The health care system is among the fastest growing sectors of the U.S. economy offering millions of jobs to qualified candidates. As health care advances, populations age, and the focus on health and wellness rises, employment opportunities for a number of specialized health care professionals of all educational backgrounds and experiences. Employment for individuals with medical training within a number of specialty fields is anticipated to increase dramatically throughout 2018, even for those without a doctoral degree. This is advantageous for individuals seeking to establish or propel careers within a dynamic industry.
Ranking the Highest Paying Health Care Careers
Here are the Top 10 Highest Paying Health Care Careers based upon average earnings, job opportunities for qualified candidates, and job security predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, SuperScholar.org, and TheBestSchools.org.
Anesthesiologists are responsible for administering pharmaceuticals to patients to ensure pain relief and local or general loss of sensation before surgery, childbirth, or to manage chronic ailments. Anesthesiologists are experts in the field of anesthesia and work closely with teams of other medical staff monitoring a patients vital signs during and after surgery and treatments. Anesthesiologists are required to complete rigorous studies within an 4 year pre-medicine undergraduate program and 4 year programs in medical school. Graduates then advance to 2 a to 3 year residency program to gain certification offered by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Earnings for anesthesiologists range from $256,321 to $369,367 annually.
Surgeons are highly specialized physicians who use a number of surgical methods, appliances, and instruments to treat injuries, illnesses, or deformities. Surgeons generally specialize training in orthopedic surgery, musculoskeletal systems, neurological systems, cardiovascular surgery, otolaryngology, and plastic or reconstructive surgery. Surgeons also order, perform, and interpret testing, examine patients, and offer preventive medical treatments to patients with disorders and disease. Due to the complexities of the human body, training to become a surgeon is intense and lengthy, requiring an eight year time investment and completion of a bachelor degree, medical school, and an internship. Earnings for surgeons are $186,044 to $339,738 annually.
Psychiatrists are mental health professionals who diagnose, research, and treat a number of behavioral, emotional, and cognitive disorders Psychiatrists are highly trained experts who use the combination of psychotherapy and medication to patients suffering from issues ranging from substance abuse, developmental disorders, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, post traumatic stress, and other disorders of the mind. Psychiatrists are required to complete four years of undergraduate training (generally in a pre-medical discipline), 4 years of medical school, and a four year residency program to qualify for employment. Many psychiatrists specialize their studies to advance to treat specific disorders, demographics, and conditions. Additionally, psychiatrists must gain and maintain certification through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to qualify for employment and gain access to continued education. Psychiatrists earn salaries of $112,950 to $164,220 annually.
4. Cardiovascular Perfusionist
Cardiovascular Perfusionists are specially trained medical professionals who administer medications and control the equipment used to artificially sustain or support circulatory and/or respirator functions in patient undergoing heart procedures and surgeries. Cardiovascular perfusionists work closely with physicians and surgical staff administering medications, monitoring patients’ vital signs, measuring circulatory and respiratory functions, and controlling patients’ body temperatures during procedures. Training to become a cardiovascular perfusionist requires a bachelor degree in nursing, medical technology, cardiac technology, or biological sciences. Cardiac perfusionists are also required to complete clinical experiences to gain hands on experience under the supervision of accredited perfusionists and completion of licensing exams offered by the American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion to gain and maintain certification. Cardiovascular perfusionists earn $99,212 to $122,357 annually.
Pharmacists are experts in the field of medicine and its effects. Pharmacists administer and dispense medications, educate patients, and offer information to patients regarding dosing, interactions, and proper usage. Pharmacists work closely with physicians, nurses, pharmaceutical suppliers, patients, and pharmaceutical staff. Pharmacists are highly trained and must complete an undergraduate degree and four years of graduate school within a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Graduates also must successfully past the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam or the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam administered by the National Association Boards of Pharmacy to qualify for employment. Pharmacists have salaries of $92,670 to $121,310 yearly.
6. Medical Dosimetrist
Medical Dosimetrists are specialists within the field of oncology who determine dosing amounts and treatment plans for patients with cancer. Medical dosimetrists utilize a number of computerized and mathematical methods to treat and reduce cancerous growths. Medical dosimetrists work closely with teams of oncologists, nurses, radiation therapists, and medical physicists, interpreting medical imaging techniques and planning radiation treatments in health care facilities, medical cancer treatment centers, colleges or universities, and outpatient hospital settings. Medical dosimetrists also oversee the use use of linear accelerators, CT scanners, and monitor a patient’s physical and emotional condition during treatment and after treatment. Medical dosimetrists are required to complete a minimum of a bachelor degree program in radiation therapy accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), gain two years of work experience, and successfully pass certification exams offered through the Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board. Medical dosimetrists earn $87,910 to $104,350 annually.
7. Nurse Midwife
A Nurse Midwife is a highly skilled health care professional who specializes in diagnosing, coordinating, and educating women throughout the stages of their reproductive years. Nurse midwives are vital members of health care teams who also provide prenatal care, assist with the birthing process and offer newborn and postpartum care. Nurse midwives also offer public health education based in wellness and preventive care. Due to the complexities of the work nurse midwives perform, training to become a nurse midwife is highly specialized and requires a minimum of a Masters of Nursing degree with a concentration in nurse midwifery accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Nurse midwives must also successfully complete the NCLEX-RN exam to gain and maintain licensure through the American Midwifery Certification Board to qualify for employment. Nurse midwives are also required to continue education and remain current of occupational changes and medical advancement throughout the course of their careers. Nurse midwives generally have salaries ranging from $84,680 to $99,824 yearly.
8. Physician Assistant
Physician Assistants are skilled health care professionals who offer general health care services to patients. Physician assistants work under the supervision of physicians and surgeons offering diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative health care treatments, education, and counsel. Physician assistants often offer specialized medical services in general internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, general and thoracic surgery, or orthopedics. Training to gain employment as a physician assistant requires four years of pre-medical undergraduate studies, two years of graduate studies through programs accredited by the American Academy of Physicians Assists, two years of clinical experience, and certification offered through the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Salaries for physicians assistants range from $68,210 to $97,070 annually.
9. Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Practitioners are vital members of any health care team as they offer primary and specialty care services to patients of all ages. Nurse practitioners diagnose, treat, and counsel patients based on practices focused on health and wellness with preventive and acute medical care. Many nurse practitioners specialize training in family practice, women’s health, pediatrics, geriatrics, adult practice, or acute care to advance to positions offering care to specific demographics. Training to qualify as a nurse practitioner involves completion of a Master of Science in Nursing, clinical experiences, and certification offered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Earnings for nurse practitioners range from $68,210 to $97,070 annually.
10. Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists assist clients with disabling developmental challenges in managing the daily activities of their lives by teaching skills necessary to be independent and productive. Occupational therapists help individuals with mental, physical, or emotional disorders and disabilities improve basic motor functions, reasoning abilities, strength, memory, perception, and hand eye coordination through physical, mental, and computer based exercises, orthoses, and other adaptive equipment. Occupational therapists are highly skilled and must complete a bachelor degree, a Master’s degree in occupational therapy, and a supervised clinical experience to establish their careers. Many occupational therapists also complete doctoral degree programs to qualify as experts in the field. Salaries for graduates who gain certification and advance to employment as occupational therapists are $55,090 to $82,290 annually.
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