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When you think of medical careers, your mind probably immediately jumps to the traditional role of a physician, but if you know the medical field is the place for you, there are tons of options to consider! We’ve highlighted ten medical careers that all play an important role on the patient care team. Within our highlight, we will briefly describe what the career does, the required education, and the median salary. Just as an important FYI, median salary is defined as half of employees make more and half make less. There can be a lot of factors that play into this, such as experience level, location, education level, type of organization etc.

1. Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists (RTs) treat patients that have difficulties breathing. These patients can be those who suffer from chronic breathing issues like asthma or those who have had an emergency situation, like a heart attack.

Education To become an RT, you must an earn a minimum of an associate’s degree from a program certified by The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, although many health care organizations now prefer that you to earn your bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy.

Median salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary was $60,280/year.

2. Physical Therapist

Physical Therapists (PTs) work with patients to improve their mobility, level of activity, and overall functioning. PTs work with a range of patients from those who suffer a traumatic brain injury to professional athletes wanting to optimize performance.

Education To become a PT, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree with specific math, science, and social science prerequisite courses. Then you will apply for admission into an accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Median salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary was $87,930/year.

3. Physician Assistant

Physician Assistants (PAs) serve as a primary care provider alongside Nurse Practitioners and Physicians. PAs have the ability to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medicine. They have a solid foundation in general medicine so they are able to work in a variety of settings.

Education To become a PA, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree with specific math, science, and social science prerequisite courses and have at least three years of hands-on experience in the healthcare field. You will then earn a Master’s degree from an accredited PA program.

Median salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary was $108,610/year.

4. Registered Nurse

Registered Nurses (RNs) are central to a patient’s care. They provide care as well as coordinate the care and treatments needed from other members of the patient care team. RNs also educate their patients and their families about the treatment plan.

Education To become an RN, you will need to earn at least an Associate’s degree from an accredited nursing program, although many health care organizations now prefer that you to earn your bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Median salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary was $71,30/year.

5. Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapists (OTs) help restore patients to their everyday levels of functionality after an injury, illness, or disease. They cover motor skills, social skills, and vocational skills.

Education To become an OT, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree with specific math, science, and social science prerequisite courses. Then, you complete a Master’s degree from an accredited OT program.

Median Salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary was $84,270/year.

6. Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists take X-rays and conduct exams for oral diseases like gingivitis and provide preventative dental care like teeth cleaning, plaque removal, and other routine and minor dental procedures.

Education To become a dental hygienist, you will need to earn an associate’s degree from an accredited dental hygiene program.

Median Salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary for a dental $74,820/year.

7. Dietitian or Nutritionist

Dietitians or nutritionists works with patients and clients to ensure they are eating the proper foods to maintain a healthy lifestyle and that their diet is suitable for any ailments they may have.

Education To become a dietitian or nutritionist, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in the field.

Median Salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary was $60,370/year.

8. Phlebotomists

Phlebotomists draw blood for diagnostic tests, blood donations, and transfusions. They also tend to patients when they have an adverse reaction to a blood draw.

Education To become a phlebotomist, you must typically complete a phlebotomy training program at a community or technical college.

Median Salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary was $34,480/year.

9. Radiologic Technologists

Radiologic technologists administer X-ray tests to patients.

Education To become a radiologic technologist, you must an earn an associate’s degree in the field.

Median Salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary was $61,240/year.

10. Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers (ATs) serve athletes through the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of bone and muscle injuries to ensure optimal athletic performance. They are often present wherever athletes are to provide immediate treatment upon injury.

Education To become an athletic trainer, you must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited AT program. After the fall of 2022, you will need to earn a master’s degree from an accredited AT program in order to enter the field.

Median Salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary was $47,510/year.

By no means is this a comprehensive list of all medical careers, but definitely a starting point. No matter which career you choose, it’s important to get hands-on experience so you can get a “day in the life” view. This will help you to decide whether that career is for you or you need to continue to explore your options.