How Much Can You Make? An Online Guide to Salaries in Healthcare

See where you are financially, where you could be, and how to get there…

Salaries-Icon

One of the fastest-growing professional job sectors in the country is healthcare. And it’s not just doctors who are in high demand; the entire medical profession is growing, from entry-level support positions all the way to nurse practitioners.

Some of these jobs offer six-figure salaries, but also require years of education and experience. Others jobs pay less but are much quicker to enter, such as CNAs or medical assisting. Let’s review some of the more in-demand medical careers, what graduates can earn, and what it takes to start working in that particular field.

Where Do You Stand? Understanding Your Salary

When it comes to understanding how much a particular job pays, the job title is only part of the equation. Many factors dictate how much you can earn for a particular occupation. Here are some of the most important:

Education level

As a rule of thumb, the more education a job requires, the more compensation that job will provide. This is a supply-versus-demand concept as the higher up the academic ladder you go, the fewer people will have a particular degree. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median weekly income of a high school graduate with no college experience was $718 in 2018. However, someone with a bachelor’s degree had a weekly median income of $1,189.

Geography

Some places in the United States are far more affordable to live in than others. According to Sperling’s Best Places, if an individual who lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee making $50,000 per year wanted to maintain the same standard of living after moving to San Francisco, they would need to increase their income to $165,239 per year.

Experience

As a general rule, the more experience someone has, the higher salary they can demand. Though classroom training is valuable, it can only teach so much; it’s not until a graduate hits the real world that they can truly start practicing their craft. This is certainly true in the medical field, as so many parts of almost every job require hands-on training and significant practice to become proficient.

Responsibility

Higher salaries usually come with greater responsibility. For example, a pharmacy technician may dispense medication, but it’s the pharmacist who holds the ultimate responsibility if a mistake is made or there is an unintended interaction that injures a patient. Given this discrepancy in responsibility, it makes sense that pharmacists will earn more than a pharmacy technician.

Where you work

Large hospitals will usually pay more for a given position than a small clinic. Additionally, the type of medical facility can determine how much funding is available to pay medical workers. It’s quite common for privately funded facilities to pay their workers more than facilities that receive funding from mostly public sources, such as the state or federal government.

Shift choice

Many medical facilities work on a shift schedule. The less popular shifts, such as the middle of the night, holidays, or weekends, will often result in higher pay. Though this rule doesn’t always hold true, in many facilities the best income is going to come from working swing or graveyard shifts.

Moving Up: Salary Growth & Your Medical Career

So what are some of the top medical salaries? What does it take to start working in those fields? We’ve profiled the top 40 medical jobs out there, including how much you can make, what it takes to get started, and how to advance in your professional calling. Remember, your salary doesn’t have to be stagnant. To best illustrate this concept, we’ve ordered each profile from least to greatest salary growth potential.

Keep in mind that opportunities for growth in a particular profession are highly specific to the factors we’ve already discussed, so the following information is intended only as a general overview of each career.


($12,810) Home Health Aide

Thanks to the aging population, home health aides are one of the most in-demand medical careers. Home health aides usually work in patients’ homes. They provide basic personal and medical care for those with disabilities, long-term illness, or specific physical or mental impairments. They perform their duties under the supervision of a qualified medical professional.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$18,450 $20,640 $23,210 $26,600 $31,260
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 47.3%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: None
  • Length of education: One to four months

How to increase your home health aide salary: Becoming certified can open doors to new jobs and higher pay. Certification is required to work for certain employers that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement.

If you want to learn more about becoming a home health aide, check out our page on earning home health aide certification online.


($17,950) Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) helps in the delivery of basic personal and medical care for patients in long-term care medical facilities. Typical tasks include helping patients bathe and get dressed, helping patients eat and taking their vital signs. The need for CNAs is expected to grow due to an aging population, especially baby boomers.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$20,680 $23,330 $27,520 $32,220 $38,630
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 11.5%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: None
  • Length of education: One to four months

How to increase your CNA salary: Most nursing assistants already have certification and continuing education requirements. Outside of working additional hours, you can move on to jobs with more advanced responsibilities, such as a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse.

Learn about campus, hybrid, and online CNA classes.


($19,190) Veterinary Assistant

Veterinary assistants spend their days caring for animals. Job duties typically include feeding, cleaning cages, providing post-surgical care and administering medications to the animals. Most veterinary assistants work for veterinarians that provide care to pets; job demand is expected to grow due to an increase in requests for pet-related care.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$19,110 $21,990 $26,140 $31,170 $38,300
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 19.4%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: None
  • Length of education: Short-term on-the-job training

How to increase your orderly salary: There is no formal training required to be a veterinary assistant. However, you can become an Approved Veterinary Assistant. This requires passing an examination and completing an approved veterinary assisting program.


($20,370) Orderly

Orderlies usually help move patients around a medical facility. Their job duties can also include cleaning medical equipment, changing bedding and cleaning patient rooms. The need for orderlies is expect to rise due to increasing numbers of aging individuals who need help moving around in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$20,240 $22,730 $27,180 $33,700 $40,610
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 8.1%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: None
  • Length of education: Short-term on-the-job training

How to increase your veterinary assistant salary: Taking on additional or less popular shifts can lead to overtime pay. Orderlies can also obtain basic life support training, which is required to work for some medical providers. Opportunities for professional advancement abound when moving into a similar career, such as that of certified nursing assistant.


($22,070) Medical Assistant

Medical assistants provide basic clinical and office tasks in medical offices. Doctor’s offices are straining to meet the demands of more and more patients; medical assistants can help keep the office running smoothly by processing and starting initial treatment for most patients.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$23,830 $27,580 $32,480 $38,340 $45,900
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 29.0%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: Associate degree
  • Length of education: One to two years

How to increase your medical assistant salary: In most states, certification is not required to work as a medical assistant. However, having such certification can increase marketability, since most employers prefer hiring only certified medical assistants.

To learn more about this up-and-coming healthcare career, see what it takes to become a certified medical assistant or jump directly to details about medical assistant school online.


($23,780) Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists draw blood from patients for testing and research purposes. Their highly specialized skill set is also in demand for blood transfusions, processing blood samples and conveying results to the appropriate medical teams.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$24,250 $28,130 $33,670 $39,760 $48,030
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 24.5%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: Associate degree
  • Length of education: One to two years

How to increase your phlebotomist salary: Most states don’t require certification, but many employers do. Therefore, earning one of the several certifications available can help when searching for a new job. Those who hold an associate degree could possibly enter an accelerated degree program for another job in the medical field, such as becoming a registered nurse.


($24,980) Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in providing prescription medications to customers. They usually work in retail drug stores. In addition to filling prescriptions, they monitor prescription medication inventory levels, answer customer questions, and collect customer information.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$22,000 $25,900 $31,750 $38,540 $46,980
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 11.8%
  • Entry-level education needed: High school diploma or equivalent plus on-the-job training
  • Additional degree offerings: Associate degree
  • Length of education: One to two years

How to increase your pharmacy technician salary: Certification isn’t usually required for this job, but becoming certified can make it easier to find or switch jobs for higher pay. Pharmacy technicians can earn either the National Healthcareer Association or Pharmacy Technician Certification Board certifications.

Looking for a flexible learning option? Read our guide dedicated to blended and online pharmacy technician programs.


($26,100) Medical Secretary

Medical secretaries provide administrative and clerical services in a medical setting, such as a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital. Job tasks can include answering the telephone, scheduling, filing paperwork, billing and drafting documents. With more individuals obtaining access to affordable healthcare, the need for medical secretaries is expected to grow dramatically.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$24,240 $28,490 $34,610 $41,460 $50,340
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 22.5%
  • Entry-level education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Additional degree offerings: None
  • Length of education: Short-term on-the-job training or coursework lasting a few weeks

How to increase your medical secretary salary: Medical secretaries don’t usually handle medical billing tasks. However, given how closely involved they are with the billing of patients and insurance companies, it can be beneficial to obtain additional training to either expand job duties or begin work as a medical billing and coding specialist.


($26,470) Veterinary Technician

Veterinary technicians work with veterinarians to perform diagnostic tests, restrain animals during surgery, prepare animals for surgery, and collect an animal’s medical history. The high projected growth of vet techs is largely due to pet owners continuing to increase the amount of medical care for their pets.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$22,880 $27,430 $33,400 $39,860 $49,350
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 20.0%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s (to become a veterinary technologist)
  • Length of education: two to four years

How to increase your vet tech salary: Because most states require vet techs to be credentialed (by passing an exam), one path to professional advancement is to earn a bachelor’s degree and become a veterinary technologist.

Curious about discovering what it takes to become a vet tech? Read our detailed page about today’s best hybrid and online vet tech programs.


($26,960) Dental Assistant

Depending on the state in which they practice, dental assistants carry out a wide range of tasks to assist dentists in treating patients and running a dental office. These tasks include sterilization of instruments, patient scheduling, billing, dental hygiene education and preparation of the dentist’s work area. The growth of dental assistants is at least partially attributed to an aging population and society’s better understanding of the importance of good oral health.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$26,170 $31,160 $37,630 $46,000 $53,130
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 19.5%
  • Entry-level education needed: Varies from on-the-job training to a certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: Associate degree
  • Length of education: Nine months to two years

How to increase your dental assistant salary: In addition to gaining on-the-job experience, dental assistants can go back to school to earn an associate degree and become dental hygienists.


($27,640) Medical Equipment Preparer

Medical equipment preparers clean, install, sterilize, or otherwise prepare medical equipment for use. They may also conduct routine inspections or laboratory tasks as well as record diagnostic test results.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$24,600 $28,830 $35,370 $43,570 $52,240
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 19.7%
  • Entry-level education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Additional degree offerings: Certificate
  • Length of education: Short-term on-the-job training to 18 months

How to increase your medical equipment preparer salary: In addition to obtaining certification from the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materials Management or the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution, medical equipment preparers can receive additional training to move into related professions, such as surgical technician.


($28,060) Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), sometimes referred to as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), provide medical care to patients under the supervision of registered nurses or doctors. Job duties include patient record keeping, monitoring vital signs, changing bandages or other forms of simple medical care.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$32,970 $38,010 $45,030 $52,220 $61,030
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 12.3%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: Associate degree
  • Length of education: One to two years

How to increase your LPN salary: A very popular advancement for LPNs is to become a registered nurse. Registered nurses have much higher earning potential and sometimes it takes only an extra year or two of schooling for an LPN to become an RN.

Looking for more information about becoming an LPN? See your education and training options and how online programs for LPNs work.


($29,740) Medical Transcriptionist

There is an immense amount of record-keeping in the medical field. Many medical professionals will dictate information for entry into written reports at a later time. Medical transcriptionists transcribe these recordings for medical charts. Though this is an important field, it’s not expected to grow, thanks to the increased use of speech recognition software.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$21,670 $26,960 $35,250 $43,610 $51,410
  • Projected BLS growth rate: -3.4%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: Associate degree
  • Length of education: One to two years

How to increase your medical transcriptionist salary: Certification is not required, so obtaining either the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) or the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) certifications can improve your prospects. Obtaining a CHDS certification will require at least two years of acute care experience.


($34,530) Surgical Technologist

A surgeon may conduct the surgery, but it’s the surgical technologist that does almost everything else to make it happen. Surgical technologists prepare the operating room, sterilize equipment, prepare patients for surgery, and assist surgeons during the operation.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$32,470 $38,020 $46,310 $56,720 $67,000
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 11.7%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: Associate degree
  • Length of education: Several months to two years

How to increase your surgical tech salary: Becoming certified can boost pay, such as obtaining a certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting or the National Center for Competency Testing.


($34,710) Dispensing Optician

Dispensing opticians (also referred to simply as opticians) work with optometrists and ophthalmologists to fit and customize glasses and contact lenses for patients. Most opticians can be found in the offices of optometrists or ophthalmologists. They repair broken glasses, answer questions, help choose corrective lenses and measure the faces and eyes of patients.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$24,040 $28,730 $36,250 $47,040 $58,750
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 15.0%
  • Entry-level education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Additional degree offerings: Certificate or associate degree
  • Length of education: Short-term on-the-job training to two years

How to increase your dispensing optician salary: In states that do not require special licensing, opticians may choose to get certified in eyeglass or contact lens dispensing. They can obtain these certifications from the National Contact Lens Examiners or the American Board of Opticianry.


($35,110) EMT/Paramedic

EMTs (emergency medical technicians) and paramedics provide frontline emergency care to patients. They often stabilize patients for transport to hospitals, where they will receive further treatment or evaluation. Even though “EMT” and “paramedic” are often used interchangeably, there are usually additional education and training requirements to become a paramedic.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$21,880 $26,470 $33,380 $43,390 $56,990
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 15.1%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: Associate degree
  • Length of education: Six months to two years

How to increase your EMT/paramedic salary: EMTs can increase their earning potential by getting additional training to become either Advanced EMTs or paramedics. There is also the opportunity for driver training to drive the ambulance.

Get info on EMT classes or paramedic programs to take your first step.


($38,800) Health Information Technician

Health information technicians manage both electronic and hard copies of patients’ records and ensure security, accuracy, and easy access for all relevant parties. The growing number of individuals seeking healthcare and the transition over to electronic health records ensures these technicians will be in demand for the foreseeable future.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$25,810 $30,990 $39,180 $51,350 $64,610
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 13.5%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: Associate degree
  • Length of education: 2-6 years

How to increase your health information technician salary: Health information technicians can earn a certification, such as the Registered Health Information Technician. They can also choose to go back to school for an information systems or related degree, which can allow them to move onto more technical aspects of patient data management.


($38,800) Medical Records Technician

Medical records technicians may have job duties that overlap with health information technicians. However, medical records technicians have opportunities to work in medical billing and coding. Usually referred to as medical coders, these professionals review patient records to identify proper procedure and diagnosis codes for billing and insurance purposes.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$25,810 $30,990 $39,180 $51,350 $64,610
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 13.5%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: Associate degree
  • Length of education: Two to 16 months

How to increase your medical records technician salary: Earning an associate degree is helpful, as some employers prefer to hire those with a college degree. Specialized certification is also an option; two popular certifications are the Certified Coding Specialist and the Certified Coding Specialist – Physician.


($39,910) Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists work with patients who have difficulty with their respiratory system. Patients can range from premature babies to elderly individuals. However, the rapid growth of this profession is due to the aging baby boomer population and widespread respiratory issues, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$43,120 $50,540 $59,710 $72,200 $83,030
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 23.4%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s degree
  • Length of education: Two to four years

How to increase your respiratory therapist salary: After gaining experience, respiratory therapists will have opportunities to move into management roles. While most work in hospitals, they can take advantage of additional opportunities by focusing on providing home-based care.


($41,300) Occupational Therapy Assistant

Under supervision of an occupational therapist, an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) engages in direct contact with patients to help them gain the skills to live and work as normally as possible. This can include reporting on progress, teaching patients how to use special equipment and walking patients through therapeutic activities.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$39,020 $42,580 $59,310 $68,410 $80,320
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 23.3%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: None
  • Length of education: Two years

How to increase your occupational therapy assistant salary: OTAs looking to earn a bigger salary have two primary options. They can earn a specialty certification, or they can return to school to earn a master’s degree and become an occupational therapist. Many schools have special bridge programs for OTAs to become occupational therapists.


($43,450) Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work under the supervision of physical therapists to help patients recover from illness or injury. PTAs may assist patients in completing certain activities, such as stretching and exercises, as well as observing a patient and providing an assessment to the physical therapist.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$35,930 $46,780 $57,430 $67,770 $79,380
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 31.0%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s degree
  • Length of education: Two to four years

How to increase your physical therapist assistant salary: An effective method to increase salary is to become a physical therapist. This requires a doctor of physical therapy degree, which usually takes three years to complete, assuming the student already has a bachelor’s degree.


($44,270) Radiologic Technologist

Radiologic technologists use radiographic medical equipment to create images of internal organs, bodily processes, and features. Radiologic technologists prepare patients for imaging as well as complete the imaging process itself. Some radiologic technologists may also work with doctors to determine if supplemental imaging is necessary.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$39,840 $47,380 $58,440 $71,810 $84,110
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 12.3%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s degree and graduate certificate
  • Length of education: Two to four years

How to increase your radiologic technologist salary: The realm of medical imaging and scanning is vast, with a wide array of tools and equipment. A popular path for advancement is to specialize in a specific type of radiologic imaging, such as mammography, x-ray, or magnetic resonance imaging.

If this job sounds rewarding enough for you, visit our page that covers blended and online radiologic technologist programs.


($44,270) X-Ray Technician

An x-ray technician is a radiologic technologist who focuses on using x-ray equipment to create an image of internal structures in a patient’s body. They obtain the highest quality x-ray images possible for review by radiologists while also protecting patients and the x-ray technicians themselves from excessive exposure to x-rays.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$39,840 $47,380 $58,440 $71,810 $84,110
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 12.3%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s degree and graduate certificate
  • Length of education: Six months to two years

How to increase your X-ray technician salary: Specialization offers a promising road to a higher salary. But before concentrating on a specialty, x-ray technicians need a few years of experience. With a higher degree, taking a management position within a radiologic department is also a possibility.


($46,160) Dietitian

Dieticians help clients with their dietary needs and goals. This can include helping individuals stay healthy as well as assisting them in meeting certain goals, such as reducing the consumption of a certain ingredient. Other tasks include identifying potential problem areas in an individual’s current diet, developing meal plans, and educating individuals and groups about healthy eating habits.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$36,910 $47,720 $59,410 $72,490 $83,070
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 14.6%
  • Entry-level education needed: Bachelor’s degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Master’s and doctoral degree
  • Length of education: Four to 10 years

How to increase your dietician salary: Seeking an advanced degree can provide a wider breadth of knowledge, as well as opportunities for teaching and research. Another option for dieticians is to become a Certified Nutrition Specialist or a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.


($48,860) Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologist is a radiologic technologist who uses MRI scanners to test patients. These detailed internal scans help doctors assess and diagnose patients. Job duties can entail preparing the patient for an MRI scan, operating the MRI machine and adjusting the patient’s position to get the best MRI image possible.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$48,600 $58,080 $69,930 $81,260 $97,460
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 13.7%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s degree
  • Length of education: Two to four years

How to increase your MRI technologist salary: The more experience an MRI technologist has, the greater the earning potential. MRI technologists can also earn a more advanced degree to teach at the post-secondary level or take on a leadership role.

How to increase your radiation therapist salary: With extra training and the appropriate certification, radiation therapists can work as medical dosimetrists. These professionals determine how much radiation a particular patient will need.


($49,080) Sonographer

Sonographers use special diagnostic medical equipment to create images of the human body. These images are used by doctors to assess medical issues. Sonographers do not diagnose patients, but they do have the expertise to confirm the adequacy of an image and determine if additional imaging is necessary for a proper diagnosis.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$50,760 $59,110 $71,410 $84,300 $99,840
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 23.2%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s degree
  • Length of education: Two to four years

How to increase your sonographer salary: Many employers prefer those with certification, especially when many insurance providers and government health insurance programs will only reimburse for medical imaging if conducted by a certified sonographer.


($49,250) Nuclear Medicine Technician

Nuclear medicine technicians prepare and administer radioactive drugs, which are commonly used with special imaging equipment to observe processes within the body. Nuclear technologists may also operate imaging equipment and monitor patients for their reactions to the radioactive drugs. They report their findings to physicians for assessment and diagnosis of the patient.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$54,410 $64,640 $75,660 $90,550 $103,660
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 9.8%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s degree
  • Length of education: Two to four years

How to increase your nuclear medicine technician salary: Certification is usually optional but recommended. After receiving a general certification, specialized certifications can demonstrate the technician’s expertise when working with specific types of medical imagining equipment or procedures


($49,890) Laboratory Technologist

Laboratory technologists collecting various samples from patients and analyze them in a laboratory. This testing can include the use of automated equipment, but might also include manual inspection of blood samples. The need for laboratory technologists is expected to grow in the near future due to advances in testing for diagnosis of specific conditions, as well as more individuals seeking health care.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$29,640 $37,910 $51,770 $65,600 $79,530
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 19.7%
  • Entry-level education needed: Bachelor’s degree
  • Additional degree offerings: None
  • Length of education: Four years

How to increase your laboratory technologist salary: Most states do not require licensing or certification of laboratory technologists, so earning a general or specialty certification is an effective way to stand out and demonstrate a higher level of knowledge.


($50,150) Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists provide primary and preventative dental care. They clean and examine patients’ teeth for signs of disease and deterioration. Dental hygienists may also teach patients how to best care for their teeth, take x-rays, and document medical oral histories.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$51,180 $61,230 $74,070 $88,820 $101,330
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 19.7%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees
  • Length of education: Two to six years

How to increase your dental hygienist salary: Dental hygienists’ salary is often tied to their years of experience. By earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree, they can expand their professional horizons to working as an instructor or researcher.

Want to learn more about advancing your dental hygiene education? Check out our page about campus and online programs for dental hygiene.


($52,790) Genetic Counselor

Genetic counselors examine a family’s genetic background to calculate the risk of inheriting genetic conditions. The counseling includes interviewing patients, explaining genetic issues and consulting with doctors. The role of genetic counselors is expected to growth thanks to further development in genomic technology, such as better and more affordable testing.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$51,340 $65,310 $77,480 $92,910 $104,130
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 29.0%
  • Entry-level education needed: Master’s degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Ph.D. degree
  • Length of education: Six to 13 years

How to increase your genetic counselor salary: Although only a master’s degree is required, some genetic counselors may choose to earn a PhD. to delve into the role of researcher or professor.


($55,410) Registered Nurse

Registered nurses have been high demand in recent years; this will continue as people age and more individuals seek medical services. Registered nurses are on the front line of delivering care. Their job duties include administering patient treatments, observing and assessing patient conditions, consulting with doctors and operating medical equipment.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$48,690 $57,340 $70,000 $85,960 $104,100
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 19.7%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s degree
  • Length of education: Two to four years

How to increase your register nurse salary: In addition to working overtime or unpopular shifts, registered nurses can earn their bachelor’s degree or specialize in many different types of patient or care.


($57,170) Massage Therapist

Massage therapists manipulate the body for therapeutic effects, including pain relief, healing, and relaxation. Due to a push by state regulatory bodies to license or set standards for massage therapy, as well as acceptance by the general public as to the benefits of massages as a form of medical treatment, more patients are expected to seek massage therapy in the future.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$20,300 $27,640 $39,990 $57,280 $77,470
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 26.3%
  • Entry-level education needed: Certificate
  • Additional degree offerings: Associate degree
  • Length of education: Six months to two years

How to increase your message therapist salary: The willingness to work more hours and take on additional clients can help, as can learning additional massage techniques that allow for the treatment of different groups of patients, such as those who are pregnant.


($62,080) Cardiovascular Technologist

Heart and lung issues are one of the top reasons individuals seek medical care – and that’s why this field is growing. Cardiovascular technologists are trained in the use of equipment and procedures, such as electrocardiograms and cardiac catheterizations, which are used to assess and diagnose heart and lung issues.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$28,680 $37,140 $55,270 $73,610 $90,760
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 9.9%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s degree
  • Length of education: Two to four years

How to increase your cardiovascular technologist salary: Certification can improve earning potential; it looks good to employers and fits with the requirements of some insurance companies that only certified individuals may conduct medical tests. Another avenue of advancement is to specialize by becoming a vascular technologist or echocardiographer.


($63,570) Physical Therapist

When an injured or sick individual needs help with any movement-related activity, they will often see a physical therapist. Physical therapists help patients by assessing their physical condition, developing customized treatment strategies using exercise and equipment and educating patients about how to best handle their physical challenges.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$59,080 $71,670 $86,850 $101,790 $122,650
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 28.0%
  • Entry-level education needed: Master’s degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Doctoral degree
  • Length of education: Six to nine years

How to increase your physical therapist salary: Specialization is a good way to advance and earn a higher salary. To that end, many physical therapists will complete a fellowship in a specific concentration such as geriatrics or orthopedics.


($65,880) Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists work with patients suffering from illness, disability, or injury to teach them skills for work, play, or simple daily tasks. Occupational therapy is unique in that therapists focus on making use of activities and objects already in the patient’s environment. Part of this process includes evaluating patients through interviews, observation, and review of the patient’s medical file.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$54,560 $67,970 $83,200 $100,320 $120,440
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 23.8%
  • Entry-level education needed: Master’s degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Doctoral degree
  • Length of education: Six to nine years

How to increase your occupational therapist salary: Board and specialty certifications can help by demonstrating an advanced level of knowledge in a particular area of occupational therapy. Getting a doctorate can also open the doors to teaching and research.

Interested in advancing your occupational therapy education? Take a look at out our page for online occupational therapy schools.


($67,490) Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists operate various types of medical equipment that are primarily used to treat cancer through the use of radiation. They work with other medical professionals (such as oncologists) to attack tumors within the human body. In addition to delivering radiation treatment, radiation therapists also discuss the treatment procedure with the patient, monitor the patient for side effects and document what occurs during treatment.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$55,530 $66,400 $80,570 $101,030 $123,020
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 12.8%
  • Entry-level education needed: Associate degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Bachelor’s, master’s
  • Length of education: 2-6 years

($70,790) Nurse Practitioner

As an advanced practice nurse (APRN), a nurse practitioner often serves as the first level of care for patients. Some nurse practitioners are generalists and perform the same role as a primary care physician. Others specialize and will see patients suffering from specific problems or a certain group of patients.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$74,840 $88,810 $103,880 $123,070 $145,630
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 36.1%
  • Entry-level education needed: Master’s degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Doctor of Nursing Practice or Ph.D.
  • Length of education: Six to 12 years

How to increase your nurse practitioner salary: Besides working additional hours, a nurse practitioner can become certified in a specialty area. Certification may be obtained from a professional organization, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center.


($77,150) Nurse Midwife

A nurse midwife is an advanced practice nurse, or APRN. Specifically, nurse midwives assist patients who are pregnant or recently gave birth. They can provide a range of medical services, from child delivery and gynecological services to prenatal care.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$66,500 $86,570 $100,590 $120,830 $143,650
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 20.7%
  • Entry-level education needed: Master’s degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Doctor of Nursing Practice or Ph.D.
  • Length of education: Six to 12 years

How to increase your nurse midwife salary: Nurse midwives can increase their salary by taking on additional shifts or patients. There’s also the opportunity to earn a doctorate, which can open up the possibility of teaching at a postsecondary institution.


($79,670) Physician Assistant

Although not technically medical doctors, physician assistants practice medicine by diagnosing, examining, and treating patients. They usually work under the supervision of a medical doctor. Therefore, they can prescribe medications and interpret medical tests to determine the best course of treatment for a patient.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$66,590 $87,980 $104,860 $124,200 $146,260
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 37.3%
  • Entry-level education needed: Master’s degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Doctoral degree
  • Length of education: Six to 11 years

How to increase your physician assistant salary: Physician assistants can increase their salaries in two significant ways: they can specialize in a particular area by completing a postgraduate program, or they can earn a doctoral degree, such as the Doctor of Medical Science. These open up possibilities for leadership positions, post-secondary teaching, or advanced clinical work.

Sound like a career for you? Visit our online physician assistant program page.


($97,480) Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia to patients during medical procedures. Nurse anesthetists will also work to prep the patient. While the patient is under anesthesia, nurse anesthetists will monitor vital signs and ensure the patient is safe and comfortable throughout the procedure.

Salary profile:

Bottom 10% Bottom 25% Median Top 25% Top 10%
$110,520 $140,750 $165,120 $194,990 $208,000
  • Projected BLS growth rate: 16.2%
  • Entry-level education needed: Master’s degree
  • Additional degree offerings: Doctor of Nursing Practice or Ph.D.
  • Length of education: Six to 12 years

How to increase your nurse anesthetist salary: For the most part, a nurse anesthetic is at the pinnacle of their profession. However, some nurse anesthetists may go back to school and earn a doctoral degree to take on research or teaching roles. Alternatively, they may focus on one of the many areas of specialization.

Non-Salary Factors that Can Increase Your Bottom Line

A big salary is nice, but sometimes the benefits can be even better. In fact, sometimes the benefits of a particular job will mean that an applicant will accept a lower salary just to take advantage of the non-salary factors that affect their bottom line. Sure, salary matters – but don’t let that be the end of the story. Look at these factors, too:

Tuition Assistance

Going back to school takes time and money. Some employers will entice employees to gain an advanced degree by agreeing to pay for part or all of the tuition.

Retirement Savings

Most medium to large employers will provide some sort of retirement benefits. While the good ol’ days of pensions are long gone (at least in the private sector), a 401(k) with employer matching is a great way to get free money and tax benefits.

Healthcare Packages

Health, dental and vision coverage are worth a great deal. Even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, it will almost always be cheaper to get health insurance and related coverage through an employer than through the Healthcare Marketplace or directly from the insurance company.

Paid Time Off

Many employers allow their employers to take time away from work to take care of a close family member, recover from an illness, or take a reasonable vacation. However, it’s getting paid for this time off that’s somewhat unusual.

Wellness Programs

An unhealthy workforce can lead to absenteeism and low morale. So it’s a win-win for employers to offer free or low cost activities to help improve the health of the employees. This can include free gym memberships, health screens, and fitness trackers.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is sobering to talk about, but it’s a necessity to relieve potential financial burdens on family members. Many healthcare employers will provide free life insurance policies for their workers.

Opportunities for advancement

Perhaps the starting salary is a bit low, but when receiving a promotion is very likely (and comes with a pay boost), the lower salary doesn’t seem as bad.

Flexible work schedule

A convenient schedule, by itself, doesn’t result in more money. However, if it saves on the cost of childcare, allows you to work a second job or attend school part-time, and then having a flexible work schedule can directly lead to money saved.

Free or low-cost childcare

For single parents or families where both parents work full-time, finding suitable childcare for a young child is not only difficult, but also expensive. Employers recognize this and will sometimes offer affordable daycare options for employees with young children. Sometimes these childcare facilities are located at the same location where the parent works.

Salary Resource Roundup

This guide has hopefully provided a good start for anyone interested in a career in the healthcare industry. However, there’s still a lot more information to discover. We’ve compiled this list of additional resources so you can continue your career research.

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Employment Statistics: The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles a wide range of employment data, including the wages of more than 800 professions.
  2. CareerOneStop: A US Department of Labor resource that contains information for anyone interested in a new or first career.
  3. Healthfinder.gov – Professional Organizations: This government website helps individuals find the resources they need to stay healthy. It has a comprehensive list of professional medical associations.
  4. O*Net OnLine: This website has detailed career profiles so anyone interested in learning more about a career will have plenty of information to get started.
  5. PayScale.com: PayScale.com helps anyone trying to figure out what sort of salary they should expect given their credential or a particular job.
  6. Sperling’s Best Places: This website offers some of the most detailed and comprehensive cost of living comparison tools and calculators.