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Healthcare Careers for People Without a Degree

If you're interested in a healthcare career but do not want to complete a degree, there are several occupations in medical offices, clinics and hospitals that can be considered. Read on to learn more about these careers.

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Healthcare Career Options for People Without a Degree

Healthcare is a field that tends to have a high demand for qualified applicants. Those who are interested in working in healthcare but do not want to attend college or university to earn a degree can consider a wide range of options that require applicants to complete a certificate, diploma or on-the-job training.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
Occupational Therapy Aides $28,330 31%
EMTs $32,670 (for EMTs and paramedics) 24% (for EMTs and paramedics)
Nursing Assistants and Orderlies $26,590 17%
Physical Therapy Aides $25,680 39%
Phlebotomists $32,710 25%
Dental Assistants $36,940 18%
Medical Assistants $31,540 23%
Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers $25,250 9%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Information on Healthcare Careers for People Without a Degree

Occupational Therapy Aides

Occupational therapy aides help provide treatments for people recovering from an illness or injury that has affected their ability to perform basic tasks. These aides are responsible for ensuring that appointments are booked, helping patients who need assistance moving from place to place and keeping the facilities clean. Occupational therapy aides can learn this profession through on-the-job training, and employers normally only require applicants to have a high school diploma.

EMTs

EMTs are required to have a high school diploma, earn certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and complete a postsecondary program that typically takes around one year. EMTs provide medical care to people in emergency situations and transport patients to the hospital in an ambulance. EMTs provide the most basic level of care. Those interested in becoming advanced EMTs must complete additional training.

Nursing Assistants and Orderlies

Nursing assistants provide direct care to patients, such as assisting them when they need to go to the bathroom. Orderlies may help transport patients with mobility issues, and they are responsible for keeping a healthcare facility clean. Orderlies do not need postsecondary training, and nursing assistants can start their careers once they've completed a postsecondary program and met state credentialing requirements. A degree isn't required for either of these professions.

Physical Therapy Aides

Physical therapy aides do not need a degree or any formal postsecondary training. They can enter this field with a high school diploma and be trained once employed. They perform a lot of tasks commonly associated with secretaries, such as talking to patients on the phone, booking appointments and filling out paperwork. They may also assist patients who have difficulty walking and clean rooms after patients have been treated.

Phlebotomists

Phlebotomists spend their careers extracting blood from patients. They also perform some clerical tasks, such as labeling blood samples and updating patient files. Phlebotomists can prepare for their careers by completing a postsecondary phlebotomy program or by earning a high school diploma and completing on-the-job training. Professional certification is required by most employers.

Dental Assistants

Dental assistants help provide medical care for people's teeth, and they may directly assist the dentist when patients are being treated. They also perform other tasks, such as making appointments and billing patients for services. It is possible to pursue this career with a high school diploma, although some states require dental assistants to have completed a postsecondary training program, many of which result in a certificate or diploma. A degree is not required to become a dental assistant, although individuals may opt to complete an associate's degree before pursuing this career.

Medical Assistants

One can become a medical assistant by earning a high school diploma and completing on-the-job training or by graduating from a postsecondary certificate or diploma program for medical assistants. These healthcare professionals do not need to have a degree. Their duties may vary if they choose to specialize within their field. Medical assistants may concentrate on clerical tasks, such as booking appointments, updating patient files and processing insurance claims, or they may focus on assisting with the medical care of patients.

Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers are directly involved in the care of animals that are in veterinary clinics or research laboratories. They perform basic duties, such as feeding animals, and they may also prepare medical equipment for surgeries and give animals vaccinations or other types of medicine. They learn through on-the-job training and are only required to have a high school diploma or GED.

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