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12 of the best-paying non-doctor healthcare jobs (with salaries)

12 of the best-paying non-doctor healthcare jobs (with salaries)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost half of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in the United States are in the healthcare sector. None are for medical doctors, indicating a rapidly increasing need for healthcare professionals outside the physician's role. If you're interested in making a difference in health care, consider this list of 12 best-paying non-doctor healthcare jobs on the market. 

Diagnostic medical sonographer

Average salary: $68,000 per year

What they do: Diagnostic medical sonographers operate machines that use high-frequency sound waves to create images of internal tissues and organs.

Minimum requirements: In most cases, you need at least an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography. Professional certification will improve your candidacy and increase your odds of career advancement.

Dental hygienist

Average salary: $85,000 per year

What they do: Dental hygienists play a supporting role in dental offices. Their duties include assessing oral health, cleaning teeth, taking and developing X-rays, and educating patients on preventive oral hygiene.

Minimum requirements: An associate of science degree in dental hygiene is the minimum education requirement. You'll also need a state dental hygienist license.

Epidemiologist

Average salary:  $86,000 per year

What they do: Epidemiologists work in public health care, investigating how diseases occur and spread. Their work helps minimize public health risks and contain health emergencies.

Minimum requirements: Epidemiologists usually need at least a master's degree in a relevant discipline, such as in public health, with a specialization in epidemiology.

Registered nurse

Average salary:  $89,000 per year

What they do: RNs provide direct patient care. Their duties include taking medical histories, monitoring and recording patient conditions, administering medications, and providing health advice. 

Minimum requirements: A bachelor of science degree in nursing and a state-issued nursing license are the minimum requirements to become an RN.

Speech-language pathologist

Average salary: $89,500 per year

What they do: Speech-language pathologists diagnose, treat, and assist patients with disorders affecting their speech, language, voice, or fluency. That includes issues with swelling and verbal communication.

Minimum requirements: To practice this profession, you'll need a master's degree in speech-language pathology and a state-issued license.

Occupational therapist

Average salary: $93,000 per year

What they do: Occupational therapists help people regain function and independence after a debilitating illness or injury. They teach patients how to regain their motor skills or adapt to their new limitations. 

Minimum requirements: To become an occupational therapist, you'll need a master's degree in occupational therapy and a state license.

Physical therapist

Average salary: $98,000 per year

What they do: Physical therapists help people manage pain or improve mobility after an illness or injury. This field differs from occupational therapy because it focuses primarily on movement rather than daily activities.

Minimum requirements: The minimum requirements to be a physical therapist are a doctor of physical therapy degree and state licensure.

Radiation therapist

Average salary: $98,500 per year

What they do: Radiation therapists administer controlled doses of radiation to treat illnesses such as cancer.

Minimum requirements: You'll need at least an associate degree in radiation therapy to become a radiation therapist. Most states also require licensure or certification.

Advanced practice registered nurse

Average salary: $128,490 per year

What they do: APRNs include nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives. They're similar to RNs in that they deliver direct patient care, but they have more specialized knowledge and training. In most states, APRNs have the authority to conduct physician-like duties, such as prescribing medications, ordering tests, and diagnosing health conditions. Because of their higher levels of expertise, advanced practice nursing is one of the best-paying non-physician healthcare jobs. 

Minimum requirements: You must have RN and APRN licenses and a master's degree in advanced practice nursing.

"In most states, APRNs have the authority to conduct physician-like duties, such as prescribing medications, ordering tests, and diagnosing health conditions. Because of their higher levels of expertise, advanced practice nursing is one of the best-paying non-physician health care jobs."

Physician assistant

Average salary: $130,490 per year

What they do: Physician assistants are authorized to examine, diagnose, and administer treatments to patients under a physician's supervision. They often specialize in fields such as primary care and emergency medicine.

Minimum requirements: Physician assistants enter the field with a master's degree in physician assistant studies and state licensure. 

Medical and health services manager

Average salary: $134,440 per year

What they do: Medical and health services managers direct and coordinate the medical services of health care departments or organizations. Their duties include budgeting, setting productivity and quality assurance goals, overseeing regulatory compliance, and supervising the medical staff.

Minimum requirements: You can become a medical and health services manager with a bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline, such as health administration or business. Therefore, it's one of the best-paying medical jobs without an MD or master's-level education. Licensure is universally required only for nursing home administrators. Otherwise, licensing requirements vary from state to state. 

Pharmacist

Average salary: $134,790 per year

What they do: Pharmacists are key healthcare team members, as they're responsible for dispensing the prescription medications that help patients overcome health conditions. They also administer important immunizations and liaise with other healthcare professionals to help select and dose medications to optimize health outcomes.

Minimum requirements: To become a pharmacist, you'll need a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.). Accredited Pharm.D. programs typically require you to fulfill undergraduate prerequisites, which include anatomy, physiology, physics, and statistics. After earning your degree, you'll also require a state pharmacist license.

Whatever your preference for high-paying non-doctor healthcare jobs, you can attract the right employers with a well-crafted resume. One of the best ways to do so is to upload your resume to CareerBuilder, which can expose you to a large audience of healthcare employers.

More tips about pursuing a healthcare career

Many healthcare jobs look similar on paper but differ in practice. To choose the right career, you should know what distinguishes one from the others — for example, a nurse practitioner versus a physician assistant.

If you're more interested in helping our animal companions lead longer, healthier lives, you may want to consider a career in animal health care.