The healthcare field is one of the biggest and fastest growing industries in the U.S. These careers are booming and, despite what you might think, you don’t have to be a medical doctor to get in on this. In fact, allied health jobs have much lower educational requirements than medicine—without sacrificing growth opportunities.
If you start off by making up for any lost time or holes in your high school science education and then move on to the technical requirements of your field, you’ll be in a good position to score your Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, as well as any relevant certification. It will take a little extra education and training, but if you can get in on the entry-level in an allied health care job, you’ll be in a good position to watch your career continue to grow.
Here are 10 of the top paying allied health jobs in the allied health care field. Pick your favorite and start working on getting in there on the ground floor.
Physician assistants make an average salary of over $84k per year. You’ll need some health related experience and a degree, and you can expect to do a great deal of continuing education and recertification throughout your career, but demand is very high. You’ll almost always be able to find work.
You’ll need at least a two-year degree from an accredited program to become a dental hygienist, and possibly even a Bachelor’s or Master, but the average salary is around $68k per year. It’s a great field for people who are detail oriented and patient.
Help people to eat healthily in this field, which is currently on the rise. You’ll need a Bachelor’s degree, plus some targeted training and licensure, but you can make a mean annual salary of over $57k per year, with a mean hourly wage of about $27.60.
Occupational therapy can be extremely rewarding. You work with disabled, elderly, and ill people and helping them to get through daily functions that would otherwise be prohibitively difficult. You’ll need a Master's, as well as a license (depending on your state), but the mean annual pay is about $80k.
Help improve quality of life for people who are injured or disabled. There’s lots of great technology to work with, plus the gratification of helping people. You’ll probably need a four-year science degree and a two-year Master’s, but you can expect to make just over $66.5k per year.
As a medical or clinical laboratory technician, you can expect to make nearly $56k per year. You’ll have to get a degree, plus study with a body like the NAACLS. There are lots of subspecialties to choose from, so make sure to check what the requirements would be for your preferred job and then start ticking them off.
Audiologists work with physicians to identify hearing problems and to help administer hearing devices to those in need. If you happen to have a music background, that degree could serve you well! There’s a trend towards requiring an MA or a PhD and licensing requirements for this growing career, but you can expect to make nearly $67k per year.
You’ll need formal training, including at least an Associate’s degree or a post-secondary certificate, but you can make a mean annual salary of over $68k—more if you’re working in a specialty hospital (over $75k) and most if you’re working in the top-paying state of California.
Nevada is the top-paying state for surgical technologists, with a mean annual salary of over $57k. The national mean is around $45k, though, so you’d be in a good position no matter where you started out. You’ll only need an Associate’s degree and a certificate of some kind to get started.
You’ll need a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, plus probably a Master’s or doctorate for this position. It's worth it, because you can help people and use your science skills and make over $68k per year.
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