5 In-Demand Healthcare Jobs that Don't Require a Degree

Healthcare Jobs that Dont Require a Degree

You’re interested in healthcare and know that it’s a promising field to pursue. But what if you’re just not quite ready to commit to a degree? It’s possible you see a degree in your future, but before you go down that path, you’d rather take the time to garner some experience and start earning an income while you continue down your career path.

Some industries don’t offer many career options for professionals without college degrees. But you’re in luck because the healthcare field isn’t one of them! Not only that, but many are projected to grow at above-average rates.

We identified five healthcare career paths that you can get started on without earning a degree—at least for the time being. Keep reading to get acquainted with these in-demand opportunities that will allow you to start making a difference while earning a paycheck.

5 Healthcare careers you can launch without a degree

You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that even without a degree, you can start on your path toward a rewarding healthcare career. We consulted the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to provide a brief breakdown of each of these opportunities.

1. Medical coder

Median annual salary (2014): $35,9001

Job outlook (2014 – 2024): 14% or higher (much faster than average)

Job description: Medical coders are kind of like the interpreters of the medical process. They review the notes and information that doctors record while assisting patients and assign codes that correlate to the types of services, supplies and procedures that a patient was given. These codes are directly correlated to the reimbursement that hospitals physicians receive, so accuracy is of the utmost importance.

In addition to reimbursement, the work of medical coders is important in maintaining protection of confidential medical records, adhering to compliance regulations and more. Coding is detail-oriented work, and the codes 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 coders to obtain certification, but that’s not the only reason to pursue a certificate in the field. Certified medical coders earn 21 percent more than those without certification, according to the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). You can earn your certificate in medical billing and coding in as few as nine months.2

2. Medical administrative assistant

Median annual salary (2014): $32,2401

Job outlook (2014 – 2024): 14% or higher (much faster than average)

Job description: Medical administrative assistants 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 services skills, this is a great entry-level position for you.

Education requirements: Though there are no formal requirements, employers prefer that medical administrative assistants are at least certified. You can acquire a medical administrative assistant certificate in as little as 9 months.2

3. Pharmacy technician

Median annual salary (2014): $29,8101

Job outlook (2014 – 2024): 9 – 13% (faster than average)

Job description: A pharmacy technician works directly under a pharmacist in performing a variety of tasks. Their responsibilities include helping to fill prescriptions, recording information to fill prescriptions both in person and over the phone, 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 requirements: Many states require that pharmacy technicians complete a certification program. Many pharmacy technician certificate programs can be complete in as few as nine months.2

4. Medical assistant

Median annual salary (2014): $29,9601

Job outlook (2014 – 2024): 14% or higher (much faster than average)

Job description: Medical assistants work on the clinical side to support physicians and provide basic care for patients. They might work taking a patient’s vital signs, helping a physician with examinations, administering injections or preparing a blood sample for lab work. If you want the hands-on clinical experience without the four-year 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 you can leverage in the future.

Education requirements: Although there are no formal requirements, most employers prefer to hire individuals who have been certified. Most medical assistants will also undergo on-the-job training. Earning a medical assisting diploma from an accredited program is a great option and can be completed in as little as 12 months.2

5. Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

Median annual salary (2014): $42,4901

Job outlook (2014 – 2024): 14% or higher (much faster than average)

Job description: Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work under both registered nurses and physicians to provide basic 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.2

Ready to get your foot in the door of the healthcare field?

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 options from which to choose.

Whether you decide to pursue a degree or go a different route, check out these other in-demand options: 11 entry-level healthcare jobs that employers are eager to fill. 

1Salary 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.


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This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Rasmussen College 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 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. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation.

Megan is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. She hopes to engage and intrigue current and potential students.

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