5 Healthcare Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

This is a tough time to invest heavily in your education. Of course, most people will tell you that if you want to achieve any sort of sustainable career that will pay you and your family comfortably you’ve got to go to college and get yourself a degree. That’s been common knowledge for decades now, especially as the applications of technology in the workplace only continue to expand. Even blue collar workers need to posses some highly specialized skills, and frequently that only comes through higher education. But the recession has cost a lot of people their jobs over the past several years, weakening the financial stability of millions of Americans. At the same time, tuition costs continue to rise, leaving most graduates facing a mountain of student loan debt. If you’re interested in a career in the healthcare field that doesn’t require going down this path, consider one of these five healthcare jobs that don’t require a college degree.

First on the list is the veterinary technician or technologist. Obviously you’ll need to bring a love of animals to the table here, as this is a strict specialization in the healthcare industry. But if you do love taking care of animals, work in this field will merge your passions with your career. You’ll basically handle many of the tests required to diagnose illnesses and injuries, while under the supervision of a fully licensed vet. It’s an assistant role, but one that’s incredibly hands on. All you’ll need is an associate degree and the right personality, and you’ll make around $15 an hour.

Next up is the diagnostic medical sonographer. This is another healthcare career that only requires an associate degree, but will actually pay you upwards of $30 an hour. The diagnostic medical sonographer will train on imaging devices, again with the goal of either diagnosing a problem or assessing the progress of a treatment. You probably know this person more commonly as the ultrasound technician, who uses his device to create an image using sound waves pushed through the body.

You could also get that associate degree and become a physical therapist assistant. You’ll work hand in hand with a licensed physical therapy professional to help care for patients who are rehabilitating from an injury. There are certain elements of the therapy process you won’t be able to take part in, but you will work the patient through balance and gait training, consistent exercise, massage and various other therapies you learn along the way.

Similar to that role is the occupational therapy assistant. You will need that associate degree here as well, but you’ll work on a wide range of issues patients are dealing with on a daily basis. Occupational therapy assistants help patients coping with a long term disability or illness, training them in how to care for themselves. You might help one patient learn how to use his wheelchair, while another will need assistance with a daily stretching and exercise regimen. These professionals regularly make more than $25 an hour.

Since you may not have the time or the willingness to get that two-year degree or even to takeĀ CNA classes online, you might take a look at working as a massage therapist. This career requires a training certification, but there is no degree requirement. You’ll use your hands to knead and press the muscles of your patient, helping to treat injuries, cut down pain and bring a bit of relaxation and stress to your clients. You’ll start at a lower salary, around $15 an hour. But if you are good at the work and find the right place of employment, you can make far more than that over time.

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