Jobs Similar to Nursing: 5 Other Healthcare Occupations to Consider

hospital scene showing various healthcare professionals

Nursing is one of the most recognizable roles within healthcare. They’re often the professionals patients interact with the most during visits to clinics or other healthcare facilities. While it’s true becoming a nurse might be an appealing option for many, that doesn’t mean you should have tunnel vision when it comes to a healthcare career—particularly if nursing just isn’t in the cards for you.

There are many other positions with a similar employment growth, versatility, and personal impact within healthcare. While these positions may not appear in quite as many medical dramas, they are often just as critical to providing patients and communities with medical care.

If you are interested in a career similar to nursing, take a moment to think outside of the box and explore your options in healthcare. To help with that, we’ve compiled information about several options that could be a fit for you.

5 Non-nursing healthcare careers to consider

Healthcare is a rewarding and fast-growing field. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 14 percent from 2018 to 2028.1 This projected rate of growth is much faster than the average for all occupations, with about 1.9 million new jobs projected to be added.1 If you’re looking to take advantage of that projected growth in employment, you may want to broaden your horizons with one of these jobs similar to nursing.

1. Medical assistant

  • 2018 Median annual salary: $33,6101
  • Minimum education requirements: Postsecondary non-degree award (Medical Assisting Diploma)
  • Projected employment growth (2018-28): 23 percent1

Medical assistants may specialize in administrative or clinical work. These professionals work in Doctor’s offices, hospitals, and a wide range of other healthcare facilities. The day to day tasks of a medical assistant vary depending on the unique needs of their employer. Many medical assistants record patient histories, take vital signs, and depending on state laws, can even administer injections or medications. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining records and working with electronic health record software.

2. Physical therapist assistant

  • 2018 Median annual salary: $48,0901
  • Minimum education requirements: Associate’s degree
  • Projected employment growth (2018-28): 26 percent1

Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work under the supervision of physical therapists in outpatient centers or hospitals. PTAs work directly with patients recovering from injuries, illness or managing pain. PTAs assist with specific exercises, massaging and stretching, and education with patients and their families. They work closely with physical therapists to make ensure patients are completing therapeutic and strengthening exercises and document any progress being made by patients. All physical therapist assistants must be licensed or certified to practice.

3. Radiologic technologist

  • 2018 Median annual salary: $61,2401
  • Minimum education requirements: Associate’s degree
  • Projected employment growth (2018-28): 9 percent1

Radiologic technologists take diagnostic images such as x-rays in order for physicians to make diagnoses. Radiologic technologists (sometimes called radiographers) prepare patients for the procedure, protect the patient from unnecessary exposure to imaging equipment radiation, and operate the computerized imaging equipment. Radiologic technicians work directly with patients but also closely with physicians. Most radiologic technologists work in a hospital setting, with about 36 percent employed in doctor’s offices, laboratories and outpatient care centers, according to the BLS.1

4. Surgical technologist

  • 2018 Median annual salary: $47,3001
  • Minimum education requirements: Postsecondary non-degree award or Associate’s degree
  • Projected employment growth (2018-28): 9 percent1

Surgical technologists assist with surgical operations. They are responsible for preparing an operating room for a surgery by sterilizing and setting out instruments, preparing sterile solutions and medications used in surgery, and checking the function of all equipment prior to the operation. Surgical technologists prepare patients for surgery by washing and sterilizing incision sites. During operations, surgical technologists hand physicians and doctors instruments and equipment. 

5. Pharmacy technician

2018 Median annual salary: $32,7001

Minimum education requirements: High school diploma or postsecondary non-degree award (Pharmacy Technician Certificate)

Projected employment growth (2018-28): 7 percent1

Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists to dispense prescription medication. Common duties of a pharmacy technician include measuring, packaging, and labeling prescriptions, maintaining an inventory of medications and supplies, and processing payment and insurance claims. This profession draws on a close attention to detail. Though most pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies and drug stores, pharmacy technicians in hospitals have slightly different responsibilities such as preparing intravenous medications and making rounds to deliver medications to patients.

Interested in exploring a career in healthcare?

As you can see, there’s more ways to get involved with patient care than just being a nurse. Now that you have a greater sense of the many growing healthcare careers outside of nursing, check out the Rasmussen College School of Health Sciences programs to learn more about what educational track might help you achieve your career goals in healthcare.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed December, 2019] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [accessed December, 2019] www.bls.gov/oes/. Information represents national, averaged data 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.

Anjali Stenquist

Anjali Stenquist is a content writer for Collegis Education who writes student focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She is passionate about helping students of all backgrounds navigate higher education.

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