50+ Highest Paying Healthcare Careers in the USA
Due to an ageing population, the healthcare career sector is growing rapidly. People born between 1946-1964 are retiring at a rate of many thousands each day from the service. The healthcare industry is offering many healthcare career opportunities that cater to a variety of skills and professional aptitudes.
Some of the healthcare careers involve working directly with patients to diagnose, treat, and maintain their health, while others require managing patient information, billing, and/or administration.
Pew Research Center (a nonpartisan American fact tank based in Washington, D.C. that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world) reported in 2018 that Millennials ages 23-38 make up the largest proportion of the United States workforce, surpassing Generation X in 2017.
About 35% of Americans are responsible for the economic burden during their prime years of childbearing. Health professionals will be needed to address the growing needs of a large segment of the population, including those in their older years.
There are many promising healthcare careers for medical graduates in 2021
Here’s how Medical Technology Schools broke down the top 50 health professions for 2021 in America
The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, analyzed healthcare career growth. This is because a positive outlook on work is essential for making a healthcare career attractive. These measures included both the projected percentage growth and the absolute number of available jobs.
The salary factor is also important. Higher-paying jobs get a boost, even though their demand outlook wasn’t as good.
Flexibility and return on investment
The selection of healthcare career paths was also affected by flexibility and return on investments, but to a lesser extent than projected career growth and salary. For example, physical therapy allows practitioners to adjust their schedules and make adjustments.
Please note that all BLS healthcare career growth numbers are projected increases of jobs in the US between 2019-2029. All salary figures are from May 2019, the most recent data available as of January 2021.
The 2021 List of the Most High-Paying Healthcare Careers
More than 13,300 new jobs for dental hygienists are expected to become available between 2019 and 2029. This is a remarkable growth rate of 6 per cent, which is higher than the average. The median annual salary for dental hygienists is $76,220. They typically have at least an associate degree.
This is the top health profession because it is a highly lucrative healthcare career with great growth in the future. You can also enjoy a flexible lifestyle. The median annual wage for physical therapy was $89,440 in May 2019.
This number is expected to rise by 18% over the decade before 2029. Physical therapists, unlike other health professionals, are often able and willing to work flexible hours and choose their clients. They are also more likely to be self-employed.
Nurse practitioners can be licensed in many states to perform many of the same functions as physicians. The demand for nurse practitioners will increase 52 per cent as healthcare services become more in demand over the next decade. This healthcare career is more lucrative than one of the physician assistants with a median salary of $115,800. It also offers in-demand specializations such as paediatrics, gerontology and neonatal.
These are not to be confused with medical assistants. Physician assistants are highly skilled health workers with advanced degrees who collaborate with doctors to diagnose and treat illnesses. This challenging healthcare career is one of the most lucrative in the healthcare industry. The median salary for a physician assistant was $112,260 in 2019.
There are more than three million registered nurses in the US as of 2019. This number is expected to rise by 7 per cent through 2029. For their work in providing care coordination and education, nurses make $73,300 per year. Registered nurses are employed in a wide variety of healthcare professional settings and often specialize in a field of practice.
Registered nurses may be responsible for supervising care delivered by other healthcare workers, including student nurses, licensed practical nurses (except in Canada), unlicensed assistive personnel, and less-experienced registered nurses.
Being a doctor is a high-profile profession that requires significant time and financial investment. However, there are tangible benefits to this healthcare career profession. In 2019, the median annual salary for a doctor was over $208,000. This is a top-ranked healthcare career.
It is important to note that physicians typically require between 11 and 15 years of postsecondary education. A lot of these healthcare career professionals also have student loan debts.
Home health aide
Not all health workers spend their time in hospitals or clinics. Home health aides can help patients at home, while also enjoying a broad job market and a projected 34 per cent growth rate. The salary is only $25,280 (or $12.15 per hour), but there are many job opportunities. The educational requirements for home health aides are very accessible. They must have a high school diploma or an equivalent exam.
Those in this healthcare career professionals can help people if they have pain, injury, illness, or a disability that makes it hard for the person to do their job or schoolwork, care themself, complete household chores, move around, or take part in activities.
Occupational therapy teaches people how to adapt. These healthcare career professionals can help people perform any kind of task at school, work, or in their homes.
The BLS noted that occupational therapists are expected to be in high demand at 16 per cent per year by 2029. This combined with a high median salary of $84,950 annually makes it a highly sought-after healthcare career choice. Most OTs have at least a master’s level.
Licensed practical or Licensed vocational nurse
There is no doubt that there is a high demand for all kinds of nurses. Some even call it a crisis. The demand for licensed vocational and practical nurses will rise, with almost 65,700 additional jobs expected between 2019-2029. LPNs, LVNs, and RNs supervise LPNs and LVNs as they provide nursing care for patients of all ages.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Diagnostic medical sonographers work closely with doctors but don’t require as much training. This means that they can get hired more quickly. The demand for medical sonographers will grow by 17 per cent between 2029 and 2029.
This means that there are many healthcare career opportunities for students who have just graduated. Sonographers usually have an associate’s degree or higher and are certified. Sonographers make a median annual salary in the range of $57,720. They work in hospitals, medical offices, and laboratories.
This field is expanding and dental assistants will be in high demand. Most of the professionals practising in this healthcare career support a dental operator (such as a dentist or other treating dental auxiliary) in providing more efficient dental treatment.
Dental assistants are distinguished from other groups of dental auxiliaries (such as dental therapists, dental hygienists and dental technicians) by differing training, roles and patient scopes They earn a median salary of $40,000. There is 7% job growth between 2019-2029. This job can be done quickly as it does not require a graduate degree.
Physical Therapist Assistant
With the high demand for Physical Therapist Assistants and their high salaries, it is not surprising that physical therapist assistants are in high demand. This healthcare career has a median salary of $58,790.
Demand is expected to rise by 33 per cent between 2029 and 2029. PTAs are similar to LPNs and work under the supervision of a physical therapist to help patients with their mobility, pain management, and physical wellness.
Medical or Clinical Laboratory Technician
As medical technology advances, so does the demand for qualified professionals to interpret and maintain it. The demand for medical and clinical lab technicians will increase by almost 7 per cent over the next few years.
This field of healthcare career offers a median salary of $53,120. There are 24,700 new jobs between 2019-2029. Students can expect these positions to remain open after they have completed their non-degree postsecondary education.
These are the healthcare career professional that works alongside physicians, mainly in outpatient or ambulatory care facilities, such as medical offices and clinics. This is one of the healthcare careers that is growing much faster in the USA than average for all occupations, according to the BLS.
This healthcare career is very flexible. A medical assistant can work in a doctor’s office or an emergency room. These healthcare career professionals will have plenty of job openings in the next ten years, with an estimated 139,200 new jobs by 2029.
The surgeons can remove diseased tissue or organs, repair body systems, or replace diseased organs with transplants. Surgeons can be general surgeons and perform all types of surgery, or they can be specialized, such as heart surgeons, brain surgeons, dentists, or veterinarians.
These healthcare career professionals involve the cutting of a patient’s tissues or closure of a previously sustained wound. Surgery can be performed on a human or an animal to repair and diagnose internal problems.
They operate in the event of illness, injury, or disease, and can perform any number of different surgical procedures on the body. Sometimes surgeries are performed to correct problems in the body or to explore the cause of internal bleeding.
Surgery is not a healthcare career to be taken lightly. This requires years of training and schooling. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgeons can earn a median annual wage of $208,000 or more. In May 2019, the median (average) annual wage for surgeons was $252,040.
While pharmacists are expected to be in decline between 2019-2029, their salaries are still very high. This health profession offers a great opportunity for students who are interested in pursuing an advanced degree. The median salary is $128,090. Pharmacists fill and dispense medications. They also counsel patients about their use.
While surgeons are highly paid, it is also known that their assistants require less training and school hours. By 2029, the demand for surgical technologists (also known as operating room technicians) is expected to rise by at least 7 per cent. In May 2019, their median salary was $48,300.
X-rays are still the best way to diagnose cancer and tumours. With 14,100 new positions expected through 2029, radiologic technologists will be highly in demand. Radiographers can also make a decent living earning $60,510 per year (median annual salary) with an associate’s level.
Paramedic/Emergency Medical Technician
A paramedic or emergency medical technician’s life is never boring. This vital health professional is in high demand. More than 17,000 new jobs are expected by 2029. EMT and paramedic service training is required beyond high school (nondegree). This healthcare career path may be suitable for those who are interested in a healthcare career in medicine or who love adrenaline and helping people in crisis. In May 2019, their median annual salary was $35,400.
The dentist is slightly lower than dental assistants or dental hygienists due to less schooling and expected job growth of 3 per cent between 2019-2029. Dentists can earn an average annual salary of $159,000. They may also own their dental practices which allows them to be more flexible in scheduling.
Another example of high demand nursing skills, there are more than 116.900 nursing assistant jobs expected to be created by 2029. There are many work opportunities for nursing assistants, such as hospitals, private doctors’ offices, and nursing homes. The employment outlook is for an 8 per cent increase in the years 2019-2029.
General Practitioner or Family Physician
A doctor does not need to be highly skilled to be in demand and earn a high salary. Many family physicians and general practitioners are self-employed. They can make an average annual salary of over $208,000. In May 2019, their mean (average) annual salary was $213270
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Occupational therapy assistants are one the most sought-after healthcare careers in healthcare. They can expect to grow by 35 per cent between now and 2029. The median annual salary for occupational therapy assistants is $61,510. This healthcare career can appeal to anyone looking for a fast job in a helping field.
Also known as speech therapists or speech-language pathologists, speech-language pathologists are in high demand and have an expected growth rate of 25 per cent through 2029. A master’s degree in speech-language pathology is necessary to begin this healthcare career. However, the median annual salary for speech-language pathologists is $79,120.
Health Information Technician or Medical Records
Not all professions require a lot of contact with patients. Health information technicians and medical records organize and manage patient information. This is expected to lead to a rise in demand for these professionals between 2029 and 2029 with 29,000 additional jobs.
Anesthesiologists are doctors who give a patient medication so they do not feel pain when they are undergoing surgery. These healthcare career professionals play a much wider role than just putting people to sleep for surgery. Anesthesiologists are also involved in a range of other medical procedures, including carrying out assessments in
- Critical care units
- Dealing with emergency situations
- Giving advice about pain management
This is the only healthcare career in medicine that is more lucrative than general surgery. This highly-trained physician earns a mean annual wage of $261 730. Although the demand for this job is lower than other healthcare careers, it was still highly ranked.
The Cardiovascular Technician or Technologist
This healthcare career specializes in medical imaging. They work full-time in hospitals and manage the equipment. By 2029, the demand for technicians and cardiovascular technologists is expected to rise by 5 per cent. The median annual salary for these technicians is $57,720.
Just like anesthesiologists, nurses anaesthetists also need to be in high demand. These healthcare career professionals provide anaesthesia and care before, during and after surgical, obstetrical and diagnostic procedures. A master’s degree is required for nurse anaesthetists, who earn a median salary of $174,790. The projected growth in employment is 14 per cent between 2019 and 2029.
The pharmacy technician works as an assistant to pharmacists with less training. This healthcare career is in high demand as prescription medication usage increases. By 2029, approximately 15,200 pharmacy technicians will be employed. The median salary for professionals in this field is $33,950.
The middle of the list is the phlebotomist. With a projected growth rate of 17 per cent (22,800 jobs added between 2019 and 2029) and a median salary of $35,000.510, they are firmly in the middle of the list. This medical staff draws blood from patients for many purposes.
If you are interested in a healthcare career as a massage therapist, it is a great healthcare career choice. Nearly half of massage therapists work independently. Massage therapists are in high demand and will increase by 21 per cent by 2029. According to the BLS, massage therapists require only a non-degree postsecondary degree and a median income of $42,820.
These trainers are trained to prevent, diagnose and treat muscle and bone illnesses and injuries. They can work with anyone, from children to professionals. They are often supervised by doctors and other healthcare professionals. By 2029, there will be approximately 5,200 new jobs for athletic trainers. The median annual salary for professionals in this field is $48,440.
These doctors treat patients with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma and emphysema. Students must have at least an associate’s level of education to pursue this healthcare career.
They can expect a median annual salary of $61,330. The employment outlook is positive with a projected 19% increase in employment between 2019 and 2029. These specialists are in high demand, with over 26,300 new jobs anticipated by 2029.
This is another healthcare career that requires a doctoral degree. Optometrists are expected to make about $115,000. These specialists are in high demand, with over 1,900 new jobs anticipated by 2029. Optometrists perform eye exams and diagnose and treat eye disorders, diseases, and vision problems.
Physical Therapist Assistant
Although the work of a physical therapy aide is somewhat different from that of an assistant, it is still highly sought after. Assisting physicians and physical therapists with scheduling, administrative, or clinical needs, physical therapist aides are needed. This healthcare career will see a 21 per cent rise in demand by 2029. That’s more than 10,800 jobs in the country.
Technician or Veterinary Technologist
Not all healthcare careers require you to take care of people. The median salary for a veterinary technologist is $35,320. They care for animals of all sizes and shapes. By 2029, the demand for veterinary technicians and technologists is expected to increase by nearly 16 per cent. Up to 18,300 Veterinary Technicians and Technicians jobs are projected to be created by 2029.
These professionals help to assess the risk of an individual or family being affected by a range of inherited conditions such as birth defects and genetic disorders. They provide information and support to families, healthcare providers, and individuals. This profession has a median annual salary of $81,880 and is projected to grow by 21 per cent between 2019-2029.
Chiropractors provide manual therapy to help patients suffering from back and neck pain. They treat patients with neuromusculoskeletal problems, which include bones, nerves and muscles. This job is expected to experience a 4 per cent increase in demand by 2029. In May 2019, the median annual wage was $70340.
An optician is a person who helps people find and fit eyeglasses or contacts. They do this by following prescriptions from optometrists and ophthalmologists. By 2029, there will be more than 3,000 optician positions. In May 2019, the median annual salary for this occupation was $37.840.
Working with patients to help them live healthier lives can be extremely rewarding, as any dietitian or nutritionist will know. This job is expected to grow by more than 8 per cent by 2029. There are many backgrounds for nutritionists and dieticians, but a degree in science or health will be helpful. In May 2019, the median annual wage was $61,270.
While audiologists require an advanced degree, they don’t need a medical degree. They typically hold master’s degrees. They earn an average salary of $77,000. There is expected to be a 13 per cent increase in national opportunities for hearing and balance specialists between 2019 and 2029.
With the right training, a general internist can make around $201,440 per year. Internal medicine doctors serve as non-surgical specialists in treating injuries and diseases to the internal organs of adult patients.
The professionals in this field of healthcare career profession perform diagnostic imaging examinations on patients. MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images.
MRI technologists also need several years of related work experience. Most states require radiologic technologists to be licensed or certified, but few states require licensure for MRI technologists. Regardless of state requirements, employers typically require or prefer to hire technologists who are certified.
MRI technologists work alongside doctors with the most advanced medical equipment to diagnose and treat patients. New MRI technologists can get an associate’s degree and be able to enter this highly-paid field, which is expected to grow by 7 per cent by 2029. According to the BLS, MRI technologists earn a median annual salary of $73,410.
Although veterinarians don’t have the same job outlook as their technicians, they can still expect a higher-than-average salary. A veterinarian’s median annual salary is $95,460. 16 per cent growth is predicted through 2029. In 2029, more than 14,200 new jobs will be created.
Working with patients with cancer and those with serious illnesses can be challenging, but rewarding. Radiation therapists are paid a median of $85,560 annually for their hard work. There will be 1,300 new jobs in radiation therapy by 2029. This job requires only a short amount of education. This job is usually for two years.
These doctors are among the most caring. These doctors can be found in hospitals, clinics and emergency rooms as well as other speciality centres. In May 2019, the median (average) annual salary for a paediatrician was $184,000.
A psychiatrist is a doctor who has been specially trained to treat mental and other psychological disorders. The average salary for psychiatrists is more than $220,000. This can vary depending on where they are located, their expertise and the type of practice. Psychiatrists are usually doctors in their respective fields. They also manage their own practices where they have professional relationships with many clients.
Laboratory Technician: This field is also experiencing rapid growth. This healthcare career, which specializes in fitting, repairing, and constructing eyeglasses, is expected to increase by 8 per cent between 2029-2029. Ophthalmic technicians can also help eye doctors in-office procedures, such as scheduling appointments and counselling patients. In May 2019, their median annual salary was $37,370.
Orthotist and Prosthetist
Orthotists and prosthetists (or O&P professionals) design devices to support patients with medical needs, including prosthetics. These skills are expected to grow by 17 per cent through 2029, which is faster than the average. O&P professionals must always hold a master’s degree and have completed an internship before being hired in this field. In May 2019, the median annual wage was $68,410
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Although a nuclear medicine technologist is not required to have an advanced degree, they are among the most highly paid healthcare professions.
However, an associate’s degree and 1,300 hours of practice are required. This healthcare career will see strong growth (5 per cent nationally by 2029), but jobs are more concentrated in certain areas, such as California or the District of Columbia. These skilled professionals make an average of $77,950 per annum, or $37.48 an hour.
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