Have debilitating and widespread nursing shortages tugged on your heartstrings? Are your eyes glued to the television screen as frontline warriors heroically care for contagious COVID-19 patients? If so, it may be time to link arms with the healthcare workers standing with feet firmly planted at the frontlines.
Despite circulating misconceptions, breaking into the healthcare field doesn’t always require years of schooling and training. It is possible to get the career you want with a two-year degree or certifications. Busting through the doors of the healthcare sector in an assistant or technician role is one way to do it. You can also opt to explore administrative and nursing positions, depending on your state’s licensing and hiring standards.
Healthcare is an industry where jobs are in demand, and many employers have more vacancies than they can fill. Keep reading to discover seven health sector jobs you can enter without a bachelor’s degree.
1. Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurses work directly with patients, often in hospitals or medical clinic settings. You can start your career as a registered nurse with an associate’s degree. In many locations, passing licensure exams is an additional requirement. To confirm, you’ll want to check with your state’s licensing board, your community college, or a professional nursing organization.
However, once you pass the exam and obtain your accredited two-year degree, you can apply to work as an RN in various specialties. You can work in pediatrics or psychiatric nursing—the choice is yours. As you gain experience, you can also work as a Travel RN.
Nurses who work with mobile health units and in the public health sector travel to underserved communities and other locations to help bring healthcare resources to residents. To explore future opportunities as a travel RN and bring healthcare to those that need it most, check out job marketplaces Fusion Marketplace. That way, you can do your part to mitigate travel nursing shortages.
2. Medical administrative assistant
Administrative assistants in medical settings provide clerical and scheduling support. In this position, you will also interact with patients and take care of their paperwork or medical charts. You’ll also gain invaluable knowledge of the industry and medical terms, take care of scheduling requests, and learn about diagnostic codes.
Although a college degree isn’t necessary for an administrative assistant role, many pursue certification as a medical administrative assistant. Certification can help you become familiar with medical terms and standard office procedures.
This type of training can take less than a year. If you already have an associate’s degree, you have probably acquired the computer skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed in this role. Medical administrative assistant positions are projected to grow by 8% from 2019 to 2029.
3. Pharmacy technician
A pharmacy technician spends each workday supporting pharmacists in supermarkets, hospitals, and clinics. The technician usually helps fill prescriptions, counting out the medication and filling orders. A pharmacy technician can also verify prescription orders and refill requests with doctors and healthcare practitioners.
To step into one of these roles, you may need to obtain certification, which usually takes less than a year. You’ll also gain insightful experience and can go on to acquire more schooling to advance to a pharmacist position.
4. Medical billers and coders
These are administrative roles that delve into converting medical terms into standardized industry codes. These codes become tied to medical procedures, diagnoses, and procedures and are the first thing insurance agencies encounter when receiving your claim for a doctor’s visit or a medical procedure.
For those lacking industry knowledge, insurance companies rely on billing codes to determine what amounts to payout to healthcare providers. The companies also use the codes to figure out whether the procedure or visit is eligible for reimbursement and what portion the patient is responsible for—if any.
Training to become a medical biller or coder usually includes certification, with some employers preferring a two-year degree. Projected growth for medical billing and coding positions is higher than average.
5. Nursing assistant or CNA
Not sure if you want to be a nurse but have a desire to work directly with patients? As a certified nursing assistant, you’ll provide support to doctors, nurses, and patients. CNAs also assume responsibility for taking patients’ vital signs, recording them, and addressing patients’ concerns.
Typically, CNAs will seek employment in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, hospitals, and organizations that deliver home healthcare. Taking on the role as a certificated nursing assistant requires you to have a caring outlook similar to a nurse.
But if you don’t feel ready to pass a registered nurse or licensed professional nurse exam, completing your CNA certification and test can help prepare you for a future as a nurse. You can prepare and pass a CNA exam in a few months, making it a more viable alternative for those who want to switch careers quickly.
6. Healthcare technology support specialist
If you find technology and computers fascinating but want to work in healthcare, a career as a support specialist might fit the bill. In this role, you’ll troubleshoot and maintain computer hardware and software, including electronic healthcare records and internal technology users such as nurses, doctors, and medical technicians.
You could spend your day taking calls through a help desk or onsite taking care of work orders. To prepare for a Healthcare Technology Support Specialist role, an associate’s degree in information technology can serve you well. A+ and Network+ certifications can also help.
Fair warning, some employers may require these certifications on top of an associate’s degree. You may also need to become familiar with electronic health records management and the software medical providers use. These roles can pay over $50,000 a year on average and have grown at above-average rates.
7. Physical therapist assistant
Physical therapist assistants work with patients that have life-altering injuries or conditions that require physical therapy. An assistant works with a therapist to help the injured complete physical therapy and recover from their injuries. Because high-risk patients often need assistance when completing exercises and progressing through various stages of the therapeutic process, physical therapy is a revered occupation in the healthcare community.
Generally speaking, aspiring physical therapy assistants should consider earning a specialized associate’s degree. Not convinced this two-year degree is grueling work involved? The need for physical therapy assistants is expected to snowball. Not to mention, annual salaries are also higher than average.
Healthcare is a rapidly growing field, and many employers are constantly hiring to keep up with demand. Although years of medical school aren’t for everyone, there are several careers you can pursue with minimal preparation and training.