7 In-Demand Healthcare Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree

illustration of various healthcare workers representing healthcare jobs that don't require a degree 

If you’re interested in working in healthcare, but aren’t quite ready to commit to a degree, you’re not out of luck. While many fields offer few solid career options for professionals without college degrees, healthcare isn’t one of them. There are many opportunities to land medical jobs without a degree, and many of these positions are seeing employment growth projected at faster-than-average rates.

We identified seven healthcare career paths that you can get started on without earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Keep reading to get acquainted with these in-demand opportunities that to start making a meaningful difference while earning a paycheck.

7 Rewarding healthcare jobs you can launch without a degree

You’ll be happy to hear you can pursue both clinic and hospital jobs without a degree. That means you can start on your path toward a rewarding career in healthcare relatively quickly.

1. Medical records specialists

Median annual salary (2020): $44,0901

Projected employment growth (2020–2030): 9 percent1

Job description: Medical records specialists function as a kind of interpreter of the medical process. They review the notes and information that doctors record and assign codes that correlate to the types of services, supplies and procedures that a patient was given. Accurate recording of specific codes and other information is correlated to the reimbursement that hospital physicians receive—so accuracy is of the utmost importance.

In addition to reimbursement, the work of medical records specialists is important in maintaining protection of confidential medical records, adhering to compliance regulations and more. Medical records work is detail-oriented, as the codes and policies are constantly changing. If you have a keen eye for detail and like the idea of working behind the scenes, this career is a great starting point.

Education requirements: Many employers require medical records specialists—particularly those involved in medical coding—to obtain certification. At Rasmussen University, you can complete a Medical Billing and Coding Certificate program in as few as nine months.2 This program will help prepare you to pursue the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Certified Coding Associate (CCA)® credential or, with industry experience, the AHIMA Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)® credential.

2. Medical administrative assistant

Median annual salary (2020): $37,3501

Projected employment growth (2020–2030): 10-15 percent1

Job description: Medical administrative assistants (sometimes called medical secretaries) work in a variety of medical settings to perform basic administrative tasks. Their daily duties include answering the phone, collecting patient information, scheduling appointments and greeting patients when they arrive in the waiting room. If you’re an organized person who can handle a variety of tasks and is well-versed in customer service skills, this is a great entry-level position for you.

Education requirements: Though there are no formal requirements, employers may prefer candidates with experience or specialized training. At Rasmussen University, you can acquire a Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate in as few as nine months.2

3. Phlebotomist

Median annual salary (2020): $36,3201

Projected employment growth (2020-2030): 22 percent1

Job description:Phlebotomists, sometimes called lab technicians, draw blood from patients in clinics, hospitals, blood donation centers, transfusion sites and research facilities. Their daily duties include verifying and updating patient information, organizing instruments and disposing of contaminated sharps and other biohazardous material. If you can handle the sight of blood, have a compassionate nature and a talent for precision, this role is a good fit.

Education requirements: Most phlebotomist roles require only a high school diploma, and many can be trained on the job.

4. Pharmacy technician

Median annual salary (2020): $35,1001

Projected employment growth (2020–2030): 4 percent1

Job description: pharmacy technician works directly under the supervision of a pharmacist in performing a variety of tasks. Their responsibilities include helping to fill prescriptions, recording information, organizing inventory, accepting payment, processing insurance and more. Whether you’ve considered becoming a pharmacist in the future or you’re just eager to take the fast track to a hands-on career, this could be a great way to kick things off.

Education requirementsMany states require that pharmacy technicians complete a certification program. A Pharmacy Technician Certificate program at Rasmussen University can be completed in as few as nine months.2

5. Medical assistant

Median annual salary (2020): $35,8501

Projected employment growth (2020–2030): 18 percent1

Job description: Medical assistants work on the clinical side to support physicians and provide basic care for patients. They might take a patient’s vital signs, help a physician with examinations, administer injections or prepare a blood sample for lab work. If you want hands-on clinical experience without spending years earning a degree, this is the position for you. This is also a great entry-level healthcare career if you’re hoping to gain some clinical experience to leverage in the future.

Education requirements: Although there are no formal requirements, many employers prefer to hire individuals who have been certified or registered. Most medical assistants will also undergo on-the-job training. Earning a Medical Assisting Diploma is a great option and can be completed in as few as 12 months.2

6. Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

Median annual salary (2020): $48,8201

Projected employment growth (2020–2030): 9 percent1

Job description: Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work under both registered nurses and physicians to provide nursing care. Their duties may include changing bandages, checking blood pressure and helping patients perform a variety of self-care tasks like bathing or dressing. The work will vary depending on the setting and state.

If you’re considering a career in nursing but aren’t ready to commit to a higher degree, becoming an LPN is the way to go. You can always advance your education down the line.

Education requirements: LPNs must earn a Practical Nursing Diploma from an accredited program. These programs typically take about a year to complete and combine classroom and supervised clinical experience.

7. Nursing assistant

Median annual salary (2020): $30,8301

Projected employment growth (2020-2030): 8 percent1

Job description: Nursing assistants provide basic daily care for patients. Common tasks include assisting patients with eating, bathing and dressing as well as taking vital signs and reporting new information to nursing staff. This is a physical job that often involves moving patients, from bed to wheelchair for example, as well as transporting them to different spaces in the facility for meals or treatments. Often employed in long-term care units, nursing assistants also clean and restock supplies in their assigned areas. Because they work with the same patients day after day, many nursing assistants establish close connections with the people they care for. If you’re a compassionate person who can do physical work and is motivated to help others, becoming a nursing assistant is a solid place to begin a healthcare career.

Education requirements: Most nursing assistant positions only require a high school diploma, and many facilities provide on-the-job training.

Get started on your healthcare career path

You may be pleasantly surprised at the number of healthcare jobs that don’t require a degree. With so many growing opportunities in the field, there are plenty of career paths to choose from.

Still not settled on what’s the best fit for you? Our article “5 Jobs Similar to Nursing You Shouldn’t Overlook” highlights several hands-on options for getting involved in patient care.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [accessed December 2021] www.bls.gov/oes/. Salary data represents national averaged earnings for the occupations listed. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.
2Completion time is dependent on transfer credits accepted and courses completed each term.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in February 2016. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2022.

Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) and Certified Coding Associate (CCA) are registered trademarks of American Health Information Management Association non-profit corporation.

About the author

Carrie Mesrobian

Carrie is a freelance copywriter at Collegis Education. She researches and writes articles, on behalf of Rasmussen University, to help empower students to achieve their career dreams through higher education.

Carrie Mesrobian

Related Content

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen University 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. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors-masters 0 Credits90 Credits180 Credits48 CreditsStart HereHIGH SCHOOL GRADSStart HereTRANSFER STUDENTSStart HereSECOND DEGREE PURSUERSEnd HereASSOCIATE'S DEGREEStart HereMASTER'S DEGREEPURSUERSEnd HereBACHELOR'S DEGREEEnd HereMASTER'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors 0 CreditsStart HereHIGH SCHOOL GRADSStart HereTRANSFER STUDENTS90 CreditsStart HereSECOND DEGREE PURSUERSEnd HereASSOCIATE'S DEGREE180 CreditsEnd HereBACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-msn chart-credential-laddering-nursing-programs chart-credential-laddering-nursing DNPMSNRN to BSNLPN to RN BridgeAccelerated BSNProfessional Nursing ADNPractical Nursing DiplomaPre-LicensurePost-Licensure icon-colored-outline-bank icon-colored-outline-certificate icon-colored-outline-circle-dollar-sign icon-colored-outline-folder-search icon-colored-outline-hand-heart icon-colored-outline-head-blocks icon-colored-outline-head-cog icon-colored-outline-head-heart icon-colored-outline-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-outline-hospital icon-colored-outline-lifelong-learning icon-colored-outline-light-bulb-analytics icon-colored-outline-location-pin icon-colored-outline-maginify-glass icon-colored-outline-magnifying-glass icon-colored-outline-monitor-healthcare icon-colored-outline-monitor-paper-search icon-colored-outline-nurse-rays icon-colored-outline-padlock-shield icon-colored-outline-person-presenter-screen icon-colored-outline-scales icon-colored-advance icon-colored-arrows-cross-curve icon-colored-briefcase-star icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-development icon-colored-duo-chatbox icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-forward-ribbon icon-colored-gears-clock icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-hand-bubble icon-colored-hand-stars icon-colored-hands-gear icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-head-cog icon-colored-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-hospital-building icon-colored-laptop-cbe-skyscraper icon-colored-laptop-checkmark icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-location-map icon-colored-location-pin icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-mortarboard-dollar icon-colored-national icon-colored-people-chat-bubbles icon-colored-person-cheer-star icon-colored-person-laptop-checkboxes icon-colored-person-screen-instructor icon-colored-person-whiteboard icon-colored-phone-chatbox icon-colored-police-light icon-colored-prep icon-colored-presenter icon-colored-regional icon-colored-save-time icon-colored-shirt-hat icon-colored-skyscraper icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-triangle-arrow-up-plant icon-triangle-calendar-pencil icon-triangle-clock-rotating-arrows icon-triangle-display-gears icon-triangle-hand-right-speech-bubble icon-triangle-laptop-coding-brackets icon-triangle-mortarboard icon-triangle-paper-ribbon icon-triangle-person-cheer-star icon-triangle-person-juggle icon-triangle-triple-people-chat-bubble icon-arrow icon-bank icon-camera icon-filter icon-general-chart icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-hat icon-general-heart icon-general-laptop-building icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-money icon-general-paperwork icon-general-people icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-head-heart icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-mglass icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-scales icon-share-square-o icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-spinner icon-tag icon-testimonial-quotes icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-circle-arrow-down icon-util-circle-dot icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-button icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-button icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x rebrand-arrows icon-modality-campus icon-modality-field icon-modality-online icon-modality-residential icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked