5 Top Jobs in Health Care that only Require an Associate's Degree

The nursing field has gotten ever tighter, meaning higher-level degrees are helpful in getting jobs.
The nursing field has gotten ever tighter, meaning higher-level degrees are helpful in getting jobs.

Finding work can be daunting, especially something that pays the bills and provides enough left over to have a comfortable living. The good news is that you don't need a four year degree or higher to secure a well-paying job. You might not have the resources to attend a four year program, or that simply might not be a direction you want to go in. In lieu of a bachelor's degree, the next best thing is an associate's degree. If you go this route, you'll have to carefully target your studies since most jobs requiring an associate's have very specific requirements, and often include specific certifications. If you think this is your best path, check out five top to jobs in the health care industry inspired by US News.

1. Dental Hygienist – Dental hygienists specialize in examining and cleaning teeth. They also educate patients on how to maintain good dental hygiene and preventative maintenance. It's not just about keeping cavities at bay, dental hygienists can identify and educate patients about a variety of serious infections that start with the teeth. This job requires obtaining an associate degree from an accredited program and passing an exam to obtain the proper credentials. Median Salary: $71,000

2. Registered Nurse – Registered nurses take on a large degree of responsibility while they work. They are among the first health care professionals to see to patients, and are tasked with performing a wide array of medical procedures. While an associate degree is a must for this position, those who wish to potentially rise to an administrative position must obtain a bachelor's degree. Median Salary: $66,000

3. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer – Sonographers show parents what their child looks like in the womb, help identify heart murmurs, and much more. They're experts at using an ultrasonic imaging device to analyze internal organs in the body. This job requires a solid grasp of math and physics, but it can be very rewarding. People skills can help a great deal since the job requires you to stick a plastic wand on their body for quite a while with, often, cold gel. Median Salary: $66,000

4. Occupational Therapy Assistant – Occupational therapy assistants work with occupational therapists to rehabilitate patients to as high a quality of life as possible. This job doesn't require a bachelor's degree, but it does require a specialized education. Median Salary: $55,000

5. Medical Equipment Repairer – Modern medicine relies on the operation of highly advanced and sensitive pieces of hardware. Naturally, there's a large need for experts who can maintain and repair these devices. Medical equipment repairers are able to handle a variety of machines to make sure they run as needed, when needed. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, applicants need to have an associate degree in biomedical technology or engineering. Median Salary: $44,000

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