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4 Health Care Careers That Don't Require Going Through Medical School

4 Health Care Careers That Don
Posted By: Dixie Somers on March 09, 2021

Health care is a noble calling, but not everyone can afford to spend nearly a decade in training. Luckily, the allied health fields offer rewarding careers that don’t require long years in the classroom. Instead, these professions provide on-the-job training and opportunities for advancement, so students can start working with patients as soon as possible.

Nursing



Nursing offers many opportunities for advancement through additional education. Nurses might start with a two-year associate’s degree, complete a bridge program to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing, then head to graduate school for a master’s degree in a nursing specialty or even a doctorate in nursing. Many hospitals offer tuition reimbursement programs, so nurses can advance their careers without amassing mountains of student loan debt.

Dental Assistant



Becoming a dental assistant is much quicker than becoming a doctor. While it takes at least eight years to become a doctor, some dental assistant training programs can be completed in less than one year. Once trained, dental assistants provide administrative and patient care assistance to dentists. With additional training, assistants can work independently to provide basic cleaning and decay removal to patients. On average, dental assistants make around $40,000 per year, according to the U. S.



Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Radiographers



Operating advanced equipment such as an X-ray machine or MRI scanner requires specialized training. Healthcare professionals with a license to operate these machines are commonly called sonographers, x-ray technicians, or radiographers. These professionals work in many different medical settings to help physicians diagnose and treat patients. Radiography offers many opportunities for career advancement, especially as new imaging machines are created. An associate’s degree is required for licensure, but many technicians earn a bachelor’s degree at some point in their careers.

Respiratory Therapist



Respiratory Therapists (RTs) help physicians keep patients breathing. In an outpatient setting, RTs provide patient education, particularly for patients with asthma or other respiratory diseases. RTs also work in hospitals, where they provide life support for patients by managing ventilators or manually stimulating breathing. RTs must thrive under pressure and be willing to work independently, as they are often in charge of keeping patients alive with limited physician oversight.

The allied health fields will continue to expand as the need for health care outstrips the supply of physicians. Dental assistants, nurses, and other professionals will increasingly deliver preventative care and education to patients, creating new jobs, new scopes of practice, and new opportunities.
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