Medical Career Options that are Low-Stress and High-Paying
While most medical careers involve some level of stress dealing with patients and/or working to properly diagnose conditions, there are some medical careers that are more low-stress than others and are still high-paying. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that some of these medical jobs made a median salary greater than $58,000 in 2016, and may be lower stress as they tend to be slower-paced, work under another medical professional and/or have less interaction with patients. Find out more about a few of these jobs below.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*|
|Dietitians and Nutritionists||$58,920||14%|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||$59,010||29%|
|Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists||$61,070||12%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Career Information for Low-Stress, High-Paying Medical Jobs
In 2016, the BLS reported that dental hygienists made an annual median salary of $72,910, and although these professionals work directly with patients, they may experience less stress in a slower-paced environment while also leaving the more advanced procedures to a dentist. Dental hygienists do basic examinations of patients as they clean their teeth and look for signs of oral diseases. They also help educate the patients about preventative dental care, take x-rays of patients' mouths and inform the dentist of any signs of gingivitis and other oral diseases. These professionals must be licensed and need to earn a 3-year associate's degree in dental hygiene.
Dietitians and Nutritionists
According to the BLS, dietitians and nutritionists made a median salary of $58,920 in 2016, and they may experience lower stress working with patients individually in a slower-paced, more laid-back environment discussing nutrition. They evaluate their patients' health needs and then create an individualized meal plan to help manage various health issues and promote overall health in the patient. They also develop education material about nutrition, monitor their patients' progress and speak to groups about a range of health and nutritional topics. Dietitians and nutritionists usually need a state license and must complete an internship and hold a bachelor's degree in the field.
Occupational Therapy Assistants
Occupational therapy assistants made a median salary of $59,010 in 2016, per the BLS, and experience less stress working under an occupational therapist and taking their time working individually with patients. They help these patients develop or improve the skills required for daily living through exercises and therapeutic activities. They must encourage their patients and help them learn how to use any special equipment, as well as perform administrative tasks for the occupational therapist. These assistants are regulated by each state and need an associate's degree from an accredited program in the field.
The BLS reported that chiropractors made a median salary of $67,520 in 2016, and working in a slower-paced environment helping to relieve their patients from pain can be less stressful. Roughly a third of chiropractors were self-employed in 2016, according to the BLS, which allows them to set their own work schedules. These professionals typically assess and then treat patients who have pain or health problems in their neuromusculoskeletal system through therapy, spinal adjustments and heat/cold treatments. They may also advise their patients concerning various health topics, such as diet and exercise, and may refer their patients to other doctors if needed. Chiropractors have to obtain a state license after earning a 4-year Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree following undergraduate study.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists made a median salary of $61,070 in 2016, according to the BLS, and have little to no interaction with patients working in a medical lab. These technologists run medical tests and analyze blood, tissue and other body fluids to check for abnormal findings using highly sophisticated and automated laboratory equipment. They must carefully record their findings and discuss them with physicians, as well as update patients' medical histories. Medical and clinical laboratory technologists may need a state license and usually need a bachelor's degree in medical lab technology or in related sciences.
The BLS recorded a median salary of $85,620 in 2016 for biomedical engineers, and these professionals experience less stress working behind-the-scenes of the medical field with little to no interaction with patients. Biomedical engineers are responsible for creating a wide variety of biomedical equipment and software used every day in the healthcare system to help diagnose and treat medical problems. They ensure the safety of this equipment, train clinicians how to use the equipment, install and repair equipment as necessary and even conduct their own research and present their findings in reports. These professionals need at least a bachelor's degree in bioengineering or biomedical engineering, but many positions require a graduate degree.