These 15 Entry-Level Medical Careers Could Bring in More Than $40k a Year

You don’t need a bachelor’s degree for most entry-level medical jobs except doctors and nurses. Jobs like medical assistant and surgical technician only require a high school diploma and certification. These positions are crucial and don’t require expensive or time-consuming training. From registered nurses to occupational therapists, there’s room for growth and higher salaries with additional education and training.

Even without the extra schooling, you’ll be on your way to a career in the thriving healthcare industry. If you’re looking for an accessible and rewarding career path in healthcare, look no further.

What Does Entry-Level Mean?

Entry-level positions refer to those jobs that require little to no experience. These jobs can be excellent starting points in a career path and provide valuable on-the-job training. With entry-level medical positions, many don’t require extra schooling, making them accessible and low-cost options for those wanting to enter the healthcare industry.

Can Anyone Apply for an Entry-Level Medical Job?

Yes, anyone can apply for an entry-level medical job. You’ll need to meet the requirements and qualifications in order to be eligible for the position. Depending on the job, you may need a high school diploma, certification, or licensing. Ensure your skills and qualifications match the employer’s requirements before applying.

15 Entry-Level Medical Jobs

Now that you know the basics of entry-level medical jobs, here are fifteen positions that could bring in up to $40K annually.

Surgical Tech

If you’re not squeamish around hospitals and surgical procedures, becoming a surgical technician could be a lucrative and fulfilling career choice. After just one to two years of education, you can start working in the operating room. Your responsibilities will include preparing patients and the environment for surgery.

Surgical technicians are in high demand because of their multiple skill sets. Surgical Techs are compensated accordingly, with a median salary of $51,000 and the top 10% of earners bringing in over $60,000.

Medical Assistant

Consider becoming a medical assistant if you want to work in a clinical setting without committing years to study while accumulating a mountain of college debt. Completing a certificate program or associate degree that can be accomplished in two years or less will allow you to become a medical assistant.

Medical assistants support doctors and nurses by completing administrative tasks such as checking in patients, scheduling appointments, taking vitals, and ensuring the smooth running of the practice. As a medical assistant, you can earn an annual salary ranging from $36,000 to $43,000, depending on your work location.

Ultra Sound Tech

Interested in healthcare but not a fan of the operating room? Consider becoming a sonographer, also known as an ultrasound technician. As a sonographer, you’ll operate ultrasound imaging equipment to assist doctors in diagnosing and treating patients with conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and pregnancy.

While this role does not involve post-surgery cleanup, it does demand excellent bedside manners. It requires the completion of a certificate program or associate degree. With an average annual salary of $71,000, the earning potential for ultrasound techs is impressive. Discover how you can make a difference in patients’ lives as a sonographer.

Medical Coder

Consider a career in medical coding if you’re interested in healthcare and technology. Medical coders translate medical services into “codes” for patient billing. These roles offer several certifications for advancement, and even entry-level coders can earn around $47,000 per year. More experienced coders can earn up to $68,000 annually. This career path also offers flexibility, as many medical coders can work from a secure computer and may have the option to work remotely or flexible hours while maintaining patient privacy.

Message Therapist

Are you looking for a hands-on career in healthcare? Massage therapy may be the answer. With a one-year certification program, you can earn an average salary of $56,000. Top earners make up to $72,000 in high-cost-of-living states. In addition to the financial benefits, massage therapy is a rewarding way to help patients feel better in a non-clinical setting using the power of touch.

Dialysis Tech

If you’re looking for a well-paying healthcare job that significantly impacts patients, consider becoming a dialysis tech. You must complete a two-year program after high school and receive additional equipment training to qualify. As a dialysis tech, you will operate and regulate dialysis equipment to treat patients with kidney disorders.

Your work environment will be clinical, but your primary focus will be ensuring dialysis treatments run smoothly for patients and operating machinery. Additionally, you’ll work closely with patients to ensure their comfort throughout the process. The national average salary for dialysis techs is over $43,000, with some of the highest earners bringing in up to $53,000.

Dental Assistant

If a trip to the dentist doesn’t scare you and you’re looking for a lucrative career option, consider becoming a dental assistant. With a training period of just nine months to two years (depending on your location), this role can provide you with great opportunities.

Your tasks will include administrative duties like scheduling appointments and working alongside dentists and dental hygienists to help prepare patients for their appointments. The median salary for a dental assistant is $45,000, with the top earners making approximately $53,000. It’s a career choice that can pay off well!

MRI Tech

As an MRI technician with an associate degree, you can earn a handsome salary while playing a vital role in healthcare. Your contribution is invaluable, from guiding patients through imaging procedures to aiding physicians in interpreting findings. The median annual compensation for MRI techs stands at $75,000.

The certification programs, governed by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, vary across states. They span over several weeks for associate degree holders, after which there’s an interim period before you’re certified to commence work.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

If you’re looking for an entry-level role in the medical field, consider becoming an occupational therapy assistant. This position requires no experience and offers a median salary of $56,000. Your job duties will include working with patients to help them learn or relearn the skills needed for everyday activities such as dressing, eating, bathing, and writing. You’ll also help patients improve their mobility, coordination, and cognitive abilities.

Physical Therapy Assistant

If you want to help others recover from injuries and illnesses, consider becoming a physical therapy assistant. You’ll need an associate degree to qualify for this job, which involves working with physical therapists to design personalized patient rehabilitation plans. Your duties might include measuring patients’ temperature and pulse rate, helping patients do exercises, as well as treating wounds, administering massage therapy, and more. The median annual salary for this role stands at $56,000.

Licensed Practical Nurse

The role of an LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse is often entry-level yet high-paying. The national median salary for this position is around $46,000 annually. However, it can vary from state to state, depending on the cost of living. Your responsibilities in this role include providing primary patient care, such as bathing and dressing patients, monitoring vital signs, and providing medication reminders. You’ll also help registered nurses with more complex tasks.

Health Information Tech

Health information tech might be the perfect entry-level job if you prefer to work in an office environment. This position requires only a secondary certificate or associate degree and offers a median salary of $44,000. Your role will include the following:

  • Compiling patient information such as medical histories, treatments, and lab results.
  • Using coding systems to assign appropriate medical codes to patient records.
  • Maintaining accurate records.

Sterile Processing Tech

As a Sterile Processing Technician, you will play a critical role in ensuring the safety of patients by sterilizing essential medical instruments and equipment. This is an in-demand profession that requires only a certificate or associate degree. You will be responsible for inspecting and testing tools, preparing surgical kits, and managing inventory. The median annual salary for this position is $39,000. Join the healthcare field with a rewarding career as a Sterile Processing Technician.

Medical Office Administrator

A lucrative and accessible option for aspiring medical professionals is the role of medical office administrator. With no prior experience required, this position offers a median annual salary of $40,000. As a medical office administrator, you will be responsible for scheduling appointments, greeting patients, filing insurance claims and patient charts, and providing customer service. Start your career in the medical field with this exciting entry-level opportunity.

Pharmacy Tech

As a pharmacy technician, you will play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of the pharmacy by fulfilling prescription orders, restocking shelves, and providing stellar customer service. A high school diploma or equivalent is required to qualify for this position. With the median annual salary for pharmacy techs at approximately $40,000, this career path offers a stable and financially rewarding opportunity. Join us in making a real difference in the lives of patients and their families.

Do Any of These Jobs Require a Degree or Training?

If you want to explore medical careers that don’t require a degree, the jobs listed above may be ideal for you. Except for doctors and nurses, most entry-level medical jobs only require a high school diploma or certification. For example, medical assistants and surgical technicians typically only need to complete a certificate program or an associate degree to qualify. Pharmacy technicians, on the other hand, may only need a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to these entry-level careers, some jobs, such as physical therapists and medical coders, require more advanced training.

How to Apply for an Entry-Level Medical Job

If you have decided that an entry-level medical job is for you, the next step is to apply. Job postings can be found in various places, such as online job boards, hospital websites, and local newspapers. It’s important to read the job description carefully and ensure you meet all the requirements before submitting your application. After submitting your resume and cover letter, you may be asked to attend an in-person or virtual job interview with a potential employer.

When applying for entry-level medical jobs, showing enthusiasm and knowledge of the position is important. Be sure to demonstrate to the interviewer that you are passionate about helping others and ready to begin your career in the medical field. With hard work and dedication, you can find a job that offers financial stability and personal satisfaction. Good luck!

Tips for Snagging an Entry-Level Medical Job:

  • Research the job and its requirements thoroughly
  • Create a solid and impactful resume and cover letter
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your career goals
  • Show enthusiasm for the medical industry during interviews
  • Demonstrate a commitment to helping others

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to get started on your search for an entry-level medical job with a salary of $40,000. With the right combination of qualifications and experience, you’ll be able to have a rewarding career in the medical field.

Other Entry-Level Medical Jobs that Only Require an Associate Degree:

  • Clinical Medical Assistant 
  • Radiologic Technician 
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant 
  • Respiratory Therapist 
  • Radiation Therapist 

These medical jobs are still considered entry-level but require more education and training than those mentioned earlier. Clinical medical assistants, radiology technicians, occupational therapy assistants, respiratory therapists, and radiation therapists typically need an associate degree to qualify. Salaries vary depending on experience and location, but these positions still have the potential to bring in a rewarding salary of between $35,000 and $40,000 per year.

The Bottom Line

Many entry-level medical careers provide a comfortable salary and require minimal education beyond a high school degree. If you’re interested in working in the medical field but don’t want to commit years to education, consider one of the above professions. Remember that these positions often offer opportunities for career advancement and additional certifications as your skills improve. So, whether you want to assist in a dental office or help with surgical procedures, the healthcare industry offers a variety of roles that might be the perfect match for you.

Key Takeaways:

• Entry-level medical jobs can offer competitive salaries without requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher.

• Research the job and its requirements thoroughly before applying.

• Show enthusiasm for the medical industry during interviews.

• Consider pursuing an associate degree to open up more opportunities in the field.

• With hard work and dedication, you can find a job that offers financial stability and personal satisfaction.


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