List of Healthcare Jobs You Can Launch in Two Years or Less

Healthcare is a broad field with a lot of opportunity. There are few industries in which a person can work such varied and unique jobs, all under the umbrella of the “healthcare industry.”  With options ranging from medical assistant to chief surgeon, it can be a challenge just finding a place to start. If you’re heading back to school after years away from it or you’re switching careers, maybe your biggest concern is just getting a certification and getting your foot in the door.           

What would you say to a list of healthcare jobs that are part of a growing industry and you can get in the door in two years or less?? In an economy that still reflects the remnants of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression, a growing industry is a breath of fresh air.

We used real-time jobs analysis website BurningGlass.com to identify over 400,000 healthcare-related job openings over the past 12 months.* This list offers a snapshot of 11 healthcare careers boasting the highest number of job openings and what you need to know about each one.

SOHS Top Jobs

1.     Registered nurse

Projected growth (2010-2020): 20-28 percent

Education: associate degree

Median annual wage: $65,470

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

Just one of the many reasons to pursue a career as a registered nurse is that it’s the fastest growing healthcare career in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 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 (2010-2020): 20-28 percent

Education: diploma / certificate

Median annual wage: $24,420

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

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 (2010-2020): 29+ percent

Education: diploma / certificate

Median annual wage: $31,350

Top skills: administrative support, scheduling, appointment setting

Don’t expect medical secretaries to just punch away at a typewriter and fill coffee mugs; actually they 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 (2010-2020): 29+ percent

Education: diploma / certificate

Median annual wage: $29,370

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 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.     Medical records or health information technician (HIT)

Projected growth (2010-2020): 20-28 percent

Education: diploma / certificate

Median annual wage: $34,160

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

Experts able to process medical information and manage records will be paramount as baby-boomers age and the number of new patients increases. Additionally, as the industry makes the switch in 2014 to the new category of coding called ICD-10, up-to-date training can set you apart from the crowd.

6.     Critical care nurse

Projected growth (2010-2020): 20-28 percent

Education: associate degree

Median annual wage: $65,470

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

Critical care nurses form a specialized sect of registered nurses which work in the fast-paced environment of critical and coronary care units. With similar salary expectations to general registered nurses, 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, all other

Projected growth (2010-2020): 20-28 percent

Education: associate degree

Median annual wage: $40,700

Top skills: patient care, electrocardiogram (EKG), repair medical equipment

The “other” 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 be one of the successful ones, it’s important for you to find the resources to help you stand out.

8.     Pharmacy technician

Projected growth (2010-2020): 29+ percent

Education: diploma / certificate

Median annual wage: $29,320

Top skills: pharmacy assistance, Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), 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 significantly above average by 2020.

9.     Medical or clinical laboratory technician

Projected growth (2010-2020): 10-19 percent

Education: associate degree

Median annual wage: $37,240

Top skills: chemistry, phlebotomy, laboratory testing

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.   Phlebotomist

Projected growth (2010-2020): 10-19 percent

Education: diploma / certificate

Median annual wage: $29,730

Top skills: phlebotomy, venipuncture, specimen collection

Not afraid of a little blood? Phlebotomists are carefully trained to draw blood and collect samples from patients and they’re one of the options that do not require a two-year degree.

11.   Surgical technologist

Projected growth (2010-2020): 10-19 percent

Education: diploma / certificate

Median annual wage: $41,790

Top skills: surgical technology, patient care, aseptic technique

Surgical technologists have the highest average salary of positions in this list which don’t require an associate degree. In addition to prepping the operating room for surgery, their days often include assisting on the front lines of the action.

Next Steps

If you’ve decided that you are interested in a career in healthcare but are still looking to refine your field of study, it is easy to understand if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices in front of you. Hopefully this list will help you identify if any of the careers that are in demand right now are right for you.

To learn more about the program offerings at Rasmussen College, check out our School of Health Sciences and School of Nursing.

*Source: BurningGlass.com (analysis of healthcare-related job openings, 8/10/12 to 8/09/13)   

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.

As an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Rasmussen College, Katy researches and writes student-focused articles in areas of the nursing and health sciences. She enjoys writing engaging content to help future, current, and former students on their path to a rewarding education.

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