The Ultimate List of Healthcare Jobs You Can Launch in 2 Years or Less

list of healthcare jobs two years

Healthcare is a broad field with a lot of opportunities. There are few industries in which a person can work such varied jobs all in the same line of work. With options ranging from medical assistant to chief surgeon, it can be a challenge just finding a place to start.

Whether you’re heading to school for the first time or you’re taking the leap and switching careers, you’re probably looking for an option that can get you in the field quickly.

We used real-time jobs analysis software to identify more than one million healthcare-related jobs posted over the past 12 months.* This list of healthcare jobs offers a snapshot of 11 in-demand careers that will allow you to start getting paid to make a difference in just two years or less. See which careers appeal to you!

11 healthcare jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree

1. Registered nurse

Projected growth (2012-2022): 15-21%

Education: Associate's degree

Median annual wage: $66,640**

Top skills: patient care, treatment planning, advanced cardiac life support (ACLS)

Just one of the many reasons to pursue a career as a registered nurse is that you’ll be on the frontline of care! There are many options for nurses with associate degrees and the career offers a variety of specialties and career paths. Don’t let the tests and assessments scare you off, there are plenty of resources to help you pass that pesky NCLEX exam.

2. Nursing assistant

Projected growth (2012-2022): 15-21%

Education: Diploma or certificate

Median annual wage: $25,100

Top skills: Patient care, vital signs measurement, patient bathing

Nursing assistants work under the supervision of the nursing staff to care for patients in a variety of settings. This is a swifter option to obtaining a career in the nursing field but doesn’t come with quite as much of a salary punch.

3. Medical secretary

Projected growth (2012-2022): 22% or higher

Education: Medical administrative assistant certificate

Median annual wage: $32,240

Top skills: Administrative support, scheduling, appointment setting

Don’t expect medical secretaries to just punch away at a typewriter and fill coffee mugs. They actually provide medical-specific administrative support including communicating with patients and managing medical charts. This job sector is expected to have sky-high growth over the next decade.

4. Medical assistant

Projected growth (2012-2022): 22% or higher

Education: Medical assisting diploma

Median annual wage: $29,960

Top skills: Patient care, vital signs measurement, medical assistance

Medical assistants may be confused with medical secretaries due to their shared responsibility for medical-related administrative duties. Their work often extends beyond the administrative realm, to include patient care duties such as drawing blood or administering medication. The added responsibilities can make it even more helpful for them to have medical-specific training.

5. Health information technician (HIT)

Projected growth (2012-2022): 22% or higher

Education: Health Information Technician Associate's degree

Median annual wage: $35,900

Top skills: Medical coding, health information technology, ICD-9-CM coding

HIT professionals and medical coders who can process medical information and manage records will be paramount as baby-boomers age and the number of new patients increases. The healthcare industry’s transition into ICD-10 means that demand for medical coding and managing patient records will greatly increase.

6. Critical care nurse

Projected growth (2012-2022): 15-21%

Education: Associate degree

Median annual wage: $66,640

Top skills: Patient care, critical care, advanced cardiac life support (ACLS)

Critical care nurses form a specialized sector of registered nursing which works in the fast-paced environment of critical and coronary care units. With similar salary expectations to general RNs it may be more of a question of skills or preference when deciding if the job is the right fit for you.

7. Health technologist or technician

Projected growth (2012-2022): 22% or higher

Education: Associate degree

Median annual wage: $41,420

Top skills: Patient care, repair medical equipment, vital signs measurement

This category of health technologists includes a handful of specializations, such as neurodiagnostics and radiology, which are not designated on their own by the BLS. As these cutting-edge skills become commonplace, more students will be drawn to these growing fields, so if you want to make an impression, it’s important for you to find the resources to help you stand out.

8. Pharmacy technician

Projected growth (2012-2022): 29% or higher

Education: Pharmacy technician certificate

Median annual wage: $29,810

Top skills: Pharmacy assistance, data entry, prescription filling

Pharmacy technicians perform a variety of tasks to support pharmacists with disbursement of medications to prescription holders including taking orders from customers and counting out medication. This is one of the jobs in healthcare which is projected to grow much faster than average in the coming years.

9. Medical or clinical laboratory technician

Projected growth (2012-2022): 22% or higher

Education: Medical laboratory technician Associate degree

Median annual wage: $38,370

Top skills: Chemistry, laboratory testing, phlebotomy

Medical laboratory technicians assist with the analysis and diagnosis of patients from mostly behind-the-scenes in the lab setting. They have the distinct privilege of performing daily science experiments like the ones you did in your chemistry labs.  In fact, there is a lot to love about a career as a med lab tech.

10. Radiologic technologist

Projected growth (2012-2022): 21%

Education: Radiologic technologist Associate degree

Median annual wage: $55,870

Top skills: Radiology, x-rays, patient care

Radiologic technologists work with physicians to perform diagnostic imaging examinations on patients. They work directly with patients to conduct x-rays or CAT scans and use many types of medical machinery to obtain imagery.

11. Surgical technologist

Projected growth (2012-2022): 22% or higher

Education: Associate degree

Median annual wage: $43,350

Top skills: Surgery, patient care, surgical technology

Surgical technologists perform a crucial role as a part of the surgical team. In addition to prepping the operating room for surgery, their their days often include assisting on the front lines of the action. Plus, the projected demand for surgical technologists over the next decade is quite impressive.

Next steps

It’s clear that pursuing a career in healthcare doesn’t have to equate to spending several years in school. You have a lot of options to get started in two years or less. All of the different choices can make it overwhelming, but the variety of options also means you’re bound to find a position that’s the perfect fit for you!

Did any of the careers in this list of healthcare jobs catch your eye? Learn more about the program offerings at Rasmussen College and check out the School of Health Sciences and School of Nursing degree pages to explore the options available to you!

*Source: (analysis of 1,601,985 healthcare job opening, August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015.)

**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 and employment conditions in your area may vary.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on August 22, 2013. It has since been updated to reflect information relevant to 2015.


External links provided on 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.

Kristina is a Content Marketing Specialist at Collegis Education who researches and writes content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She hopes her content helps enlighten and engage students through all stages of their education journeys.

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