Start a Career in Healthcare Without a Degree

5 Healthcare Careers That Don’t Require a College Degree

The road to becoming a doctor is a long one. After completing a four-year undergraduate degree, most doctors-in-training complete four years of medical school, then up to seven years of fellowship or residency training[1].

Luckily, people who are interested in a career in healthcare aren’t limited to becoming doctors. There are many other careers available in the field and many of those careers don’t require more than a decade of training. In fact, it’s possible to begin a career in healthcare after completing a short-term career certificate program.

If you’re interested in a career in medicine and want to begin your new career sooner rather than later, you might consider earning a career certificate in one of the following areas.

1. Medical Assistant

A medical assistant usually performs a combination of clinical and administrative tasks in a physician’s office. When you go for your annual wellness checkup, the medical assistant is usually the person who checks your blood pressure and other vital signs. They might also take down your medical history and other information. At the end of your visit, the medical assistant might be the person who schedules your next appointment with the doctor.

The need for medical assistants is expected to increase dramatically over the next 10 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in the career to increase by 29% between 2016 and 2026[2]. The median pay for medical assistants in May 2018 was $33,610.

If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, you can enroll in a 14-month certificate program, which mainly consists of classroom instruction. After completing the program, you are prepared to take either the certified medical assistant exam from the American Association of Medical Assistants or the registered medical assistant exam from American Medical Technologists.

2. Dental Assistant

Dental assistants are similar to medical assistants in many ways. The primary difference between the two careers is the location of the job. Dental assistants work alongside dentists. During a dental procedure, they might hand the dentist the instruments needed or they might hold the suction device up to a patient’s mouth. On the administrative side, dental assistants often keep records of a patient’s treatment and help to schedule future appointments.

The demand for dental assistants is expected to increase over the next decade and employment opportunities in the field are expected to grow by 19%[3]. The median salary for dental assistants in May 2018 was $38,660.

If you’re interested in becoming a dental assistant, you can enroll in a 10-month certificate program. After completing the certificate, you’ll be prepared to take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination to become a Certified Dental Assistant.

3. Licensed Practical Nurse

Although many registered nurse jobs now require a person to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, it is still possible to enter the nursing field without completing a four-year degree. One option is to pursue a career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). LPNs work under the supervision of RNs and doctors. They usually work directly with patients, performing tasks such as checking blood pressure or changing bandages.

Employment opportunities for LPNs are expected to increase by 12% between 2016 and 2026[4]. As of May 2018, the median salary for an LPN was $46,240 per year.

If you’re interested in a career as an LPN, the first step to take is to enroll in a 12-month certificate program. After you complete your certificate, you’ll be ready to take the Licensed Practical Nurse exam from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

4. Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians work alongside pharmacists in hospitals or at retail pharmacies. Their job responsibilities include measuring out, packaging and labeling prescriptions, keeping track of a pharmacy’s inventory and stock levels and interacting with people who are filling prescriptions or picking up medication.

Employment opportunities for pharmacy technicians are expected to increase by 12% between 2016 and 2026[5]. The median salary for pharmacy technicians in 2018 was $32,700.

If you think a career as a pharmacy technician sounds interesting, you can get started by enrolling in a 10-month certificate program. After completing the program, you’ll be ready to complete either the Certified Pharmacy Technician exam from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the Registered Pharmacy Technician exam from the Florida Department of Health.

5. Massage Therapist

Although massage therapists don’t exclusively work in the medical field, many help people who have injuries get relief. A massage therapist works directly with people, using their hands to manipulate a person’s soft tissues and muscles. Often, a massage therapist will discuss what a person’s goals are for their therapy before beginning treatment.

The demand for massage therapists is expected to increase dramatically over the next 10 years, with employment opportunities growing by 26% between 2016 and 2026[6]. The median salary for a massage therapist is $41,420, although therapists who work in healthcare settings tend to have higher salaries compared to therapists who work in other environments.

If you’d like to become a massage therapist, you can enroll in a nine-month certificate program. After completing the certificate, you can take either the Massage and Bodywork Licensure Exam or the Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and receive a license from the Florida Department of Health.

Orange Technical College offers certificate programs for the five healthcare careers discussed above, as well as for a variety of other careers in the medical and healthcare field. If you’re interested in working in an industry that should see tremendous growth over the next few years and that has plenty of opportunities, request more information about our certificate programs today.

Sources:

  1. “From premed to physician: Pursuing a medical career,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2017, https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2017/article/premed.htm
  2. “Medical Assistants,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2019, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-1
  3. “Dental Assistants,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2019, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm#tab-1
  4. “Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2019, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm
  5. “Pharmacy Technicians,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2019, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm#tab-1
  6. “Massage Therapists,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2019, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/massage-therapists.htm#tab-1

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