15 Healthcare Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree

A career in healthcare is a great option if you want to make a difference in others’ lives while earning a good salary and benefits.

When most people think of working in healthcare, they immediately think they require advanced degrees. 

The truth is, however, that there are many healthcare jobs that don’t require any type of college degree. Instead, many only require a high school diploma or GED and, in some cases, a certification.

This guide goes over 15 healthcare jobs that don’t require a college degree—including average salaries, education requirements, the number of jobs available in the United States, and more—as well as the highest paying options to help you find your fit.

List of Jobs in Healthcare That Don’t Require a College Degree

If you don’t want to spend the time and money to get a college degree, the good news is that there are many great entry-level healthcare jobs that you can pursue. Alternatively, if you are still in undergrad or are looking for a med school gap year job, these are great options.

In addition to decent pay and great benefits, these occupations provide valuable experience that can help if you decide to pursue a healthcare degree later on. Many are also lower-stress medical jobs compared to more advanced roles.

Let’s take a look at some options:

1. Medical Assistant 

A medical assistant is someone who works alongside a physician to give care to patients. They usually work in a clinic or a doctors office and do things like measuring vital signs and scheduling appointments. Medical assistants can also work in specialty clinics like dermatology, pediatrics, or obstetrics and gynecology

Average salary: $37,190

Number of jobs in US: 743,500

Job outlook: 16% increase from 2021-2031

Education required: High School Diploma or GED required, medical assistant certification preferred

2. Certified Nursing Assistant

Nursing assistants usually work in hospitals and long-term care centers. They help nurses to care for sick or injured patients. Certified nursing assistants spend a lot of their time helping patients with their activities of daily living. This includes personal hygiene tasks, moving from a bed to a chair, and emptying their bowel and bladder. 

Average salary: $30,290

Number of jobs in US: 1,389,900

Job outlook: 5% growth from 2021-2031

Education required: High school diploma or GED required, certification preferred

3. Phlebotomist

A phlebotomist is responsible for drawing blood samples from a patient and getting them safely sent to a lab. The blood samples they take can test for electrolyte imbalances, blood infections, hormonal problems, and cancers. It is important that they know how to use needles safely, including being sterile and disposing of them properly.  

Average salary: $37,380

Number of jobs in US: 135,500

Job outlook: 10% growth from 2021-2031

Education required: High school diploma or GED required, certification preferred

4. Emergency Medical Technician

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are usually found working in an ambulance or public event. They provide basic first aid to people in need and help to care for patients with everything from sprained ankles to cardiac arrest. They may also be responsible for taking ECG recordings and driving an ambulance to and from the hospital. Being an EMT is a common job for people hoping to attend PA school or another advanced degree as it allows them to gain valuable clinical experience.

Average salary: $35,470

Number of jobs in US: 261,000

Job outlook: 7% growth from 2021-2031

Education required: High school diploma or GED plus certification

5. Emergency Dispatch

An emergency dispatch worker is a person who answers the phone when you call 911. They must be able to stay calm in an emergency and know what types of questions to ask the caller. They are often responsible for walking people through performing CPR or delivering a baby safely. Emergency dispatch workers are quick thinkers and make sure the right people are notified of scary situations. 

Average salary: $46,670

Number of jobs in US: 99,500

Job outlook: 4% growth from 2021-2031

Education required: High school diploma or GED plus certification

6. Dialysis Technician

When people are in severe kidney failure, they sometimes need dialysis. A dialysis machine cleans the blood and returns it to the patient, removing toxins and electrolytes that the kidneys would normally take care of. A dialysis technician is responsible for monitoring this machine as well as the patient receiving dialysis. 

Average salary: $40,851

Number of jobs in US: 9,510

Job outlook: 11% growth from 2021-2031

Education required: High School Diploma or GED and certification

7. Dental Assistant

A dental assistant works alongside the dentist while they perform different procedures. Dental assistants will hold suction to help the dentist see, and hand the dentist their tools as they ask for them. They also have administrative duties like scheduling appointments and answering phone calls in the office. 

Average salary: $38,660 

Number of jobs in US: 358,600

Job outlook: 8% growth from 2021-2031

Education required: High School Diploma or GED and certification

8. Surgical Technician

A surgical technician helps the surgeon during surgery, assisting them by handing them tools, retracting skin for a better view, and suctioning blood out of the way. Surgical technicians are also responsible for making sure that the environment around the surgery stays completely sterile. They have to know the correct tools for each surgery and how to position the patient so the surgeon can do their job well. 

Average salary: $48,510 

Number of jobs in US: 128,700

Job outlook: 6% growth from 2021-2031

Education required: High school diploma or GED plus certification

9. Medical Records Specialists

People who love to work with data, are good with computers, and are detail-oriented make great medical records specialists. Medical records specialists go through patient medical records to audit for billing, look for errors, and ensure that everything has been charted accurately. 

Average salary: $46,600 

Number of jobs in US: 186,400

Job outlook: 7% growth from 2021-2031

Education required: High School Diploma or GED plus certificate

10. Housekeeping

Housekeeping staff are an underrecognized part of the healthcare team. They work in all kinds of healthcare facilities, keeping everything from hospital rooms to surgical suites clean and organized. 

Average salary: $29,760 

Number of jobs in US: 2,298,400

Job outlook: 4% from 2021-2031

Education required: On-the-job training

11. EKG Technician

EKG technicians work in hospitals, cardiac offices, and instacares. Their job is to attach special monitoring to patients and take a reading of the electrical activity of the heart. They must know how to correctly place all 12 monitoring cords on the patient in order to get an accurate picture of the heart. EKGs can diagnose heart attacks, abnormal heart rhythms, and some heart failure. 

Average salary: $55,760 

Number of jobs in US: 55,760

Job outlook: 2% from 2021-2031

Education required: High school diploma or GED required, certification preferred

12. Pharmacy Technician

A pharmacy technician helps to refill prescriptions at a pharmacy, counting pills and ensuring that everything stays organized. In a hospital, they make sure the medication cabinets are well-stocked and that emergency medications are always available. 

Average salary: $36,740 

Number of jobs in US: 447,300

Job outlook: 5% growth from 2021-2031

Education required: High school diploma or GED + certification

>> Read More: How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

13. Massage Therapist

Massage therapists work in spas and wellness centers. They help people feel better by massaging their sore or tight muscles. Massage therapists spend most of the day on their feet and rely heavily on tips from their customers. They can help people with everything from relaxing spa days to alleviating pain from injuries. 

Average salary: $46,910 

Number of jobs in US: 149,900

Job outlook: 20% growth from 2021-2031

Education required: High school diploma or GED plus certification

14. Dispensing Optician

Dispensing opticians work in optometry offices and help people get fitted for new glasses. They use measurements taken by the doctor to help make sure that lenses and frames are the correct size and prescription. 

Average salary: $37,570 

Number of jobs in US: 74,800

Job outlook: 4% growth from 2021-2031

Education required: High school diploma or GED required

15. Medical Transcriptionist

A medical transcriptionist listens to physician dictations and transcribes them to an electronic health record. Medical transcriptionists must be great with computers and have a good knowledge of medical terminology. Medical transcription is one of the only jobs with an expected decline in outlook. 

Average salary: $30,100 

Number of jobs in US: 59,600 

Job outlook: 7% decline from 2021-2031

Education required: High school diploma or GED required, certification preferred

Highest Paying Healthcare Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree

Here are the highest paying healthcare jobs that don't require a college degree:

  1. EKG Technician: $55,760 
  2. Surgical Technician: $48,510
  3. Massage Therapist: $46,910 
  4. Emergency Dispatch: $46,670
  5. Medical Records Specialist: $46,600 
  6. Dialysis Technician: $40,851
  7. Dental Assistant: $38,660 
  8. Dispensing Optician: $37,570 
  9. Phlebotomist: $37,380
  10. Medical Assistant: $37,190
  11. Pharmacy Technician: $36,740 
  12. Emergency Medical Technician: $35,470
  13. Certified Nursing Assistant: $30,290
  14. Medical Transcriptionist: $30,100 
  15. Housekeeping: $29,760 

Deciding Which Healthcare Job is Best for You

So now you know which healthcare jobs you can pursue without a degree, but how do you decide which is best for you?

The first step is to think about what interests you. 

Do you like greeting and helping out patients? Then a job as a medical assistant may be ideal.

Do you prefer working at a computer for most of the day? Then working as a medical records specialist may be right for you. 

Read through the job descriptions above and pick any that seem appealing to you then do some more research into them. You can look up what a typical “day in the life” is like, what hours they work, opportunities for advancement, and more.

You can also try talking to or even shadowing someone currently working in that profession to see if it is right for you. Doing online research can help, but seeing someone performing the job in person can help you decide if you’d like it.

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