However, alongside hard work and dedication, a college education also requires a lot of invested personal time that a lot of people’s busy schedules do not allot. Fortunately, as the second option to graduating with a 4-year bachelor’s degree, people have the choice to chop that time in half and graduate with a 2-year associate’s degree. Nevertheless, when compared to the benefits of a bachelor’s degree, earning an associate’s degree can present good paying opportunities for employment in the medical field.
Pursuing an associate’s degree for the purpose of applying it to obtain a career within the medical field is perhaps one of the best decisions that anyone could ever make. Employment within the medical field is proven to be most promising due to the long-term high demand in variety and number of medical jobs. Statistically, the job growth rate for careers within the medical field is expected to increase by 23% over the next ten years—estimated to bring in about 974,000 new medical jobs.
Ease of Accessibility and Tuition Programs
Today, earning an associate’s degree is easier than ever. Now people have the comfort and flexibility of enrolling in an online program to earn their degree. Rather than having to find the time to actually attend a physical institution, individuals can create their own schedules online and complete their coursework at their own leisure. In addition to the ease of accessibility of earning a degree, prospective students also have the opportunity to receive either free or reduced tuition (dependent upon the state) if a 2.0 or 3.0 GPA is maintained while enrolled at a two-year (associate’s degree program) community college or technical school.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the most rewarding careers within the medical field—ranging from highest median salary to lowest—are as follows:
1. Laboratory Technician
The demand and pay for Laboratory Technicians remains to be one of the highest in the field because the position is needed in a variety of settings—hospitals, physician offices, clinics, and medical laboratories. Under the title of this position, technicians are required to perform routine testing on various biological or chemistry-related samples. The job market projects that this career of choice within the medical field is expected to yield a 16% increase in growth and a median salary of $49,310/yr over the next decade.
2. Food Services Manager
Although the title of Food Services Manager doesn’t typically come to mind when one thinks about careers in the medical field, this position happens to be one of the most rewarding within the field. Being a Food Services Manager within the healthcare field is a very vital role because the position entails ensuring the health of patients directly. It is the duty of the Food Services Manager to work with dieticians, nutritionists, and all other medical staff to ensure that all food, drinks, and equipment are prepared accurately and that all meals are customized to the dietary needs of the patient. The Food Services Manager must also oversee staff to ensure compliance with the standards that are set for health and food safety. An earned two-year degree to pursue this career is rewarded with an average salary of $48,560/yr with a growth rate of 5% over the next ten years.
3. Occupational Health and Safety Technician
Just like Laboratory Technicians, Occupational Health and Safety Technicians work in a variety of settings as well. However, in addition to the usual settings, job placement for this position also includes working in a manufacturing setting and the government. The responsibility of an Occupational Health and Safety Technician is to ensure that all patients and employees are safe from any hazardous materials by making sure that these materials are properly disposed of. Statistics for this position project a job growth rate of 9% and an average salary of $48,120/yr.
4. Medical Equipment Technician
Being that medical technology is rapidly advancing, choosing to become a Medical Equipment Technician is proven to be very rewarding as well. The role for this position entails overseeing and maintaining the calibration, installation, repair, and preventative maintenance on medical equipment. Medical Equipment Technicians are expected to work in manufacturing, home health agencies, and hospitals. The position has a median salary of $45,600/yr at a growth of 6% over the next ten years.
5. Surgical Technologist
Surgical Technologists perform their duties as members of surgical teams. Surgical Technologists work to assist both physicians and nurses before surgery, during surgery, and after surgery. Surgical Technologists average out at about $43,350/yr with a ten-year job growth rate of 15%.
6. Licensed Practical Nurse Practitioner (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
Opting to pursue being either an LPN or LVN is choice that yields the most stability in terms of employment. The field of nursing within healthcare is perhaps the most highly demanded position there is. LPN and LVN both work under the supervision of a BSN or physician. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these positions have a median salary of $42,490 and an expected job growth rate of 16% over the next ten years.
7. Anesthesia Technician
With a job growth rate increase of 15% over the next decade, the need for Anesthesia Technicians is not only considered to be one of the highest demanded positions in the medical field, but they are also considered to be some of the highest paid positions. The role of the Anesthesia Technician is to work with the anesthesiologist to properly prepare the medical equipment that is used for anesthesia. These technicians earn on average $43,350/yr.
8. Medical Secretary and Administrative Assistant
The role of the Medical Secretary and Administrative Assistant is considered to be one of the most flexible positions within the medical field because the position is available in all aspects of the healthcare field. This type of secretary and assistant work is required within a medical office setting to complete administrative duties. On average they make $35,970/yr.
9. Medical Records and Health Information Management Technician
This job title carries the responsibility of ensuring the security and accuracy of medical records of patients. With a 15% job growth increase that is expected to occur within the next decade, this position averages out at about $35,900/yr.
10. Medical Coder
Being a Medical Coder is another well-known position in the medical field. With the estimation of earnings averaging to be about $35,900/yr and an expected 15% increase in the job growth rate within the next decade, the role of the medical coder is to oversee the proper coding as determined by the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) for both the treatment and diagnoses of diseases within patients.
11. Cancer Registrar
The Cancer Registrar aids in the collection of cancer patient data that is submitted to both the state and the federal government. Earnings within this position have a median salary of $35,900/yr. Nevertheless, this position is projected to have a job growth rate increase by 15% over the next ten years as well.
12. Dental Assistant
Dental Assistants help with performing x-rays, sterilizing dental instruments and equipment, and ensuring the comfort of dental patients. The demand for these assistants is estimated to reach an 18% increase for the job growth rate within the market in ten years and earns an averages salary of $35,390/yr.
13. Medical Transcriptionist
A Medical Transcriptionist is required to listen to the recordings of physicians concerning patient care and convert the information into documents for use on patient charts. The median salary for this position is $34,750/yr.
14. Dental, Ophthalmic and Medical Devices Technician
These types of technicians are responsible for the repair, fitting, and make of dental prosthetics and eyewear. Specifically within this field, there is an estimated increase in the ten-year job growth rate by 10% and the position earns a median salary of $33,430/yr.
15. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic
EMTs and Paramedics are highly trained to administer first aid as first responders in emergency medical situations. They also carry the critical responsibility of transferring accurate medical information to physicians and staff. As estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for EMTs and Paramedics is expected to skyrocket within the next ten years with a job rate increase of 24%. EMTs and Paramedics earn an average of $31,700/yr.
16. Veterinary Technician
Surprisingly, the need for Veterinary Technicians ranks in among the top medical professions pursued with an associate’s degree. Veterinary Techs work in clinics, schools, and laboratories to nurse and provide medical assistance to sick animals. The demand for positions within this field projects a ten-year job growth rate of 19% and a median salary of $31,070/yr.
Within hospitals, clinical, and physician office settings, a Phlebotomist is accountable for the drawing and accurate labeling of blood samples. There is a staggering 25% increase in the job growth rate for positions within this field over the next ten years. Phlebotomists earn a median salary of $30,670/yr.
18. Pharmacy Technician
The duties of a Pharmacy Technician include working under a Pharmacist to fill, package, and also label prescription orders. Pharmacy Techs have an estimated 9% job growth increase within ten years and are known to average out at about $29,820/yr.
19. Medical Assistant
Being a Medical Assistant consists of a variety of responsibilities including gathering patient information, assisting with patient exams, and preparing biological samples for laboratory testing. The demand for Medical Assistants is expected to increase by 23% in ten years. Medical Assistants have a median salary of $29,960/yr.
20. Psychiatric Assistant
Psychiatric Assistants work within hospital and clinical settings and are responsible for monitoring and reporting patient behavior and condition. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the career of a Psychiatric Assistant is expected to yield an average of $28,470/yr.
View our medical jobs here