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Medical Careers with a Bachelor's Degree: Employment Options

Bachelor's degrees in the field of medicine typically cover medical terminology and sciences such as anatomy, physiology, and chemistry. Find out about the requirement of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for bachelor's degree graduates.

There are several medical careers that can be pursued with a bachelor's degree. Working as a registered nurse, diagnostic medical sonographer or cardiovascular technologist are options that require a bachelor's degree. To enter these career fields the state may require individuals to have a license or certification.

Essential Information

Individuals with bachelor's degrees can be employed in various technological, patient care and administrative areas in the medical field. Training for these positions can be found within specialized bachelor's degree programs that combine academic coursework with a clinical practicum.

Career Titles Registered Nurse (RN) Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Cardiovascular Technologist
Education Requirements Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) Bachelor's degree in sonography Bachelor's degree in cardiovascular and vascular technology
Other Requirements Licensure required Certification Certification
Projected Job Growth* (2014-2024) 16% 26% 22%
Median Salary* (2015) $67,490 $68,970 $54,880

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Registered Nurse (RN)

Many nurses start their careers with a 4-year bachelor's degree in nursing. After obtaining a degree, graduates must pass an exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing in order to obtain a RN license. Registered nurses help care for and treat patients who are living with various illnesses and conditions.

Employment Options

There are many different types of nursing specialty areas available, including acute care nursing, gerontology, ambulatory care, public health nursing and pediatrics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2014, approximately 61% of registered nurses work in hospitals, while other nurses are employed by outpatient clinics, physician's offices, home health care services and nursing care facilities.

Job Outlook and Salary

The BLS reported in 2015 that registered nursing comprised the largest employment sector of healthcare. The BLS projected that registered nurses would see a faster-than-average job growth of 16% from 2014 to 2024. The median annual wage for RNs in 2015 was $67,490.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Diagnostic medical sonographers use ultrasound technology to form images of a patient's internal organs. Educational and training opportunities are available in 4-year bachelor's degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) administers an exam leading to licensure.

Employment Options

Sonographers interact with patients on a regular basis and are responsible for preparing and performing sonographic procedures. Most professionals work in hospitals, while others are employed by physicians' offices and diagnostic laboratories.

Job Outlook and Salary

The BLS projects a 26% increase for diagnostic medical sonographers from 2014-2024, which is much faster than the average for all jobs. This reason for this growth is due in part to increased usage of sonography over radiology. Sonographic procedures do not use any radiation and are considered safer than other radiologic technologies. The median annual wage for diagnostic medical sonographers was $68,970 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Cardiovascular Technologist

Cardiovascular technologists assist doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of heart problems. While it is possible to obtain a job with a 2-year degree, 4-year bachelor's degrees in cardiovascular technology are becoming increasingly more common. Many employers require applicants to have voluntary certification through the ARDMS or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Employment Options

There are several different areas in which cardiovascular technologists may specialize. Invasive cardiology involves assisting a doctor in catheterization into the heart, while non-invasive cardiology involves testing the heart with ultrasound techniques. Vascular technologists perform various tests before and after surgery involving oxygen saturation, blood pressure, cerebral circulation and blood flow. They also listen to the arteries and veins for any abnormalities.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the BLS in 2015, cardiovascular technologists and technicians made a median annual wage of $54,880. The BLS projected this occupation category, including vascular technicians, would grow by 22% between 2014 and 2024, which is a faster-than-average rate compared to all occupations.

Careers in the medical field continue to enjoy a high rate of job growth. This means that there should be good job prospects for those that complete degrees related to medical careers.

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