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Baby boomers, the more than 75 million peoplein the U.S. born between 1944 and 1964,are starting to retire.As this generation ages and requires more advanced healthcare, the demand for healthcare occupationsis expected to grow at a breakneck pace.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2016 and 2026, the projected employment growth among healthcare jobs is 15.3 percent, far outpacing the national average of 7.4 percent. In fact, more than half of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. are related to healthcare. For example, home health aide positions are expected to increase 47.3 percent and personal care aide positions are expected to increase 38.6 percent by 2026. Fortunately for job seekers,not all healthcare-related occupations require a medical school degree. For individuals just starting out in their careers or looking to change industries, healthcare could be an excellent opportunity.
Interestingly, the growth in healthcare positions is not evenly distributed throughout the U.S. Among the largest U.S. states, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Michigan have disproportionately high concentrations of healthcare jobs. California, Texas, and Washington, on the other hand, have below average concentrations of these jobs.
At the local level, the technology hubs of San Jose, Seattle, and San Francisco have some of the lowest concentrations of healthcareprofessionals while Southern metros like Greenville and Charlottesville have higher concentrations. Wages for healthcare positions also tend to be highest in the Northeast and the West Coast, and lowest in the South. For example, median annual wages range from $88,630 in California to $52,530 in Mississippi.
While the highest-paying jobs among healthcare practitioners do require going to medical school, there are still many high-paying jobs that dont require a medical degree. For instance, the median annual wage for healthcare practitioners and related occupations in the U.S. is $66,440, compared to the overall median annual wage of $38,640 for all occupations.These positions not only benefit society, but they are also in high demand and well compensated.
To find which healthcare jobs have the highest salaries without requiring a medical degree, tutoring firm HeyTutoranalyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics and Employment Projections surveys. Its researchers looked only at healthcare practitioners and technical occupations requiring a masters degree or less. These 10 in-demand jobs all make over $75,000 per year.
Working in collaboration with a dentist, dental hygienistsassist patients by cleaning teeth, taking x-rays, and assessing oral health for signs of diseases such as gingivitis. In addition to having at least an associates degree, all dental hygienists must be licensed to practice. Half of dental hygienists work part-time, so this could be a good career path for a parent or caregiver. Dental hygienists have the highest total employment on this list.
Nuclear medicine technologistssupport physicians by preparing and administering radioactive chemicals to patients in order to diagnose health issues or provide treatment. For example, certain diagnostic tests like PET scans require the patient to ingest radioactive drugs to detect abnormalities like tumors. For some patients, radioactive drugs can be used for treatment instead of surgery. Even though nuclear medicine technologists have the lowest projected employment growth on this list, it is still higher than the projected growth rate for all occupations.
Speech-language pathologistsassistchildren and adults who struggle with speech or swallowing disorders. This occupation involves creating custom treatment plans for patients, which might include strengthening throat muscles, teaching vocabulary, or coaching patients on how to make sounds. Speech-language pathologists usually work in schools or hospitals.
One of the biggest determinants of health risks is family medical history. Genetic counselors analyze an individuals family medical history to analyze therisk of different genetic disorders and birth defects that could be inherited. Genetic counselors can assess risks for individuals ofany age, from infancy through adulthood. Genetic counselors have the lowest total employment on this list.
Radiation therapistswork in hospitals and other healthcare facilities to administer radiation treatments used toshrinkcancerous tumors. They must take precautions to ensure that only the desired area of treatment is targeted for the radiation, without affecting the rest of the body. Radiation therapists must have an associates degree, and some states require a license or certification exam.
Occupational therapists provide therapeutic services to ill or injured patients of all ages by integrating everyday activities into a holistic treatment plan. For example, occupational therapists might teach a patient with cerebral palsy how to get dressed or a child who struggles with fine motor skills how to hold a pencil. Occupational therapists might recommend special equipment like wheelchairs, identify improvements that can be made to the home or workplace, or teach new skills that all help improve quality of life for their patients.
Nurse midwivesare part of a subset known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Nurse midwives assist women in reproductive health by performing gynecological exams, offering prenatal care, and delivering babies. As with most of the other professions on this list, nurse midwives consult with physicians frequently to coordinate patients treatment.
Another type of APRN, nurse practitionershave many of the same responsibilities as a physician and can serve as a primary care provider. Nurse practitioners often focus on a specific age group, such as pediatric orgeriatric health. Nurse practitioners perform medical examinations, administer treatment, and counsel patients on health and wellness. Projected employment growth is 36.1 percent, significantly higher than the projected growth rate of 7.4 percentfor all occupations.
Physician assistants(PAs) work in a variety of healthcare settings to examine patients, diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication, and interpret diagnostic tests. PAs work under the supervision of a physician, but the amount of supervision required varies in each state. PAs must obtain a masters degree and a license in order to practice. Physician assistants have the highest projected employment growth on this list.
The third type of advanced practice nurse, nurse anesthetists are trained to provide anesthesia and pain management to patients undergoing surgery. The nurse anesthetist also stays with the patient for the duration of the procedure to check vitals and adjust the anesthesia if needed. Nurse anesthetists must earn a masters degree, a license, and a certification in order to practice. In addition, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) must take a Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Program every 4 years in order to remain active.
The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics and Employment Projections surveys. To find the highest-paying healthcare occupations that dont require a professional degree, only Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupationswere considered. Occupations requiring a professional degree were filtered out. The remaining occupations were ordered by their median annual wage for 2018 (rounded to the nearest thousand). Median annual wages and total employment are for 2018; whereas, the projected employment growth is for 2016-2026. Wage data cover non-farm wage and salary workers and does not cover the self-employed, owners and partners in unincorporated firms, or household workers.
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