Renowned author Lewis Carroll once said, “One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.” It sounds like he was describing the positively heroic professionals working in the healthcare industry. And while many folks would instantly equate the term – healthcare hero with a doctor, there are a plethora of non-physician roles in healthcare that the world would be quite lost without. (P.S. – roles that come with a hefty salary as well.)
If you’re considering a career in the rapidly expanding healthcare industry, but aren’t interested in being a physician, you’re in luck! Because we’ve put together a list of 9 great paying jobs in healthcare with no MD required.
Nurse Anesthetists / Nurse Midwives / Nurse Practitioners
Care for one – that’s love. Care for hundreds – that’s nursing. It’s hard to imagine a segment of the healthcare industry that contributes more to the well-being of people everywhere than nurses. Nurses of every kind. And there are many different types of nurses beyond what we’ve listed here. But nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners are in the top tier of the highest paid healthcare professionals in non-physician roles. However, they do very different things.
Nurse Anesthetists – These advanced practice nurses specialize in administering anesthesia to patients and work in collaboration with physicians, anesthesiologists, and surgeons. You’ll find nurse anesthetists working in hospitals, emergency rooms, surgical clinics, military installations, outpatient care centers and other medical facilities.
Nurse Midwives – Nurse Midwives specialize in women’s reproductive health and childbirth. They provide cares to women before, during and after pregnancy and can provide family planning services as well.
Nurse Practitioners – Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses that assess, diagnose, and treat patients. They have the authority to prescribe medications and order diagnostic tests, and often perform many of the same duties of a physician. But in most states, they must work under the direct supervision of a physician. Although, the physician does not always need to be present at the time of service.
Although each of these types of nursing roles requires area-specific advanced training, and the general requirements may vary from state to state, typically, you can expect the following basic requirements:
- Completion of a Bachelor of Science degree program in nursing
- Pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) to acquire an RN license
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) training at an accredited institution
- Specified number of clinical hours in your area of practice
- Continuing education to maintain certification
Career Outlook for Nurse Anesthetists / Nurse Midwives / Nurse Practitioners
Just like most careers in the healthcare industry, the job outlook is strong for these three types of nurses. So strong, in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects as much as a 40% increase in new jobs by 2021. Combine that with an average salary of $123,780 and you can see why Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners made the top ten list.
Physician Assistants – Don’t be fooled by the physician in the title of this career path. A physician assistant works under the supervision of a licensed physician but is not an actual physician. Physician assistants receive comprehensive medical training across a variety of clinical rotations and are able to diagnose and treat patients, order and interpret medical tests, and prescribe medication.
You’ll find PAs working in a variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, urgent care clinics, ERs, private practices, etc. There are specific education requirements to become a physician assistant starting with obtaining a bachelor’s degree and completing an accredited master’s program in physician assisting. Upon completion of the educational requirements, physician assistants must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) to become certified and licensed.
Career Outlook for Physician Assistants
New job growth for physician assistants is projected to increase by 28% by 2031, and the median annual salary is $112,260, with the highest-paid PAs earning more than $157,120 a year.
IT Managers – It’s not surprising that one of the highest paid non-physician roles in healthcare is tech-related. After all, the importance of compliance with HIPPAA regulations and patient privacy requires that medical facilities have a secure, high-functioning IT system. IT Managers in healthcare settings oversee the implementation and management of information systems and technology in a healthcare facility. They ensure systems are secure and compliant with all applicable regulations. IT managers have an average annual salary of $135,800.
Career Outlook for IT Managers
Notwithstanding the recent layoffs by big tech companies, the future for IT Managers looks bright. Especially in the healthcare industry where their services are so essential. The IT industry in general expects to continue growing at a much faster than average rate adding more than 82,000 new jobs by 2031. And with a median salary of $159,010, working in the IT sector of healthcare is an option with a solid future.
Pharmacists – It’s safe to say the healthcare industry, not to mention – patients, would be lost without the dedicated pharmacists dispensing medication to patients in need. Pharmacists work in close collaboration with physicians to ensure that the treatment plan is appropriate and educate patients about medication side effects and potential interactions. Pharmacists typically need a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree to practice, and every state requires pharmacists to be licensed.
Career Outlook – This is one of the rare career paths in healthcare that doesn’t appear to have massive growth projected over the next decade. However, it is still one of the top paying careers with an have an average annual salary of $128,570.
Medical and Health Services Managers – Every medical or healthcare facility is a business at its core. Medical and Health and Service Managers are responsible for managing the business activities duties of healthcare. They ensure that the facility meets regulatory standards and budgetary goals and let’s face it – the wheels would fall off the healthcare bus without their intervention. Health and social service managers typically need a bachelor’s degree and there are some employers who prefer to hire candidates with administrative or clinical experience in a healthcare facility.
Career Outlook – By 2031, new jobs for medical and health service managers are predicted to increase by 28% and the median wage as of 2021 was $101,340 annually.
Occupational Therapists – These healthcare professionals help injured or ill patients develop, recover, or improve the skills needed for daily living and working. They work with patients of all ages and help them with everything from dressing and eating, to mobility to cognitive skills. To become and occupational therapist, you must complete a master’s or doctoral degree program in occupational therapy from an accredited institution and pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.
Career Outlook – The industry is projected to grow at a much faster than average rate and predicted to add more than 100K new jobs by 2031. In 2021, the highest paid occupational therapists earned more than $123K, with the the median annual salary at $85,570.
Physical Therapists – Physical therapists help patients recover from injuries and illnesses by improving their mobility and reducing pain. They work with patients of all ages and backgrounds, from people with sports injuries to the elderly.
Career Outlook – Jobs for physical therapists are expected to increase at a much faster than average rate adding 40,400 new jobs by 2031. The median annual salary for physical therapists in 2021 was $95,620.
Whether you’re interested in helping patients or working behind the scenes in healthcare, there are plenty of options to choose from that not only pay well, but will also likely be a rewarding way to earn a living.