11 Entry-Level Healthcare Jobs Employers Want to Fill NOW

Photo of a group of healthcare professionals with two to-be-filled silhouettes among them.

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing occupation groups in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Much of this bright outlook is thanks to advancing medical technology, increased life expectancy and the aging baby boomer population. In fact, the BLS projects that one-third of all new jobs through 2026 will be in the healthcare field.1

You don’t need this article to tell you—you know the opportunity is out there!

Not only is there vast number of jobs, but there’s also a vast variety of accessible entry-level opportunities—which makes the transition from student to healthcare professional a fairly smooth one. Whether you’re looking for a role to build experience in the field or positions you can build an entire career around, you can rest assured that there are plenty of entry-level jobs in the medical field for hopefuls like yourself.

But don’t just take our word for it—let the numbers speak for themselves. To help you get a sense of what’s out there, we scoured job postings to round up the top 11 entry-level healthcare jobs employers are looking to fill. Keep reading to see for yourself. You might be surprised at the prestigious positions in this list of healthcare careers that are available for qualified candidates who are new to the scene.

Top 11 entry-level healthcare job openings

We used real-time job market analysis software to examine more than a million entry-level healthcare jobs posted over the past year.2 The data helped us identify the top positions for candidates with two years or fewer of experience. Take a look at these entry-level medical jobs to see what we found:

1. Registered nurse

  • Median annual wage (2017): $70,0001
  • Education needed: Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree; nursing license
  • Entry-level job postings: 652,3052
  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 15% (much faster than average)1

Registered nurses (RN) work closely with the patient and their families, providing emotional support and coordinating the appropriate care for their patients. RNs work practically anywhere someone could receive medical treatment—hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and even schools all have a place for registered nurses.

Though the level of education needed varies, some RNs choose to pursue Bachelor’s degrees because of the greater job opportunities and career growth. With the top spot on our list, you can see there are plenty of entry-level nurse jobs available in the market. And while the 2017 median salary of $70,000 doesn’t reflect entry-level earnings in most cases, it does show that nursing can certainly be a medical job that pays well.

2. Critical care nurse

  • Median annual wage (2017): $70,0001
  • Education needed: Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree; nursing license
  • Entry-level job postings: 111,0352
  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 15% (much faster than average)1

Sometimes called ICU staff RNs, critical care nurses are registered nurses who work 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.

As you can see, there are plenty of entry-level nurse jobs available to those seeking to become a critical care RN. With flexible scheduling, the satisfaction of saving lives and a healthy earning potential, there’s no denying that nursing is a good job in the medical field.

3. Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

  • Median annual wage (2017): $45,0301
  • Education needed: 12-month Practical Nursing program; nursing license
  • Entry-level job postings: 73,2282
  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 12% (much faster than average)1

Another good job in the medical field is that of a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Sometimes called vocational nurses, these nursing professionals 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. This is an appealing entry-level healthcare job as it has a relatively low barrier to entry. No degree is needed to become an LPN—a Diploma is all you’ll need to qualify for licensure.

4. Certified nursing assistant (CNA)

  • Median annual wage (2017): $27,5101
  • Education needed: State-approved education program
  • Entry-level job postings: 59,4862
  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 11% (faster than average)1

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

5. Medical assistant

  • Median annual wage (2017): $32,4801
  • Education needed: Post-secondary program Certificate preferred
  • Entry-level job postings: 44,4602
  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 29% (much faster than average)1

Medical assistants generally complete the administrative and clinical 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, scheduling appointments and even helping with minor medical tasks such as measuring a patients’ blood pressure or administering immunization shots. And with much faster than average growth projected in the coming years, this entry-level healthcare job features a sunny outlook.

6. Patient service representative

  • Median annual wage (2017): $32,8901
  • Education needed: High school diploma; many employers require degree or certification
  • Entry-level job postings: 34,4472
  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 5–9% (average rate of growth)1

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. These reps are often the first people introducing a patient to a new medical procedure and often act as the go-between for patients and medical staff. They may field complaints, track down medical records and explain procedures.

7. Medical secretary

  • Median annual wage (2017): $34,6101
  • Education needed: High school diploma or Certificate
  • Entry-level job postings: 29,6952
  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 15% (much faster than average)1

Medical secretaries’ duties range from answering the phones and scheduling appointments to welcoming patients and working diligently behind the scenes to ensure medical records and insurance information is up to date. Also called medical administrative assistants, these critical healthcare professionals keep facilities running smoothly and are the first impression a patient has once they walk through the front door. Wherever healthcare is, medical secretaries are there as well, which is a big part of why this entry-level healthcare career is growing at a much faster than average rate.

8. Health information technician

  • Median annual wage (2017): $39,1801
  • Education: Postsecondary Certificate or Associate’s degree; many employers also require professional certification
  • Entry-level job postings: 29,6902
  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 13% (faster than average)1

Health information technology (HIT) professionals are in charge of documenting, classifying and tracking patients’ health information to ensure accuracy and quality. Though HIT professionals do not work directly with patients, they often work with RNs and other healthcare personnel to gather additional information and ensure accuracy for patient documentation.

9. Medical laboratory technician

  • Median annual wage (2017): $51,7701
  • Education needed: Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree; some states require licensure
  • Entry-level job postings: 26,5772
  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 13% (faster than average)1

Medical lab techs analyze and test bodily fluids, such as blood, urine and tissue samples. They also operate lab equipment, perform tests, log data and discuss test findings with physicians. Sometimes lab techs will be the ones to take the fluid or tissue sample themselves. They generally perform more routine tests and work under the general supervision of a medical laboratory technologist. And as you can see from the faster-than-average projected growth in employment, medical lab techs should have favorable conditions for finding entry-level lab jobs.

10. Pharmacy technician

  • Median annual wage (2017): $31,7501
  • Education needed: High school diploma; many employers require certification
  • Entry-level job postings: 26,1882
  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 12% (faster than average)1

Pharmacy techs collect information from health professionals to fill prescriptions, measure amounts of medication, package and label prescriptions, process payment for medications and work with customers. Pharmacy techs typically don’t answer medication questions and will redirect patients to the pharmacist for additional information. They generally work under the supervision of pharmacists and may work in hospitals, other medical facilities or drugstores.

11. Home health aide

  • Median annual wage: $23,1301
  • Education needed: High school diploma; formal training and certification
  • Entry-level job postings: 13,5172
  • Projected employment growth (2016–2026): 41% (much faster than average)1

Home health aides typically assist clients in their own residences with daily personal tasks, such as bathing or dressing. They may provide basic health-related services, such as giving medication or checking vital signs. Occasionally, they may help with general household work like laundry and cleaning. They also help clients organize their schedule, drive them to medical appointments and assist them in shopping for groceries.

They tend to work under the direct supervision of nurses or other medical professionals. This entry-level health care job has many openings, as it’s currently the third fastest growing occupation in the U.S., according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1

Is an entry-level healthcare job in your future?

The world needs people like you who are willing to take the leap and enter the exciting healthcare industry. You know you have plenty of options for career paths, and even more encouraging is the sheer amount of opportunity in healthcare—one of the fastest growing fields today. Entry-level healthcare jobs are waiting. Will you step up to fill the demand?

If one of these 11 healthcare careers sound like a good fit for you, request more information to hear more from a Rasmussen University Admissions Advisor.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career information accessed June 25, 2018]www.bls.gov/ooh/. 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.
2Burning-Glass.com (Analysis of 1,097,628 entry-level healthcare jobs, Jul. 01, 2017 – Jun. 31, 2018).
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published July 2014. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2018.

About the author

Kristina Ericksen

Kristina is a Digital Writer at Collegis Education where she creates informative content on behalf of Rasmussen University. She is passionate about the power of education and enjoys connecting students to bright futures


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