Pursuing a career in healthcare lasting at least four years often comes with the burden of massive student loans. Luckily, you can still find a few high-paying hospital jobs without a degree.
According to growth projections data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare sector will grow by 15% between 2019 and 2029, adding approximately 2.4 million jobs.
The data also indicate that apart from being one of the fastest-growing sectors, the median annual wage for healthcare practitioners in the United States is higher than the median annual wage for all occupations.
The data proves that you can find a few hospital jobs that pay well without a degree, and below we’ll take a look at some of them to make it easier for you to make that crunch decision.
High Paying Hospital Jobs Without a Degree in 2021
Here’s a look at some of the high-paying healthcare jobs you can do without a bachelor’s degree in 2021.
1. EMTs and Paramedics
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics respond to emergency calls, provide emergency medical services, and transport patients to medical facilities. All states require EMTs and paramedics to be licensed, but requirements vary between states.
To enroll for an EMT program, you’ll need cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification and a high school diploma or its equivalent. Most of these programs are nondegree programs and you can complete them within a year.
To become a paramedic, on the other hand, may need you to have an associate’s degree. EMT and paramedic programs are offered in community colleges, technical institutes, universities, as well as in medical facilities specializing in emergency care training.
The median annual wage for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics is $36,650 and the top earners receive more than $62,150 a year.
2. Cardiovascular Technologist
Cardiovascular technologists operate ultrasound imaging, testing, and surgical equipment involving the vascular system. Technologists work closely with surgeons and physicians in hospitals and clinics.
You will need a formal education to become a cardiovascular technologist, such as a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree. There are colleges that offer one-year certificate programs but you can also pursue an associate degree in cardiovascular and vascular technology.
The median annual wage for cardiovascular technologists and technicians in the United States is $59,100. The top earners in this profession earn more than $96,790 a year.
3. Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists work in dental offices taking x-rays, cleaning teeth, and checking for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis. Some of the daily tasks of a dental hygienist include:
- Remove plaque, tartar, and stains from teeth
- Take and develop dental/oral x-rays
- Apply sealants and fluoride on patients’ teeth
- Document patient care and treatment plans
- Assess patients’ oral health for possible oral diseases
- Educate patients on oral hygiene and techniques
You’ll need to complete a 3-year associate’s degree program to become a dental hygienist. All states also require dental hygienists to be licensed.
The median annual wage for dental hygienists in the U.S. is $77,090 while top earners earn more than $104,000 a year, which makes it one of the highest paying hospital jobs without a degree (bachelor’s degree).
4. Dental Assistant
Dental assistants work in support of dentists offering patient care services, keeping patient records, and scheduling appointments. Dental assistants typically carry out the following duties:
- Sterilize dental equipment
- Prepare work area and patients for dental procedures
- Process x-rays
- Keep records of patients’ dental treatments
- Schedule patient appointments
- Hand dental instruments to dentists during procedures
- Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene
There are a few paths you can follow to become a dental assistant. Some states require dental assistants to graduate from an accredited dental program while other states do not have formal education requirements, which means dental assistants can learn through on-the-job training.
Educational programs are offered in community colleges, vocational institutes, and technical schools. Most certificate and diploma dental assistant programs take about 1 year to complete. Programs lasting for about 2 years lead to an associate’s degree.
The mean annual wage of dental assistants is $41,180 with the highest-paid professionals earning close to $60,000 a year.
Phlebotomists draw blood for medical lab tests, research, transfusions, or blood donations. They also talk with patients and blood donors to keep them relaxed during the procedure.
Their other tasks include labeling the drawn blood for testing, entering patient information into a database, and maintaining medical instruments such as test tubes, needles, and blood vials.
You need a postsecondary nondegree award from a phlebotomy program to enter the occupation. You can enroll for the programs in community colleges, technical schools, or vocational schools. The programs typically take less than a year to complete and involve classroom sessions and laboratory work.
Some phlebotomists also enter the occupation with a high school diploma and get to learn everything about the job while on the job.
The mean annual wage of a phlebotomist is $36,320 and the highest earners receive more than $50,720 a year.
6. Medical Assistant
Medical assistants support physicians and other healthcare professionals in hospitals and healthcare facilities completing administrative and clinical tasks. The duties of medical assistants vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.
Typical tasks of medical assistants include:
- Record patient personal information and history
- Give patients medications or injections as directed by physicians
- Measure patients’ vital signs
- Schedule patient appointments
- Prepare patients’ blood samples for lab tests
- Enter patient information into medical records
Although there are no formal educational requirements to become a medical assistant, most medical assistants graduate from postsecondary educational programs. You can enroll for such programs in community colleges, technical schools, or vocational schools, and takes about a year to complete leading to a certificate or diploma.
2-year programs offered in community colleges lead to an associate’s degree. Some medical assistants enter into the occupation with only a high school diploma and learn their duties while on the job.
The mean annual wage for medical assistants is $35,850 while the top earners in the occupation receive well over $50,580 a year.
7. Medical Records and Health Information Specialist
Medical records and health information specialists code, organize and manage health information data in medical facilities such as hospitals. They organize patient information in clinical registries, maintain patients’ records confidentiality, review the records for accuracy, timeliness, and completeness, and classify patients’ information for data analysis and insurance reimbursement purposes.
You’ll need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation, but you can also qualify with a high school diploma or its equivalent with some experience in a healthcare setting.
The median annual wage for medical records and health information specialists in the United States is $44,090. The highest earners receive more than $73,370 a year, which makes it one of the high-paying hospital jobs without a degree.
8. Medical Equipment Repairers
The duties of medical equipment repairers include installing medical equipment. Testing and calibrating equipment and its parts, performing preventive maintenance services, repairing and replacing malfunctioning equipment, reviewing technical manuals, and demonstrating how to operate the equipment.
Educational requirements to become a medical equipment repairer vary depending on one’s area of specialization and experience. Technicians who repair equipment such as electric wheelchairs and hospital beds may learn through on-the-job training without the need of attending formal training.
However, technicians tasked with repairing advanced medical equipment need an associate’s degree in biomedical equipment technology or engineering. Repairers working on sophisticated equipment such as defibrillators and CAT scanners may need a bachelor’s degree.
This is one of the highest-paying healthcare jobs without a degree (unless you’re handling sophisticated medical equipment). The median annual wage for medical equipment repairers is $51,610 with top earners receiving more than $84,720 a year.
9. Laboratory Technicians (Dental, Ophthalmic, and Medical Appliance)
Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians have a myriad of tasks including constructing, fitting and repairing medical devices and appliances such as eyeglasses, dentures, and prosthetics.
These professionals typically need a high school diploma or its equivalent to enroll. You can also enroll in community colleges, vocational schools, or technical schools for a postsecondary program in dental laboratory technology and get a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree.
The median annual wage of dental laboratory technicians is $42,110 with the top earners receiving more than $67,000 a year.
Other high paying hospital jobs without a degree
The median annual wage of these jobs makes them among the best paying healthcare jobs you can do without a degree.
- MRI Technologists – Median annual wage is $74,690 and top earners receive $104,210 per year.
- Radiologic Technologists and Technicians – Median annual wage is $61,900 and top earners receive $92,660 a year.
- Nuclear Medicine Technologists – Median annual wage is $79,590 and top earners receive more than $109,070 a year.
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographers – Median annual wage is $75,920 and top earners receive more than $105,340 a year.