When people think of high-paying jobs in healthcare, they think of the most popular roles they see on TV and in the media. Surgeons, specialized doctors, nurse practitioners, and physical therapists get all the attention in the spotlight. But as technology advances into a new decade, lesser-known careers are emerging at the top with high-figure paychecks to boot. And here’s the real kicker: not all of them require a Master’s degree or higher. Here are the top 5 highest paying unknown roles in healthcare.
5) Nuclear Medicine Technician, Average Salary: $70,180
The title of Nuclear Medicine Technician may sound scary to some, but these professionals specialize in using an advanced body scanner that produces images that help them treat certain medical conditions. Before the scans, they give radioactive rugs to patients that will allow certain sections of the body to appear differently than other normal sections.
At the minimum, NMTs require an Associate’s degree in Nuclear Medicine. But there are some programs that require a higher level of education depending on state requirements. This field is predicted to grow 20% or higher by the year 2020.
4) Biomedical Engineer, Average Salary: $86,960
Biomedical engineers are very heavily involved in the field of research. They are responsible for coming up with solutions in medicine with the goal of improving patient outcomes. The need for these types of engineers will grow at a fast rate in the upcoming years due to an aging population that will require more medical care than any generation before.
The field of biomedical engineering is supposed to grow 27% by 2020, which is fast compared to most other medical job growth. In order to be a biomedical engineer, a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree is needed, but some positions require higher education. Check your state’s specific requirements to learn more.
3) Nurse Midwife, Average Salary: $96,000
Becoming a certified nurse-midwife (or CNM) is no simple feat. First, you would have to obtain a Master’s degree. Then you would have to pass your state’s certification exam requirements. Nurse-midwives are registered nurses with advanced practice who provide counseling and care starting from pre-conception all the way through pregnancy, birth, and the post-partum stage. They can also provide primary healthcare to women throughout their reproductive years.
In recent times, more federal legislation has passed for preventative healthcare, allowing the nurse-midwife field to grow far faster than the average rate of other American job roles. It’s predicted to grow by 31% by 2022. The demand will also be higher in the future with birth rates consistently on the rise in North America.
2) Nurse Anesthetist, Average Salary: $96,460
Also predicted to rise at 31% by 2020 is the growing field of nurse anesthetists. The main reason for this expected growth is due to the fact that after obtaining a Master’s degree and becoming certified, nurse anesthetists (or CRNAs) are trained to adapt to many different healthcare settings, including clinics, schools, hospitals, retirement homes and private practice offices.
Nurse anesthetists specialize in giving anesthesia during surgery and other medical procedures. They are advanced practice nurses that must achieve graduate-level education as well as board certification within their given state.
1) Perfusionist, Average Salary: $128,625
Many would consider it ironic that the highest-paying job description on this list is also the most unknown among the American public. With a 22% field growth expected by 2024, perfusionists are increasingly becoming much more in-demand within hospitals and clinics all across the country. Their role is much more specific than other roles on this list. While positions like nurse-midwife and biomedical engineer are more broad, a perfusionist is a surgical assist technician who is trained to operate heart-lung machines.
They interact with surgeons and other healthcare personnel during surgical procedures. While simultaneously running the hear-lung machine, they maintain a constant and open dialogue with the lead surgeons on the patient’s circulatory status. Their role also expands beyond one type of machine as well. Perfusionists are also trained to operate and manage ECMO machines in the ICU for patients whose heart and lungs aren’t functioning properly. They also help place heart-assist devices for surgery prep.
Unlike other positions requiring graduate or post-graduate college work, becoming a perfusionist only requires an additional two years of training, then certification through a national board such as the ABCP (the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion) and possibly state licensure depending on where you live. CLICK HERE to find the perfusion school directory.
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