While most people prefer to go for undergraduate programs with higher earning potential, there are still dozens of quick medical certifications that pay well in 2023 and beyond.
Most of these programs take between 3 and 15 months to complete. When it comes to income potential, you can earn anywhere between $25,000 and $75,000 a year depending on the medical certificate program you choose and your experience.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical careers are in high demand and their employment rates keep growing at a faster rate than most other fields.
Although most applications are seen in programs such as medical assistant, medical billing, dental assistant, and medical coding, there are other medical certificate programs that pay well you shouldn’t ignore.
According to salary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and reputable sources such as PayScale, the highest-paying medical certifications include:
- Medical billing and coding specialist – $64,890
- Cardiovascular technologist and technician – $60,940
- Surgical technologist – $48,300
- Dental assistant – %42,510
- Medical secretary – $36,580
- Pharmacy technician – $36,450
- Phlebotomy technician – $35,510
- Emergency medical technician – $35,400
- Medical assistant – $34,800
- Skincare specialist – $34,090
Keep in mind that these are just short certification programs, most of which you can complete within 2 years.
Let’s now have a look at the quick healthcare certifications that pay well in 2023 you should consider if you intend to carve a career for yourself in the healthcare field.
1. Surgical technologist
As a surgical technologist, you will assist in operations, under the supervision of a surgeon, registered nurse, or other surgical personnel. Duties include setting up the operating room, preparing patients for surgery, adjusting lights and equipment, passing instruments to surgeons and their assistants, cutting sutures, holding retractors, and much more.
The surgical technology program takes between 1 and 2 years to complete. You need a certificate, diploma, or associate degree to enroll in the program.
The mean annual pay for surgical technologists is $48,300, with the top 10% earning an average of $71,400 per year, making it one of the medical certifications that pay well.
2. Emergency medical technician
This is one of the many healthcare certifications that pay well in 2023, with top earners getting almost $60,000 per year. EMTs are entry-level patient care medical workers who can advance to become advanced emergency medical technicians (AEMTs) and later become paramedics.
It takes approximately 3 months to complete an EMT training program in an accredited institution, often a community college or trade school. Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians need an additional 400 hours to qualify for certification.
Working as an EMT is one of the high-paying jobs without degrees and you can earn a mean annual salary of $35,400 while the most experienced 10% earn $59,860 a year.
3. Cardiovascular technologists & technicians
Diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists & technicians are among the well-paid healthcare professionals but you do not need a 4-year bachelor’s degree to enter the profession.
They operate special imaging equipment to create images or conduct tests that help physicians assess and diagnose medical conditions. They may work closely with physicians and surgeons before, during, and after surgical procedures.
You need a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree to become a medical sonographer or cardiovascular technologist. There are also one-year certificate programs in sonography as well as in cardiovascular and vascular technology.
The mean annual salary for cardiovascular technologists and technicians is $60,940 while the top-paid in this profession earn more than $96,790 a year.
4. Medical billing and coding specialist
Professional medical billing and coding specialists organize and review patient medical records and assign codes to each diagnosis or treatment.
You will also be responsible for preparing coded information for use by healthcare insurers and medical researchers. You can complete an online Medical Billing & Coding certification program within 6 months and be ready to dive into the job market.
According to AAPC (the American Academy of Professional Coders), non-certified coders earn an average annual salary of $42,015 while certified coders earn 33% more – appx. $55,923 per year.
It is one of the in-demand healthcare certifications which can earn you as high as $64,890 if you add a second certification.
Here’s an in-depth look at the highest-paying medical coding jobs you can consider if you’d like to become a medical coder.
5. Dental assistant
This is one of the medical certificate programs that pay well and you only need 9-12 months to complete your medical training.
Dental assistant training programs are offered by medical trade schools and community colleges, and the median pay is $40,080 per year with the best paid dental assistants earning more than $56,930 per year.
The clinical duties of dental assistants include equipment preparation and sterilization, preparing patients for treatments, assisting dentists during treatments, and providing patients with oral healthcare procedure instructions.
Their administrative tasks include scheduling appointments, billing, and maintaining medical records, as well as coding information for insurance purposes.
Here’s a full list of the highest-paying dental specialties in the United States.
6. Skincare specialist
Skincare specialists provide skincare treatments to the face and body to enhance appearance. They clean, exfoliate, wax, laser, moisturize, and apply makeup.
To become a skincare specialist, you need to complete a 600-hour state-approved cosmetology or esthetician program (some states require 750 hours) and pass a state exam for licensure before being certified.
The mean annual pay for skincare specialists is $34,090. However, the most experienced practitioners with years of experience can earn as high as $62,000 per year, making it one of the medical certifications that pay well in 2023.
7. Phlebotomy technician
This is one of the quick medical certifications that pay well with some earning more than $50,000 per year. Some of the tasks phlebotomists do include drawing blood for tests, transfusions, donations, or research and explaining to patients the procedure and recovery details.
The mean annual pay for phlebotomists is $35,510 while the best-paid professionals earn more than $49,750, making it one of the many well-paying medical certificate programs.
It takes about 6 months to complete medical training and become a certified phlebotomy technician.
8. Pharmacy technicians
This is one of the quick certifications that pay well as high as $50,000 a year. As a pharmacy technician, you will work in hospitals or healthcare facilities preparing medications under the direction of a pharmacist.
Your roles may include measuring, mixing, labeling, and recording amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders. You may also be involved in pricing medications to process insurance claims and administer prescriptions to patients.
According to BLS, the mean annual salary of pharmacy technicians is $36,450 while the top-paid professionals receive more than $50,430 per year.
9. Medical secretary
You’ll need a high school diploma or GED in order to be accepted into a medical secretary program. You will undergo a 1-year certificate training at an accredited medical trade school unless you’ve already attended a 2-year community college program.
Medical secretaries perform an array of duties including scheduling appointments, billing patients, and compiling and recording medical charts, reports, and correspondence.
The median annual pay for medical secretaries is $36,580, with the top 10% earning more than $53,230 per year.
10. Medical assistant
This is one of the high-paying hospital jobs you can do without a bachelor’s degree. It takes between 9 and 12 months to become a certified medical assistant (CMA). However, there are online accelerated CMA programs you can complete in less than 8 weeks.
Medical assistants perform both clinical and administrative tasks. Administrative duties include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, and processing patient billing.
The clinical tasks medical assistants execute include preparing patients for examination, drawing blood samples for tests, taking and recording patient vital signs and medical histories, and administering medications with the directions of a physician.
Medical assistants are trained in diagnostic procedures, lab techniques, patient confidentiality, and record-keeping among other skills.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants’ median pay is $34,800 per year, with the best-paid earning more than $48,720 per year.
11. Patient care technician
The number of older adults aged 65 and above in the U.S. currently stands at 46 million. That number is expected to grow to almost 90 million by 2050. Due to the aging population, the demand for patient care technicians keeps rising.
PCTs work closely with nurses to assist patients in managing food intake, administering IVs, drawing blood for lab work, and much more. You can later advance your career and become a registered nurse.
The average annual salary for patient care technicians in the United States is $34,098 while the top earners receive a mean annual salary of $49,000.
12. Medical transcriptionist
Looking for one of the less restrictive medical certificate programs that still pay well? If that’s the case, then we would recommend you consider becoming a medical transcriptionist.
It takes between 6 and 12 months to get a medical transcriptionist certification, while anyone who is after an associate’s degree will need two years to complete the program.
As a medical transcriptionist, you will transcribe medical reports recorded by different healthcare practitioners in hospitals.
You will transcribe dictated reports and translate any abbreviations into understandable forms before submitting the report in printed or electronic form for review and signature (or correction if necessary).
The median annual pay for medical transcriptionists is $33,380, with the top 10% earning more than $51,260 a year.
Here is a short overview of this profession. Video courtesy: RegisteredNurseRN.
13. Behavior technician specialist
Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) work in clinical settings with doctors, nurses, and other health professionals to give care to patients suffering from behavioral conditions.
They work under the guidance of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) to provide treatment and care for patients like autistic children.
Behavioral technician specialists work at hospitals, schools, mental health facilities, or patients’ homes to provide one-on-one care to patients.
It is one of the best jobs working with autistic children, and according to ZipRecruiter, the mean national average salary for behavior technician specialists is $32,332 per year and the top-earning professionals receive more than $45,000 a year in wages.
14. Pharmacy aide
Pharmacy aides execute an array of duties including keeping records of drugs delivered to the pharmacy, dispensing medications to patients and medical professionals, as well as measuring, packaging, and labeling prescriptions.
According to the BLS, pharmacy aides’ annual median pay is $27,850 while the top 10% earn more than $46,500 per year.
It takes approximately one year to complete a pharmacy aide medical training program often offered in community colleges and trade schools.
15. Home health and personal care aide
This is one of the fastest-growing careers in gerontology. You need to complete a 75-hour home health aide training program to get certified. This can take a few weeks depending on how much time you commit to your training.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for home health and personal care aide is $25,280 per year while the top 10% earn an average of $34,180.
FAQs about healthcare certifications that pay well
Below are the most frequently asked questions about medical certificate programs that pay well in the United States.
1. What certifications pay the most in the medical field?
High-paying quick certifications in the medical field include surgical technologists, emergency medical technicians, cardiovascular technologists & technicians, medical billing and coding specialist, skincare specialist, dental assistant, and medical assistants. You can earn more than $50,000 a year in any of these jobs.
2. What are the easiest healthcare certifications to get?
The quickest healthcare certificate programs you can get include emergency medical technician (3 months), medical billing and coding specialist (6 months), phlebotomy technician (6 months), and medical transcriptionist (6-12 months). You need an average of just six months to complete any of these certification programs.
3. Which healthcare certifications are in demand?
The most in-demand medical certifications in the U.S. include registered health information advisor (RHIA), registered health information technician (RHIT), certified outpatient coder (COC), certified professional in healthcare risk management (CPHRM), and certified professional in electronic health records (CPHER).
Medical certification programs that pay well
These are not the only healthcare certifications that pay well in the United States. There are dozens more, but the ones we have highlighted might just be what you need. Feel free to do more research if you need additional details on any of these well-paying medical certifications.
Check out this video about easy-to-get health care certifications that pay well by Nurse Key.