14 Highest Paying Medical Jobs with an Associate’s Degree in Healthcare

Associate’s degrees in healthcare can take graduates on a quick path to a career. The four-year degree path is not for everyone, but fortunately, you can get many medical jobs with an associate’s degree under your belt. Associate’s degrees typically only take two years to complete and can cost significantly less than bachelor’s degrees. Below is a list of the 14 highest paying healthcare jobs with an associate’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Radiation Therapists

  • Job Summary- Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases using machines called linear accelerators. They are responsible for protecting themselves and their patients from overexposure to radiation. Radiation therapists also monitor patients to keep track of unusual reactions to treatment.
  • Median Annual Wage- In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage of radiation therapists was $79,140.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of radiation therapists is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate of 24% from 2012 to 2022.

2. Nuclear Medicine Technologists

  • Job Summary- A nuclear medicine technologist uses a scanner to create images of various parts of a patient’s body. They may also prepare radioactive drugs and then administer them to patients who undergo these scans.
  • Median Annual Wage- In 2013, the median annual wage of nuclear medicine technologists was $71,120, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of nuclear medicine technologists is projected to grow at a faster than average rate of 20% from 2012 to 2022.

3. Dental Hygienists

  • Job Summary- Dental hygienists clean patients’ teeth, examine their teeth and gums for signs of oral disease, and provide preventive dental care. They also educate patients regarding how to improve and maintain their oral health.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for dental hygienists was $71,110 in May 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow 33% from 2012 to 2022, which is a much faster than average rate.

4. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

  • Job Summary- Diagnostic medical sonographers specialize in performing sonograms and ultrasounds, which create images of the body’s tissues and organs. Typically, sonograms are the first imaging tests performed when disease is suspected.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, diagnostic medical sonographers earned a median annual wage of $66,410 in 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to grow 46% from 2012 to 2022, which is a rate that is much faster than average.

5. Registered Nurses

  • Job Summary- Registered nurses provide and coordinate patient care. They do a lot of hands-on work, administer shots, draw blood, clean wounds, and record heart rates. Nurses also educate and provide emotional support to patients and their families.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of registered nurses was $66,220 in 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of registered nurses is projected to grow at a faster than average rate of 19% from 2012 to 2022.

6. Radiologic and MRI Technologists

  • Job Summary- Radiologic and MRI technologists perform diagnostic imaging exams, such as x-rays and MRI scans. They typically prepare patients for procedures, operate the computerized equipment to capture images, and work with physicians to evaluate the images.
  • Median Annual Wage- The median annual wage of radiologic technologists was $55,200, while MRI technologists earned $66,050, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Projected Growth- From 2012 to 2022, the BLS reports that the employment of radiologic technologists is projected to grow 21% and that or MRI technologists is should grow 24%.

7. Respiratory Therapists

  • Job Summary- Respiratory therapists care for patients with breathing problems, like asthma. Respiratory therapists may perform diagnostic tests, consult with physicians to develop treatment plans, and treat patients using a variety of methods.
  • Median Annual Wage- In 2013, respiratory therapists earned a median annual wage of $56,290.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 19% from 2012 to 2022.

8. Occupational Therapist Assistants

  • Job Summary- Occupational therapist assistants help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills they need for day-to-day life and work. They may help patients do therapeutic activities, like stretches, or teach them how to use special equipment.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapist assistants earned a median annual wage of $55,270 in 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of occupational therapist assistants is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate of 43% from 2012 to 2022.

9. Physical Therapist Assistants

  • Job Summary- Physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of physical therapists. They help patients recover from injuries and illnesses, manage pain, and regain movement.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapist assistants earned a median annual wage of $53,360 in 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of physical therapist assistants is expected to grow 41% from 2012 to 2022, which is a rate that is much faster than average.

10. Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians

  • Job Summary- Cardiovascular technologists and technicians create images, conduct tests, and assist with surgical procedures that involve the heart. Their duties may include monitoring patients’ heart rates, helping physicians diagnose and treat heart problems, and using ultrasound equipment to examine the heart or perform electrocardiogram (EKG) testing.
  • Median Annual Wage- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that cardiovascular technologists and technicians earned a median annual wage of $53,210.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians is projected to grow at a much faster than average rate of 30% from 2012 to 2022.

11. Surgical Technologists

  • Job Summary- Surgical technologists, also known as operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Surgical technologists help prepare patients and operating rooms for surgery, sterilize and arrange equipment, and help surgeons during surgery by passing them instruments and other supplies.
  • Median Annual Wage- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for surgical technologists was $42,720 in 2013.
  • Projected Growth- From 2012 to 2022, the employment of surgical technologists is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate of 30%.

12. Medical Laboratory Technicians

  • Job Summary- Medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests in a medical laboratory. They analyze body tissue, fluids, and other substances.
  • Median Annual Wage- In 2013, the median annual wage for medical laboratory technicians was $37,970.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of medical laboratory technicians is expected to grow 30% from 2012 to 2022.

13. Paramedics

  • Job Summary- Paramedics care for the sick and injured in emergency situations. They respond to emergency calls and are relied on to provide quick and competent care.
  • Median Annual Wage- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage of paramedics was $31,270 in 2013.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of paramedics is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate of 23% from 2012 to 2022.

14. Veterinary Technicians

  • Job Summary- Veterinary technicians perform medical tests under the supervision of licensed veterinarians. They help veterinarians diagnose illnesses and injuries in animals.
  • Median Annual Wage- In 2013, the median annual wage of veterinary technologists and technicians was $30,500, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Projected Growth- The employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate of 30% from 2012 to 2022.

Associate’s Degrees in Healthcare Can Go a Long Way

There is no need to sacrifice many years of your life to earn a degree. Going to a community college or vocational/technical school to get an associate’s degree will save you both time and money. If you would like to earn a great living without giving up years of your life to go back to school, consider pursuing one of these above medical jobs with an associate’s degree in hand.