Are you thinking about a medical career but concerned about spending eight or 10 years in school? There are many great healthcare careers that don’t require a medical degree or MD. Some of the most popular options are detailed below.
A respiratory therapist (RT) plays a vital role in the modern healthcare industry, with patient responsibilities that include monitoring and improving breathing problems. These can include COPD, asthma, pneumonia, and others.
Patients can range from premature babies with poorly developed lungs to older patients with cancer and other diseases. Respiratory therapists also offer emergency care to those who have had heart attacks, accidents, drug problems, and more.
US News and World Reports state that RTs have one of the top 25 jobs in the United States, with growth to increase 23% by 2026, which is much faster than average. It’s expected that growth in the older US population will lead to more problems with COPD, pneumonia, and other issues that can cause permanent damage to the lungs.
The median salary for RTs is about $62,000 as of May 2020. Some respiratory therapists work in the field for several years and eventually become a physician assistant, as this is a good background education to work as a PA.
RTs also can benefit from taking online classes to gain their CEUs for their respiratory therapy license. With so much work to do, it helps to take courses online wherever they are and whenever they have the time.
A physician assistant or PA helps doctors and surgeons examine and diagnose patients. PAs can do most of what a doctor does at a lower cost, which is one reason this is one of the fastest-growing careers in the United States – 37% through 2026.
A PA may handle reviewing the patient’s medical history, look at the patient’s illness or injury, offer a treatment plan, and help them make decisions to aid their health.
How much a PA can do, and the level of doctor supervision needed varies by state. But in underserved areas, PAs can be the only primary care provider (PCP), and the doctor may only appear once or twice per week.
The median salary for a PA is about $106,000 per year, but many PAs make more, depending on the specialty and area. Some physician assistants have two jobs and can make more than $150,000 per year.
A nurse practitioner or NP is a nurse with a master’s degree who serves as PCP and specialty care provider. They may work on their own or with a doctor, depending on the state and facility.
NPs assess their patients to determine the best way to treat or manage the person’s health problem. Many NPs specialize in a specific patient population, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or mental health.
Nurse practitioners must have their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing and be a registered nurse to work in this specialized field.
The median salary is around $107,000 per year, and job growth is an impressive 36% through 2026.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
These in-demand healthcare workers create radioactive drugs for patients who need imaging or therapeutic services. Nuclear medicine technologists use imaging devices that diagnose and treat patients, and they also help doctors research the purposes and uses of certain radioactive drugs.
These workers usually need an associate’s degree in nuclear medicine technology, but it can help if you have a related bachelor’s degree and earn a nuclear medicine technology certificate.
The median salary in this field is $77,000, and job demand is 10% through 2026.
These popular and growing medical fields provide excellent salaries, and you don’t need to stress about up to 10 years of school to work in them.