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The Best Medical Jobs That Don't Require a Degree

US News & World Report -  Money logo US News & World Report - Money 1/26/2021 Maryalene LaPonsie
a woman talking on a cell phone: Senior woman visited by home care specialist © (Getty Images) Senior woman visited by home care specialist

Health care is a fast-growing field with diverse employment opportunities. While you may think you'll need an advanced education for these positions, there are a number of health care and health care support jobs open to those without a degree.

We searched the 100 Best Jobs list to find positions that are available to those with either a high school diploma or a postsecondary non-degree, which is often short-term training that results in a certificate or similar credential.

Here are nine great health care jobs that will let you help others without spending years in college.

  • Home Health Aide.
  • Personal Care Aide.
  • Phlebotomist.
  • Massage Therapist.
  • Medical Assistant.
  • Physical Therapist Aide.
  • Esthetician and Skincare Specialist.
  • Dental Assistant.
  • Ophthalmic Medical Technician.

Read on to learn more about each occupation. Salary data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Home Health Aide

Median Salary: $25,280

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. While some community colleges have training programs for home health aides, a high school diploma is sufficient for most positions.

Learn more about home health aides.

Personal Care Aide

Median Salary: $25,280

Education Required: High school

Personal care aides also provide in-home care to seniors and those with chronic conditions or disabilities. Also known as caregivers or personal care attendants, their jobs typically don't include any medical care. Instead, personal care aides may complete tasks such as housekeeping, driving and providing companionship. A high school diploma is the standard level of education for this career.

Learn more about personal care aides.

Phlebotomist

Median Salary: $35,510

Education Required: Postsecondary non-degree

For those who are comfortable around blood, jobs for phlebotomists are expected to grow much faster than average in the coming years, according to the BLS. These professionals draw blood for testing, and workers typically learn this skill by completing a short-term certificate program at a community college, technical or vocational school. Industry organizations, such as the National Phlebotomy Association, offer professional credentials to workers as well.

Learn more about phlebotomists.

Massage Therapist

Median Salary: $42,820

Education Required: Postsecondary non-degree

Massage therapists help people relieve stress, heal from injuries and improve overall well-being by manipulating muscles and soft tissue. These workers can find employment in a variety of settings, including physician offices and spas. They may also choose to be self-employed and set up their own practice. Most states regulate massage therapy and require people to complete an approved non-degree training program before they can begin working in this occupation.

Learn more about massage therapists.

Medical Assistant

Median Salary: $34,800

Education Required: Postsecondary non-degree

Medical assistants play a critical role in many medical offices, and their work is part administrative, part clinical. These health care professionals measure vital signs, gather patient history details, schedule appointments and, as allowed by law, administer injections. While some medical assistants learn via on-the-job training, employers may prefer to hire those who have completed a medical assisting program. These can often be finished in less than a year and are offered by community colleges, technical schools and similar institutions.

Learn more about medical assistants.

Physical Therapist Aide

Median Salary: $27,000

Education Required: High school

With many people relying on physical therapy to recover from injuries or illnesses, physical therapist aide jobs are expected to grow much faster than average. These workers are responsible for cleaning therapy equipment, helping patients to therapy areas and making appointments. Physical therapy aides generally only need a high school diploma although they may also receive some brief on-the-job training.

Learn more about physical therapist aides.

Esthetician and Skincare Specialist

Median Salary: $34,090

Education Required: Postsecondary non-degree

From removing unwanted hair to applying makeup, estheticians and skincare specialists provide a wide range of services. They may evaluate a client's skin, recommend products and provide facials and neck and face massages. Virtually all states require estheticians and skincare specialists to be licensed, according to the BLS. That typically means people must complete a state-approved education program and pass a licensure exam before they can work in this profession.

Learn more about esthetician and skincare specialists.

Dental Assistant

Median Salary: $40,080

Education Required: Postsecondary non-degree

Dental assistants may have diverse duties as part of their jobs. They may schedule appointments, process X-rays and help dentists with various procedures. Some states require dental assistants to complete an accredited program, and these may result in a diploma or certificate. Other states have no formal education requirements, but some employers may still prefer to hire job candidates with previous training or experience.

Learn more about dental assistants.

Ophthalmic Medical Technician

Median Salary: $36,940

Education Required: Postsecondary non-degree

When patients have an eye exam, an ophthalmic medical technician may be the first person they meet. These professionals often do an initial patient intake, including testing vision, measuring eye pressure and administering eye drops. Ophthalmic medical technicians can be trained on the job or complete a formal education program that results in a diploma or certificate. Professional certification is also available through the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology.

Learn more about ophthalmic medical technicians.

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