’s a set way to go about it. After completing an undergraduate degree, you apply to a medical school program. This process results in you getting an MD (Doctor of Medicine), after which you can apply for residency programs. On completing these programs, and all the required exams, you get your license to practice as a doctor. It can take between 10 to 14 years to complete this journey.

Physicians and surgeons are some of the highest-paid workers in the healthcare sector. The process seems rigorous, but the results are equally rewarding.

But not everyone wishes to work in the hospital with scalpels or needles. For these individuals, many non-physician healthcare jobs exist. You could get a degree in a managerial or assisting domain, nursing, or even in the medico-legal field. For those more interested in going towards the policy, consulting, or research side, a degree in public health is a fantastic option to explore.

Non-Physician Healthcare Degrees

To some, any option other than becoming a physician might seem fruitless. However, the wise know that you can build a rewarding career for yourself within healthcare based on any of your interests that you wish to pursue.

Non-physician jobs are also some of the highest-paying healthcare jobs in the US. For example, on average, pharmacists earn around $128,570 per year. If you are not intrigued by the surgical sector, you can always pick a different, sometimes even better, option!

Demand in the Healthcare Industry: Career Prospects

The current expected growth in the healthcare industry is massive. The profession has an increasing demand for various employment options, making this a great time to step into the field. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts jobs within the healthcare field to increase more than in any other occupation. The current projection states growth of almost 2.6 million jobs between 2020 and 2030, a growth of 16 percent! You can seldom witness numbers of this magnitude in any industry.

In May 2021, the median wage of healthcare practitioners and technicians was $75,040, higher than all other occupations. This makes the healthcare industry a lucrative choice, even for the non-physician jobs.

The reason for the expansion within this industry is two-fold. America’s aging population demands healthcare providers for services across the board. In addition to this growing demographic, there also continues to be a steady increase in people acquiring health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. This boom creates the need for more workers within the healthcare industry to provide adequate services to this newly-insured population. All this means that now is a great time to begin your career in healthcare.

Best Paying Jobs in Health Care with an Associate’s Degree

Radiation Therapists

Average salary: $82,790 per year

Radiation therapists use highly complex machines to deliver treatments to cancer patients. They also accomplish several other critical tasks with these patients during this process. These include reviewing treatment plans, explaining the plans to the patients, comforting them through the process, maintaining treatment standards, and monitoring the outcomes. According to BLS, the projected employment growth for radiation therapists is nine percent from 2020 to 2030. This is an excellent opportunity for people willing to work with patients during a traumatic time in their lives.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Average salary: $78,760 per year

Nuclear medicine technologists give doses of radiation or medicine to patients to treat medical conditions. They are also responsible for performing specific tests on patients for research purposes. These tests give patients specific doses of radioactive drugs and then capture images of these drugs within the body for physicians to analyze. BLS predicts employment opportunities for nuclear medicine technologists will grow by eight percent from 2020 to 2030. This career path is a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in working closely with drug therapy.

Dental Hygienist

Average salary: $77,810 per year

According to BLS, employment for dental hygienists will grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030. A dental hygienist’s key responsibility is to assist the dentist in their job. This can include duties such as screening patients, taking their dental history as well as x-rays. They also document treatment, help patients implement good dental hygiene practices, and clean and polish a patient’s teeth. Getting an associate’s degree in dental hygiene is an excellent way to start in the dentist’s office without lengthy training.

Best Paying Jobs in Health Care with a Bachelor’s Degree

Medical and Health Services Manager

Average salary: $101,340 per year

Health services managers oversee the operational duties within healthcare organizations, ensuring proper administration and efficacy. They maintain budget records, direct recruitment, manage day-to-day responsibilities, and create schedules. They also coordinate between various teams and maintain close communication with the upper management. While their job has more of an administrative nature, their presence is vital to ensuring proper functioning within the system. The average salary is high, and the expected growth rate from 2020 to 2030 is 32 percent, much higher than many other occupations on this list. Being a medical and health services manager is a perfect fit for those looking to take on a challenging career with significant responsibility yet without handling direct patient care.

Health and Safety Engineer

Average salary: $99,040 per year

Health and safety engineers ensure safe working conditions. Their work ranges from inspecting equipment for safety and inspecting working facilities to prevent hazardous conditions. They can propose improvements to the existing working conditions to decrease any chances of harm. These professionals use health and safety rules to implement plans with their engineering knowledge, making their work pertinent to healthcare. The growth rate in this field is a little less than others, at six percent. However, the good salary and the exciting projects one gets to work with are persuading factors to enter this occupation.

Bioengineers or Biomedical Engineers

Average salary: $97,410 per year

Biomedical engineers combine various engineering aspects to design solutions to medical problems. They usually work with medical scientists and chemists using engineering principles to improve human health. They might also inspect existing biomedical equipment for safety, efficiency, and effectiveness. Biomedical engineering is a relatively new field. Despite the current growth projections being only six percent, the area is increasing in demand. The increased involvement of technology in all aspects of human life is a prime reason.

Speech-language Pathologists

Average salary: $79,060 per year

Speech-language pathologists work with language, speech, communication, and swallowing disorders in adults and children. Their work revolves around treatment, rehabilitation, and the provision of alternative communication systems for those who need them. They might also work with people who do not have any disorders but somehow wish to improve their speech. Being a speech-language therapist offers you working opportunities within various research, education, and healthcare settings. Again, owing to America’s aging population, there is a high demand for speech pathologists, especially for elderly patients. The expected growth rate from 2020 to 2030 for speech pathologists is 29 percent which presents an exciting opportunity for anyone wishing to begin a career.

Best Paying Jobs in Health Care with a Master’s Degree

Nurse Anesthetists

Average salary: $123,780 per year

Nurse anesthetists have responsibilities similar to that of an anesthesiologist. They may assist the doctor or work independently in reviewing a patient’s conditions to determine the appropriate amount of anesthesia to be administered during surgery. After administering the said amount, they remain with the patient throughout the procedure to monitor the patient and adjust the anesthesia amount if required. Being a nurse anesthetist requires an extreme commitment and focus and is equally rewarding. The demand for nurse anesthetists is considerably high as they safely provide a specialized service. According to predictions by the BLS, we can expect a 45 percent growth rate in this profession from 2020 to 2030.

Physician Assistants (PA)

Average salary: $121,530 per year

As the name suggests, physician assistants help physicians throughout phases of patient treatment. They can partake in all tasks of a physician, such as reviewing histories, diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medicine, ordering tests, and counseling patients. The only difference is that they work under the supervision of a trained physician, with the level of control differing from state to state. In certain rural communities, a physician assistant might entirely work independently with minimal supervision from a physician. Being a physician assistant is a highly-skilled job, making it valuable. It is a career with continuing high demand, with an employment growth rate of 31 percent, one of the fastest-growing rates in healthcare.

Nurse Practitioners (NP)

Average salary: $118,040 per year

Nurse practitioners work as primary care providers to monitor patients and provide medical care and treatment. They might also specialize in specific fields such as pediatrics or psychiatry. Nurse practitioners have much more autonomy than registered nurses. They often perform routine and detailed examinations, create treatment plans, and prescribe medication. They also perform minor medical procedures (based on their specialization), among other specific tasks.

Nurse practitioners are now even higher in demand, owing to the shortage of physicians. The growth rate from 2020 to 2030 is 45 percent. Being an NP is a fitting career for those who would like more independence in their work with patients.

Best Paying Jobs in Health Care with a Doctorate

Once you’ve attained a specialized degree in healthcare, your career prospects rise immediately. One can expect to have jobs paying more than $100,000 per year, with many job openings.

Anesthesiologists

Average salary: $331,190 per year

Anesthesiologists play an essential role during surgery. Their crucial work can mean life or death for patients. They have more than 12,000 hours of clinical training and clinical knowledge to treat the entire human body. An anesthesiologist meets with patients before their procedures to assess their health and determine the anesthesia administration they will require, keeping safety and effectiveness in mind. They’re also responsible for recording the patient’s vitals during surgery and delivering post-surgical care. Anesthesiologists specialize in pain management and work with patients who might not require anesthesia but need effective pain management, such as women in labor. The job is highly demanding and requires a lot of education, so it pays a significant salary.

Gynecologists

Average salary: $296,210 per year

Gynecologists specialize in women’s health, focusing on female reproductive organs. They deal with various issues relevant to these organs, such as pregnancy, childbirth, menstruation, fertility issues, sexually transmitted infections, hormone disorders, etc. They also carry out tests like pelvic exams, pap smears, and cancer screenings. Their high demand leads to it being a well-paid career.

Surgeons and Physicians

Average salary: $208,000+ per year

The words surgeons and physicians serve as an umbrella term for a diverse range of specialties, which are incredibly well-paid within the US. The money you make depends on the sub-field you specialize in and practice in. Surgeons are responsible for performing surgical procedures, whereas physicians generally provide examinations and treatments. Still, they perform jobs that require the utmost skill and dedication. There is an ever-increasing need for these professionals, with the current growth rate being three percent. Being in this field means a hearty paycheck and immense prestige for the professionals.

Psychiatrists

Average salary: $249,760 per year

Psychiatrists, as medical doctors, specialize in mental health. They work with disorders of the mind in both their psychological and physical aspects. People seek psychiatric care for different reasons. The reasons can be long-term problems that are causing significant distress to a patient’s life or sudden problems like hallucinations or panic attacks. Regardless of the nature of the problem, psychiatrists have to treat their patients with the utmost care, as any wrong step can distress them even further. The critical difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that the latter can administer medical treatment plans and prescribe medications.

Pediatricians

Average salary: $198,420 per year

Pediatricians manage children’s physical, behavioral, and mental healthcare until they turn 18. A pediatrician will see their patients more frequently just for checkups during a child’s early ages. After a certain period, children only need to visit a pediatrician when they feel sick or for annual checkups. In addition to treating children for any illnesses or injuries, pediatricians also:

  • Recommend immunizations
  • Monitor your child’s developmental milestones
  • Inform you on making the best health, safety, and nutritional choices for your child

Podiatrists

Average salary: $145,840 per year

Podiatrists focus on treating disorders of the feet and lower legs. They do not have an MD degree like other doctors or physicians, but rather a DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine). As with MDs, podiatrists can perform surgery, prescribe medications, order tests or X-rays, and reset broken bones. They sometimes also treat diabetes, when it leads to nerve damage in your lower limbs, and arthritis, when it affects joints in your feet. Being a podiatrist allows you to work with a diverse range of patients on several critical issues and impact positive change in their lives. Currently, the employment of podiatrists will likely grow by two percent from 2020 to 2030. Despite the low growth, it continues to be a well-paid profession.

Optometrists

Average salary: $124,300 per year

Optometrists are primary eye healthcare providers. They are responsible for addressing any issues, diseases, or disorders of the eye. In addition, they ensure overall well-being by managing the ocular manifestations of any systemic diseases within the human body. They counsel patients on specific options to meet their vision needs, keeping their lifestyles and occupations in mind. Optometrists help us keep our vision 20/20. Their employment opportunities should grow by nine percent from 2020 to 2030.

Dentists

Average salary: $163,220 per year

Regular visits to the dentist’s office are essential for keeping our smiles bright and healthy. Especially as new medical research links oral health with our physical health in general, the need for dentists keeps increasing. The BLS predicts that employment will rise eight percent from 2020 to 2030. While many dentists pursue general dentistry, there are several specializations, such as oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, prosthodontics, periodontics, etc. These offer rewarding careers in terms of money, with oral and maxillofacial surgeons earning over $300,000 annually.

Pharmacists

Average salary: $128,570 per year

Their job might seem like handing medicines to customers from behind a counter, but they’re skilled to do so much more than just that. After acquiring a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D), pharmacists obtain their license and pass two licensing examinations. They are responsible for providing prescription drugs and advising patients and other professionals on the correct medication usage. They also check all medications you’re on to ensure none of them react with each other. If a patient needs it, a pharmacist will also be able to advise them on diet, exercise, and home healthcare products.

Continuing Education for Healthcare Graduates and Professionals

Healthcare is an ever-changing field, with new developments almost every day. To ensure that you’re on top of everything, you will need to consistently educate yourself on the latest research and journal articles and study other medical material. Furthermore, if you’re in a healthcare position that requires a license or a certification, regular renewal might be necessary as per the instructed guidelines. Equipped with updated knowledge and new information, you’ll be able to provide a much better service to all your patients and clients.

GetEducated about the Best Paying Jobs in Health Care!

To sum it up, regardless of your degree level, you can aim for a high-paying career in healthcare. Healthcare is a remarkable field to be a part of. If you’re considering it, there are many resources you can utilize for your help. Many prestigious and esteemed institutions across the United States offer a wide range of healthcare degrees. Visit GetEducated.com and learn your next steps! Start mapping out your interests and career aspirations today; these will help you choose the best possible path for yourself.

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FAQs on the Best Paying Jobs in Health Care

Question: Which medical field is the most in-demand?
Answer: The most in-demand careers in the medical include the following:

  • Physicians
  • Surgeons
  • Health Practitioners
  • Technicians

Question: What is the #1 healthcare job?
Answer: Some of the best jobs in healthcare include:

  • Radiation therapists
  • Nuclear medicine technologists
  • Dental hygienists
  • Anesthesiologists

Question: What is the fastest medical degree to get?
Answer: The following degrees take less than 12 months to complete:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Community Health Worker
  • Surgical Technologist
  • Dental Assistant
  • Dental Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Health Information Technician