high-paying medical jobs with little schooling

6 High-Paying Healthcare and Medical Jobs with Little Schooling

The medical field is one of the fastest growing and fastest evolving fields. It is full of highly-respected professionals who dedicate their days to helping people in need. If you are looking for a career that makes an impact, you may be wondering how you can get into the medical field—but do so relatively fast. We are amidst a global pandemic and some of the biggest milestones in healthcare. Like many individuals, you may be looking for a way to get involved as soon as possible. At the same time, you want to ensure you’ll be making a comfortable living while there. You are not alone!

The good news is, you do not always need to have a doctorate degree or complete a residency in order to land a high-paying medical career. In fact, there are many rewarding and high-paying healthcare jobs out there that require very little schooling to get started.

Below are the top six healthcare pathways we identified that require an associate degree or less. This means you can get started in a medical career you love, with strong salary potential, in a matter of a couple years and with just a small investment in school. The best part? All of these careers are in-demand, and are expected to grow along with the greater healthcare field.

1. Radiation Therapists

Degree Required: Associate Degree

National Average Salary: $86,850 per year

Connecticut Average Salary: $102,000 per year

Radiation therapists help treat cancer and other diseases in patients by administering radiation therapy. Radiation therapy helps shrink and remove tumors using specialized equipment. These therapists can be found working in hospitals, outpatient centers, or private practices. Often, Radiation therapists work as part of an oncology team. Typically, Radiation therapists need to complete an associate degree in radiation therapy and certification before landing this role.

2. Dental Hygienists

Degree Required: Associate Degree

National Average Salary: $77,090 annually

Connecticut Average Salary: $85,610

Dental hygienists examine patients for oral diseases and provide preventive dental care and cleanings for patients regularly. They help remove plaque and tartar from patients’ teeth, apply protectants like fluoride, take dental x-rays, and educate patients about proper oral hygiene techniques. They use many complex tools and conduct very detailed work, meaning that training is critical for aspiring hygienists. Today, dental hygienists need to have at least an associate degree in dental hygiene and licensure.

3. Registered Nurses

Degree Required: Associate Degree

National Average Salary: $75,330 annually

Connecticut Average Salary: $84,850 annually

Registered nurses, commonly called RNs, provide and coordinate care for patients who are sick, injured, and disabled. They assess patient symptoms, conduct examinations, operate medical equipment, perform diagnostic tests, administer medications, and set up plans for patients’ care. Nurses are often seen as the backbone of the healthcare field and, in turn, receive a rewarding salary. Today, nurses must have at least an associate degree in nursing. Some employers seek RNs with a bachelor’s degree (BSN).

4. Respiratory Therapists

Degree Required: Associate Degree

National Average Salary: $62,810 annually

Connecticut Average Salary: $71,530 annually

Much like their name entails, respiratory therapists treat patients who have trouble breathing. For example, they help care for patients with asthma, emphysema, and other chronic respiratory illnesses. Some respiratory therapists played a big role during the outbreak of COVID-19. Respiratory therapists are well-versed on operating advanced medical equipment like ventilators. Therefore, they require training in this field of work. Respiratory therapists need a specialized degree in respiratory therapy, which can be completed at the associate level. They also need to be licensed to practice in most states.

5. Occupational Therapy Assistants

Degree Required: Associate Degree

National Average Salary: $60,950 annually

Connecticut Average Salary: $68,780 annually

Occupational therapy assistants, commonly referred to as OTAs, help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living. They provide both physical and mental therapies, as well as create activities, that are designed to help patients develop or re-develop very specific skill sets. For example, an OTA may help a patient recover movement of his fingers after a hand injury. An OTA may also help patients who have been in wheelchairs learn how to lift themselves to and from the bed or car. Because occupational therapy is highly specialized, aspiring OTAs need to have at least an associate degree in occupational therapy assisting.

6. Histology Technicians

Degree Required: Postsecondary Certificate

National Average Salary: $45,620 to $54,180 annually

Connecticut Average Salary: $69,340 annually

A histology technician, or histotechnician, prepares biological samples (such as cells and tissues) for examination under a microscope. Histotechnologists, meanwhile, prepare and test these samples to aid in diagnoses. Both professionals are extremely important in detecting abnormalities in cells and tissues, which is key for diagnosis and treatment. Typically, histology technicians – and other clinical laboratory technicians – require at least a postsecondary certificate and training to get started. Some employers require an associate degree in their field of work. Due to the expanded responsibilities of a histology technologist, a bachelor’s degree is typically required to get started. However, a bachelor’s degree positions technologists for higher pay potential. Discover the flexible options here.

Which Healthcare Career is Right for You?

If you are seeking to get into a medical job with little schooling, rest assured you have a variety of options available to you. Of course, the more you invest into your education, the greater reward you can expect to reap upon graduation day. Many employers and professionals will tell you that your earning potential increases with a bachelor’s or graduate degree. However, as you can see above, the opportunities with an associate degree should not be underestimated. With just two years of schooling, you can walk away with a readiness to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant, or a Respiratory Therapist, and earn over $50,000 per year. In Connecticut, the salary potential for medical and healthcare jobs is even greater.

Are you ready to get started? Think about how you want to make an impact, where your interests lie, which demographics you wish to help, and how much time you can commit to getting there. If you would like to launch a healthcare career in Connecticut, do not hesitate to contact Goodwin University. Goodwin is a leader in healthcare education with highly flexible degree programs available. Contact 800-889-3282 to learn more, or visit us online to request more information.