July 15, 2019
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20 Highest Paid Non-Physician Jobs in Healthcare

Published May, 2019

You don’t need to be a physician to have a high paying job in the healthcare field. Non-physicians fill some of the highest paid jobs in the healthcare industry! With the dramatic rise in the need for healthcare administrators, physician assistants, genetic counselors, and others, higher and higher salaries are being paid to these healthcare professionals. These positions are part of a healthcare team focused on overall wellness and disease treatment and prevention. This article explores the 20 highest paid non-physician jobs in healthcare, according to the 2018 edition of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook. We’ll outline the:

  • median salary
  • the predicted rise in employment rates
  • necessary education
  • details of the position
  • any other relevant information regarding the career.

20 Highest Paid Non-Physician Jobs in Healthcare

#20 – Respiratory Therapist

If you’ve ever sought treatment for breathing difficulty, you probably saw a respiratory therapist. Respiratory therapists treat a variety of breathing disorders including chronic respiratory diseases like asthma or emphysema. The patients they treat range from premature neonates with undeveloped lungs to elderly patients suffering from lung disease.

Median Salary: $60,280

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 23% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associate’s Degree

Additional Information:

Although the minimum requirement to become a respiratory therapist is an associates degree, respiratory therapists need to become licensed in their state (except Alaska). Employment is expected to rise at a rate much faster than average due to growth in the middle-aged and elderly population, who are more susceptible to respiratory conditions.

#19 – Dieticians and Nutritionists

Dieticians and nutritionists are health care professionals who are experts in the area of food and nutrition. They use their knowledge to promote a healthy diet and manage disease. Dieticians and nutritionists are valuable resources in the treatment of obesity and diabetes.

Median Salary: $60,370

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 15% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree

Additional Information:

Continued growth is expected for dietician and nutritionists roles as we learn more about the connection between diet and overall health.

#18 – Radiologic and MRI Technicians

Another top non-physician healthcare job that pays well are radiologic and MRI technologists. These professionals, known as radiographers, perform imaging services such as x-rays. MRI technologists are trained to provide patients with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to help physicians with diagnostics.

Median Salary: $61,240

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 13% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associates’s Degree

Additional Information:

Employment of radiologic or MRI technologists is expected to grow by almost 30,300 jobs through 2026. Most professionals need an associate’s degree and become licensed or certified in their states.

#17 – Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists

Diagnostic imaging professionals include medical sonographers, cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists They’re also called diagnostic imaging workers. They use specialized equipment to create images or conduct tests that help physicians make informed diagnostics. Most of these professionals work in hospitals but some work in doctors’ offices or  lab settings.

Median Salary: $67,080

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 17% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associate’s Degree

Additional Information:
This varied field is expecting much faster than average rates of growth, with a prediction of about 21,100 new positions nationwide by 2026.

#16 – Orthotic and Prosthetics Professionals

Orthotic and prosthetics professionals are among the highest paid non-physician health care providers. These professionals design, fabricate, measure and fit orthotic and prosthetic devices for all ages. They work with artificial limbs, braces, and other medical or surgical prosthetic devices. Positions are found in a variety of industries including:

  • manufacturing
  • health and personal care
  • hospitals.

Median Salary: $69,120

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 22% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
The demand for orthotic and prosthetic professionals is expected to continue to grow as the baby boom population enters old age. Cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the leading causes of limb loss, are more common with older individuals.

#15 – Occupational Health and Safety Specialist and Technicians

Meeting workplace health and safety standards is something all organizations strive for. Occupational health and safety professionals are on the frontline of workplace health and safety. These highly paid non-physician healthcare providers collect and analyze data across a variety of work environments. They help ensure they are meeting industry standards and regulations. They also make recommendations and help remediate compliance issues.
Median Salary: $69,370

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 8% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree

Additional Information:
Positions in the field of Occupational Health and Safety Technology is expected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth projection is based on the need for employers to adhere to existing and new regulations in the workplace. A number of vibrant degree programs in healthcare quality and patient safety can connect students quickly with this emerging field.

#14 – Chiropractors

Of all the non-physician healthcare professionals on our list, chiropractors are among the most highly educated. Chiropractors treat patients through spinal adjustments and manipulation (and other clinical interventions). They help alleviate health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system. Most work independently, but some work in group chiropractic practice. Chiropractors must earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree which typically takes four years after undergraduate study.

Median Salary: $71,410

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 12% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Doctoral or professional degree

Additional Information:
An additional 5,900 jobs are expected to be added in the chiropractic field through 2026. This increase is attributed to the increased interest in integrative or complementary healthcare as a way to manage pain and promote overall wellness. Since chiropractors use non-surgical methods and do not prescribe drugs, chiropractic care is very appealing to patients.

#13 – Registered Nurse

A registered nurse, or RN, is a skilled nursing position focused on patient care. There are a few different ways to become an RN but most have a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). RNs provide and coordinate patient care and give advice and support to patients and their families. RNs can be found in most healthcare settings including:

  • hospitals
  • physician offices
  • home health
  • long term care facilities.

Median Salary: $71,730

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 15% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree

Additional Information:
Employment of registered nurses is expected to see a rate of growth upwards of 15 percent from 2016 to 2026,. This is much faster than average growth for all occupations nationwide. The field will continue to grow for a variety of reasons including:

  • a focus on preventative care
  • an increase in chronic conditions
  • an aging baby boomer population.

#12 – Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists play an essential role in a dental office. Dental hygienists are responsible for cleaning patients’ teeth, checking for signs of oral diseases or decay such as gingivitis. They also provide other preventative dental care measures such as fluoride treatment or x-rays. They are also responsible for educating patients on how they can improve and maintain good oral health for themselves and their families.

Median Salary: $74,820

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 20% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associate’s Degree

Additional Information:
Dental hygienists must minimally hold an Associate’s Degree in dental hygiene. All states require dental hygienists to be licensed. The demand for dental hygienists is expected to grow at a rate much faster than average due in part to continued research showing the direct link between oral and overall personal health.

#11 – Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Nuclear Medicine Technologists use a sophisticated scanner to produce images of various areas of a patient’s body to help diagnose or treat certain medical conditions. They prepare radioactive drugs and administer them to patients undergoing the scans. The radioactive drugs cause abnormal areas of the body to appear different from normal areas in the images This allows doctors to locate and treat problem areas.

Median Salary: $76,820

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 10% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associate’s Degree

Additional Information:
Nuclear medicine technologists must hold a minimum of an Associate’s Degree from an accredited nuclear medicine technology program. The predicted rise of employment is again related to an aging population. This group relies on nuclear medicine technologists to provide imaging to patients with conditions like cancer or heart disease.

#10 – Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists, or speech therapists, assess, diagnose, and treat communication and swallowing disorders. They work with children and adults struggling with speech, language, and swallowing disorders stemming from:

  • strokes
  • brain injury
  • developmental delays
  • autism

Almost 40% of speech therapists work in schools, while the rest work in healthcare facilities including hospitals.

Median Salary: $77,510

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 18% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
Employment of Speech-Language Pathologists is expected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is considered much faster than the average growth for all occupations. As the average age of the baby-boom population advances, they are at greater risk for heath conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as strokes and dementia.

#9 – Genetic Counselor

A genetic counselor is a healthcare professional with specialized training in genetics and counseling. They provide risk assessment, education, and support to patients who want information about their risk for inheriting certain diseases. They also interpret genetic tests and serve as patient advocates. Most genetic counselors work full-time. They work in a variety of settings including:

  • medical centers
  • private and public hospitals,
  • diagnostic laboratories.

Median Salary: $80,370

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 29% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
The field of Genetic Counseling is seeing a much faster than average rate of growth, with a prediction of almost 900 new positions nationwide by 2026.

#8 – Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists are part of a healthcare team that administers high doses of radiation to help treat cancer or other serious diseases. They collect and analyze patient data to plan a patient’s treatment. Most radiation therapists have earned a minimum of an associate’s degree and are usually licensed or certified by their particular state. Radiation therapist jobs can be found in:

  • hospitals
  • physician offices
  • outpatient treatment centers

These well-paid non-physician positions are usually full-time.

Median Salary: $82,330

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 13% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Associate’s Degree

Additional Information:
Employment of radiation therapists is expected to rise 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is considered faster than average growth for all occupations. As the population ages and radiation therapies advance, the demand for radiation therapists is expected to rise. The result is about 2,400 new jobs over the 10-year period.

#7 – Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists (OTs) are professionals with extensive training treating injured, sick, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. OTs work with patients to develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working that have been lost or impaired. Half of all OTs work in OT clinics or hospitals. Others work in nursing homes, schools, or home health.

Median Salary: $84,270

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 24% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
Employment of Occupational Therapists is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than average growth for all occupations. Experts predict there will be an increase for occupational therapists since OTs are a valuable resource in the treatment of a variety of illnesses and disabilities including Alzheimer’s disease and autism.

#6 – Physical Therapist

Physical therapists, or PTs, help patients improve their range of motion or manage pain caused by illness or injury. These highly-paid non-physician healthcare professionals play a critical role in the recovery and rehabilitation of individuals who have had surgery or need to recover from a loss of function. PTs create treatment plans, work with individuals to reach their full potential, and complete assessments.

Median Salary: $87,930

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 28% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Doctoral or professional degree

Additional Information:
Employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The need for physical therapy services will come, in large part, from the aging baby boom generation. These folks are staying active later in life but are also at risk for health conditions such as a stroke, which would require physical therapy. Physical therapists will also be needed to treat people with mobility issues stemming from common chronic conditions, such as diabetes or obesity.

#5 – Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers are responsible for analyzing and designing solutions in healthcare using both engineering and medical principles and science. The goal of this field is improving the quality and effectiveness of patient care through advances in equipment, devices, computer systems and software.

Median Salary: $88,550

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 7% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree

Additional Information:
Employment of biomedical engineers is expected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is considered as fast as average. The need for these professionals will continue to grow largely because of a the medical needs for an aging population and advances in technology.

#4 – Medical and Health Services Manager

Medical and Health Services Managers — also called Healthcare Executives, Healthcare Administrators or Healthcare Managers — are responsible for coordinating and directing medical services across a variety of settings. These professionals may manage an entire facility or specialize in managing one specific clinical area or department. Some of these professionals may also manage a medical practice for a group of physicians or clinics. Medical and health services managers have knowledge and training in:

  • business
  • ethics
  • finance
  • healthcare laws
  • technology.

Median Salary: $99,730

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 20% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree

Additional Information:
Most medical and health services managers hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree before entering the field. Master’s and Doctoral degrees are commonly found among higher-level professionals in this field. There are a wide variety of traditional and online Master’s Degree programs in healthcare administration or management, with a track record of high quality education in healthcare management.

#3 – Physician Assistant

Physician assistants, or PAs, are well paid and highly educated healthcare providers who examine, diagnose, and treat patients. Physician assistants can also order medications. Most PAs work full-time in physician offices, outpatient clinics or hospitals.

Median Salary: $108,610

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 37% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
Physician Assistants are required to complete an accredited educational program that typically leads to a Master’s Degree. Employment of physician assistants is expected to grow 37 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than average growth for all occupations. This projected growth stems from an increased demand in healthcare services.

#2 – Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses include nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. These nursing professionals provide both primary and specialty healthcare. In addition to earning a master’s degree in one of the APRN roles, they must pass a national and state certification exam.

Median Salary: $113,930

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 31% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Master’s Degree

Additional Information:
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses work in a variety of healthcare settings including:

  • hospitals
  • clinics
  • physician offices.

#1 – Pharmacist

Pharmacists play a significant role in health and wellness. Licensed pharmacists are responsible for dispensing prescription medications to patients and provide instruction in the safe use of these prescriptions. They may also provide advice to patients on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, conduct health and wellness screenings, and give immunizations.

Median Salary: $126,120

Predicted Rise in Employment: Predicted 6% Rise between 2016 and 2026

Required Education: Minimum of Doctoral or professional degree

Additional Information:
Pharmacists must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), a 4-year professional degree. They must also be licensed, which requires passing two exams. Between 2016 and 2026, an additional 17,400 pharmacist jobs are expected. The rising demand for prescription medications will lead to more demand for highly educated pharmacy professionals.

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