Although it is no secret that healthcare positions are highly stable, lucrative and rewarding careers, many exciting Nursing | Student Caringoccupations in healthcare are lesser known. Due to the Affordable Care Act, an aging population and new medical technology, an array of medical facilities, businesses and other areas of care expect to continue to increase the current high demand for trained healthcare workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare employment expects to rise by 20.5 million positions throughout 2020. Despite the current economic downturn, 90 percent of health occupations anticipate rapid growth and continue to offer high salaries. The lesser-known career paths in healthcare definitely deserve a closer look.

Five Overlooked High Paying Healthcare Careers

Pharmacy Technician

Although pharmacy technicians can be trained on-the-job, most elect to complete formal classroom training for three to six months. Studies focus on the actions and purpose of medications, strict labeling laws and the use of electronic dispensing equipment. Depending on your state of practice, you may need to obtain certification through testing by a regulatory agency.

Pharmacy techs work with medications, use medical terminology and safely dispense medicine in local drug store pharmacies, hospitals and medical clinics. The healthcare industry offers the pharmacy tech a stable future and an average yearly salary of $30,430.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

CNAs are one of the fastest growing careers in healthcare and are currently in high demand. As direct healthcare providers, CNAs perform basic patient care, assess the health of their patients and report changes to nurses and doctors in hospitals, nursing homes and many other areas of care. As a CNA, you can enjoy a flexible schedule, numerous job prospects and opportunities for career advancement.

In two to ten weeks of formal classroom training, graduates become certified to practice by testing in their state. The average national income for a CNA in 2010 was $24,010 per year. CNAs can also move into specialized areas of care such as:

  • Medication Technician
  • Phlebotomist
  • School Nurse Assistant
  • Supervisory Roles
  • Home Healthcare


Medical Assistant (MA)

Due to the nursing shortage, physicians and hospital facilities have found the MA to be an invaluable asset to their patients. MAs are experts at multitasking, computer keyboarding and enjoy conversing with their patients. In addition to organizing the physician office, MAs perform blood draws, assist the doctor with examinations and help patients with health insurance forms.

MAs are required by most states and employers to attend 7 to 15 months of formal classroom training and to become certified. The average national salary for an MA in 2010 was $28,860.

Surgical Technician

Surgical or operating room techs have the responsibility to prepare the operating room for surgery, arrange and test surgical equipment and assist the surgical staff during operations. Although the requirements vary by state, most surgical techs are formally trained in secondary certificate programs or obtain associate’s degrees.

The development of advanced medical technology in the operating room has significantly increased the need for trained surgical techs in hospitals, surgery clinics and specialty physician offices. The average salary for this position was $39,920 per year in 2010.

Diagnostic Sonographer Technician

Sonographer techs apply sound waves to the body and are specially trained to read and diagnose the images produced in healthy to critically ill patients. Technicians in this field enjoy talking to their patients, work well independently and have a high attention to detail. This highly specialized field requires an associate’s degree and on-the-job training.

The demand for sonographer techs has increased due to the aging population and the continuing development of new medical diagnostics. The average salary for a sonographer was $64,380 per year in 2010.

By Liz Cook, Content Writer for

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