Top 11 Nursing Related Health Care Careers in high demand in the U.S.
A career in nursing isn’t the only job in high demand. Health care jobs, in general, are also increasing in demand across the country, especially in rural areas where primary healthcare is lacking. You could spend years in school to become a registered nurse, or you could only need a couple months of training. Before you decide which path to take, you need to know what kinds of jobs you have to choose from. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top 11 nursing related health care jobs. The employment level, pay rates, and other information on this list are courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates.
1. Health Technologist
Health technologists, also known as health technicians, handle a wide assortment of tasks in the medical field. They can do everything from writing down medical histories to conducting diagnostic tests. Health technologists may work in some of the specialized fields listed further down on this list, finding employment in emergency rooms, hospitals, doctor’s offices, veterinary clinics, nursing homes, and more. This is a great entry-level career if you’re not sure where you want to be in the medical field yet.
- Annual Salary – Hourly Wage: $44,480 a year – $21.39 an hour
- Suggested Education: Certificate of Health Technology or on-the-job training
- Employed Workers in the U.S.: 2,849,330
2. Registered Nurse
Registered nurses work in hospitals, clinics, and other facilities to provide basic patient care. These men and women are responsible for monitoring patients during long term stay in the hospital, and many of them supervise over lower-level nurses. Most RNs spend about four years in college earning their degrees, but some manage to find jobs with only a two-year bachelor’s degree. The BLS estimates the job growth for this profession at 19% between 2012 and 2022, which could lead to additional 526,800 jobs for RNs in America. Start your education now and you could soon be applying for one of them.
- Annual Salary – Hourly Wage: $68,910 a year – $33.13 an hour
- Suggested Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Associate of Science in Nursing (rare)
- Employed Workers in the U.S.: 2,661,890
3. Nursing Assistant
Nursing assistants help registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare workers during their daily duties. They may be responsible for checking a patient’s vital signs, organizing medical equipment, giving patients sponge baths, and more. Nursing assistants often work in home health clinics, nursing homes, and similar facilities where they take care of elderly patients who cannot complete certain tasks on their own. Nursing assistants may run errands and do chores for these patients as part of their job requirements.
- Annual Salary – Hourly Wage: $26,020 a year – $12.51 an hour
- Suggested Education: Associate of Science in Nursing, Certificate of Nursing Assistance, or on-the-job training
- Employed Workers in the U.S.: 1,427,830
4. Home Health Aide
Home health aides help patients who cannot leave their homes due to illness, injury, or mental disabilities. These workers help patients keep clean, take medication, fix food, and do other tasks they may not be able to do on their own. Most home health aides travel from one patient to the next, offering different services to different patients throughout the day.
- Annual Salary – Hourly Wage: $22,050 a year – $10.60 an hour
- Suggested Education: Certificate of Nursing Assistance or on-the-job training
- Employed Workers in the U.S.: 806,710
5. Licensed Practical Nurse
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). They work alongside registered nurses and other health staff members in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and more. LPNs offer basic nursing care for their patients, which may include administering medicine, checking vital signs, drawing blood, and keeping patient records for other workers. Some people use this career as a transition to registered nursing, and others stick with it their entire lives.
- Annual Salary – Hourly Wage: $42,910 a year – $20.63 an hour
- Suggested Education: Diploma of Nursing, Associate of Science in Nursing
- Employed Workers in the U.S.: 705,200
6. Certified Medical Assistant
A certified medical assistant is the clerical worker of the healthcare industry. Medical assistants take on the secretarial roles in this industry, like answering phone calls and scheduling appointments. Most medical assistants are able to earn a degree in medical assisting in less than two years, and then they move on to pass their Certified Medical Administrative Assistant exam. This is enough to get a job just about anywhere.
- Annual Salary – Hourly Wage: $30,780 a year – $14.80 an hour
- Suggested Education: Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
- Employed Workers in the U.S.: 571,690
7. Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists take care of their patients. They have to know about drug names, uses, side effects, and more to ensure the safety of the patients they work with. While they do not need to know nearly as much as pharmacists need to know, they at least have to be familiar with a wide range of medications they come across. They must also know about other medical technology so they can properly notate a patient’s account.
- Annual Salary – Hourly Wage: $30,840 a year – $14.83 an hour
- Suggested Education: Certificate of Pharmacy Technology or on-the-job training
- Employed Workers in the U.S.: 362,690
8. Social and Human Service Assistant
Social and human service assistants help social workers and other human service employees in their day to day tasks. Some of them take on clerical duties in a social worker’s office, and others get to be more involved with patient care. Many of these men and women find employment through government offices, non-profit organizations, and private social service agencies. This job may require odd working hours and responsibilities, but that work results in a positive impact on human life.
- Annual Salary – Hourly Wage: $31,280 a year – $15.04 an hour
- Suggested Education: Certificate of Social Service or on-the-job training
- Employed Workers in the U.S.: 355,500
9. Diagnostic Technician
A diagnostic technician is a lab worker who helps a diagnostician get the data he or she needs to create a diagnosis. These men and women spend most of their days running tests on behalf of the diagnostician. People in this career often use their experience to help them further their medical education. Many of them go on to become surgeons and physicians.
- Annual Salary – Hourly Wage: $59,750 a year – $28.73 an hour
- Suggested Education: Certificate of Healthcare Technology or on-the-job training
- Employed Workers in the U.S.: 355,290
10. Clinical Laboratory Technician
Clinical laboratory technicians, also known as lab techs, are responsible for administering tests in health care facilities. These exams can range from basic drug tests to detailed DNA tests. Clinical laboratory technicians must collect samples of fluids and tissues to use in their testing, and then they record their findings for physicians and surgeons to assess. Lab techs can work in crime labs, emergency rooms, hospitals, clinics, and more.
- Annual Salary – Hourly Wage: $50,020 a year – $24.05 an hour
- Suggested Education: Associate of Science in Biology, Associate of Science in Chemistry, Associate of Science in Pre-Medicine
- Employed Workers in the U.S.: 319,720
11. Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are the clerical workers of the dental industry. They work with patients much like nurses do, but they are more like administrative assistants than caretakers. Dental assistants may maintain patient records, prepare patients for dental cleanings, schedule appointments, and more. Dental assisting jobs are expected to grow faster than most other jobs over the next decade, so there should be plenty of jobs out there for you.
- Annual Salary – Hourly Wage: $35,640 a year – $17.13 an hour
- Suggested Education: Associate of Science in Dental Assisting, Bachelor of Science in Dentistry
- Employed Workers in the U.S.: 309,540