11 Entry-Level Healthcare Jobs Employers Want to Fill NOW

Healthcare has become one of the fastest growing industries in the nation, thanks to advancing medical technology and the aging baby-boomer population. You don’t need this article to tell you about the opportunities in the field—you know the opportunity is out there!

But we’ve all heard the horror stories of friends and family who have worked hard to earn a degree, only to be left with limited experience and technical know-how in the job interview. But when it comes to healthcare, getting a degree seems to be a relatively safe step.

Not only is the field booming, but we’ve found several healthcare positions that require very little previous field experience—making the transition from undergrad student to healthcare professional a fairly smooth one.

See for yourself. We used real-time market intelligence from Burning-Glass.com to identify the top 11 entry-level healthcare jobs. You might be surprised at the professional, well-paying positions you can land with a little education and 1-2 years of field experience. 

Top 11 Entry Level Healthcare Jobs

1. Registered nurse

  • Experience needed: supervised clinical experience as part of academic program
  • Median annual wage: $65,470*
  • Education: associate or bachelor’s degree; nursing license
  • Job growth: 19 percent

Registered nurses (RN) work closely with the patient and their families, providing emotional support and coordinating the appropriate care for their patients. RNs can work anywhere from a hospital, to a school, to nursing care facility, depending on how they choose to differentiate. Though the level of education needed varies, more and more RNs are choosing to go after bachelor’s degrees because of the greater job opportunities and potential for higher pay.

2. Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

  • Experience needed: supervised clinical experience as part of ed. Program
  • Median annual wage: $41,500
  • Education: 12-month practical nursing program; pass NCLEX-PN
  • Job growth: 25 percent 

LPNs, sometimes called vocational nurses, work in a variety of settings including nursing homes, clinics and even private residences. They provide the basic nursing care a patient needs as directed by doctors and registered nurses.

3. Medical & health service manager

  • Experience needed: some admin and/or nursing experience helpful
  • Median annual wage: $88,580
  • Education: bachelor’s degree; master’s degrees in health services, long-term care or public administration are also common
  • Job growth: 23 percent

Medical and health service managers are often called healthcare administrators or executives. They may manage a portion of a clinic or an entire facility and have the responsibility of keeping their facility or wing running smoothly. Like managers in many fields, these are people often overseeing staff, managing finances and staying informed about new laws and regulations. 

4. Certified nursing assistant (CNA)

  • Average years experience needed: on-the-job training
  • Median annual wage: $24,400
  • Education: state-approved education program
  • Job growth: 21 percent 

CNAs are sometimes referred to as “orderlies” and they often work in nursing homes or hospitals to provide basic care to elderly and highly-dependant individuals. Nursing assistants dress and bathe patients, serve them meals, check vital signs and, sometimes, dispense medications. CNAs commonly have the most contact with their patients out of the entire health-care staff; in many cases, they become the primary caregiver of their patients.

5. Medical assistant

  • Experience needed: on-the-job training
  • Median annual wage: $29,370
  • Education: associate degree
  • Job growth: 29 percent

Medical assistants generally complete the administrative tasks needed to keep a physician’s clinic, chiropractic office or other healthcare facility running well. A medical assistant may be in charge of answering phones and scheduling appointments and even helping with minor medical tasks such as taking a patients’ temperature or blood pressure.

6. Physical therapist (PT)

  • Experience needed: clinical internship; possible 1-year residency
  • Median annual wage: $79,860
  • Education: doctorate or professional degree
  • Job growth: 36 percent

PTs work with their patients often times directly after an injury. PTs help these individuals learn to manage their pain by coaching them through exercises and stretches to help them achieve improved mobility. As our nation ages with the baby boomers, the need for physical therapy is truly skyrocketing.

7. Intensive care unit registered nurse (ICU RN)

  • Experience needed: supervised clinical experience as part of academic program
  • Median annual wage: $65,470
  • Education: bachelor’s degree preferred
  • Job growth: 19 percent

An ICU RN is a registered nurse that works closely with those in critical or life-threatening situations. Like an RN, they provide direct assistance and care to their patients, often working long hours in challenging scenarios. ICU nurses often choose the career for the rewards that come with working directly to help save lives.

8. Medical secretary

  • Experience needed: on-the-job training
  • Median annual wage: $31,350
  • Education: high school diploma; enhanced knowledge of medical technology and terminology preferred
  • Job growth: around 12 percent

Medical secretaries range from the person answering the phone to schedule your appointment, to the person greeting you when you walk in your clinic’s doors to the people who work diligently behind the scenes to ensure medical records and insurance information is up-to-date. Wherever healthcare is, medical secretaries are there. They can be found in virtually any clinic or hospital setting and as the demand for healthcare is predicted to increase, so will the need for medical secretaries.

9. Patient Service Representative

  • Experience needed: on-the-job training
  • Average annual wage: $42,529
  • Education: high school diploma, many employers seeking candidates with bachelors degree
  • Job growth: 18-32  percent

Patient service representatives are similar to service reps in other industries, in that they work directly to field any concerns or needs of the patient. Reps are often the first people welcoming patients to a new medical procedure and often act as the go-between for patients and medical staff. Reps may field complaints, track-down medical records and explain procedures. Though responsibilities differ based on the need of a rep’s organization, most commonly reps will be working to ensure their patient is as comfortable as possible throughout the medical procedure.

10. Occupational therapist (OT)

  • Experience needed: some work/volunteering in OT setting
  • Median annual wage: $75,400
  • Education: MS in occupational therapy
  • Job growth: 29 percent

OTs are similar to physical therapists in that they are working to rehabilitate their patient. However, OTs focus on everyday activities, such as eating, brushing teeth or tying shoes.  They work to enable patient recovery and improve common life-skills. They also evaluate environment changes—at home, work or school—patients might need in order to succeed.

11. Medical records & health information technicians

  • Experience needed: related medical courses help
  • Median annual wage: $34,160
  • Education: postsecondary certificate or associate degree; many employers also require professional certification
  • Job growth: 22 percent

Though the title is a mouth full, the position itself is pretty straightforward. These people are in charge of documenting, classifying and tracking patients’ health information to ensure accuracy and quality. Though techs do not work directly with patients, they often work with RNs and other healthcare professionals to gather additional information and ensure accuracy for patient documentation. 

The bottom line

If you feel empowered after learning about these 11 entry-level healthcare careers, it might be time to text the next step. Look into Rasmussen College's health sciences degree page and get a feel for which programs are the best fit for your personal and professional goals.

Maybe after reading this you’ve discovered you’re not the healthcare type; that’s just fine! But you probably know someone who is. Help empower them to take the next step by sharing this article to encourage and inform them about their field of interest.

 

*BLS salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

External links provided on Rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Megan is a freelance writer for Collegis Education who researches and writes content for Rasmussen College designed to engage and intrigue current and potential students.

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