The Best Health Care Jobs That Don't Require Medical School

·5 min read

Health care is a fast-growing field with diverse employment opportunities. While physicians remain an integral part of patient care, there are many health care occupations that don't require medical school. These range from jobs you can land right out of high school to those that require an advanced education.

Based on our 100 Best Jobs list, the following are the best health care careers for those who want to provide care but don't want to attend medical school. Occupational data comes from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

-- Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse.

-- Home Health Aide.

-- Occupational Therapist.

-- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.

-- Nurse Anesthetist.

-- Respiratory Therapist.

-- Registered Nurse.

-- Speech-Language Pathologist.

-- Physician Assistant.

-- Nurse Practitioner.

[See: The 25 Best Jobs of 2022.]

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse

Median Salary: $48,820

Education Required: Postsecondary non-degree

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses are often on the frontlines of patient care. They may check vital signs, dress wounds and assist patients with a variety of tasks. These nurses also have one of the best medical jobs that don't require a degree. Instead, to get started in the field, workers must complete a state-approved certificate program before they can be licensed.

Learn more about licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses.

Home Health Aide

Median Salary: $27,080

Education Required: High school

Job opportunities for home health aides are expected to grow significantly in the coming years. As the country's population ages, more seniors are likely to seek help that will allow them to safely remain in their homes. Home health aides provide assistance with daily living tasks as well as check vital signs, help with medication and offer other basic care services. These are medical jobs without degree requirements, and a high school diploma is sufficient for most positions.

Learn more about home health aides.

Occupational Therapist

Median Salary: $86,280

Education Required: Master's degree

Occupational therapists work with people to help improve their ability to perform daily tasks. They may assist with rehabilitation after an injury or illness or provide therapy to those with disabilities. Occupational therapists need an advanced degree, but it doesn't require the same time commitment as medical school. After earning a master's degree, occupational therapists must pass a licensing exam and complete supervised fieldwork.

Learn more about occupational therapists.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Median Salary: $75,920

Education Required: Associate degree

From ultrasounds of developing babies to sonograms of organs, diagnostic medical sonographers allow medical professionals to take a look inside the human body. Using specialized equipment, they create images that are used in diagnosing and treating a variety of conditions. To do this work, most diagnostic medical sonographers spend two years in college and earn an associate degree.

Learn more about diagnostic medical sonographers.

[See: 25 Best Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree.]

Nurse Anesthetist

Median Salary: $183,580

Education Required: Master's degree

Nurse anesthetists have one of the highest paying jobs that don't require medical school. These workers currently must complete a master's degree program and have at least one year experience in critical care. Then they can take a national certification exam and be qualified to administer general or regional anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery or other procedures.

Learn more about nurse anesthetists.

Respiratory Therapist

Median Salary: $62,810

Education Required: Associate degree

Respiratory therapists help people improve their lung function and often work with patients who have chronic conditions such as asthma or emphysema. More recently, these professionals have been called upon to assist those recovering from COVID-19. This is a career path that foregoes medical school and instead requires an associate degree.

Learn more about respiratory therapists.

Registered Nurse

Median Salary: $75,330

Education Required: Bachelor's degree

Registered nurses have another job that is on the frontlines of health care. These professionals monitor patients, administer medicine and can even perform some medical procedures. While associate degree and diploma programs are available for registered nurses, a bachelor's degree is becoming the standard education in the field.

Learn more about registered nurses.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Median Salary: $80,480

Education Required: Master's degree

A master's degree, not a medical degree, is the standard education for speech-language pathologists. These therapists can be found in schools and medical settings as they work with people to improve speech and language skills as well as resolve problems with swallowing. Most states require speech-language pathologists to be licensed, and that may include the completion of a clinical fellowship or a certain amount of supervised work.

Learn more about speech-language pathologists.

Physician Assistant

Median Salary: $115,390

Education Required: Master's degree

Despite their name, physician assistants can see patients independently and often fill many of the same roles as a doctor. They can diagnose and treat illness, perform medical procedures and may assist in surgery. In many cases, they can also write prescriptions. To do this work, physician assistants must complete a specialized graduate education program, become licensed and collaborate with a physician as part of providing patient care.

Learn more about physician assistants.

[See: 25 Best Jobs That Pay $100K.]

Nurse Practitioner

Median Salary: $111,680

Education Required: Master's degree

Although their duties may vary depending on state law, nurse practitioners in many areas perform the same functions as physicians and physician assistants. They may perform physical exams, treat patients and write prescriptions. Nurse practitioners have one of the best and highest paying jobs that don't require medical school, but they must earn an advanced degree and pass a certification exam before beginning work.

Learn more about nurse practitioners.

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