The top medical careers for the future are a mixture of careers that involve direct patient care and careers that have little or no patient involvement. The health care field is considered the largest industry in the country. Health care related jobs account for eight of the top twenty fastest growing occupations. Many of these careers require a four-year college degree or less.
The career with the highest anticipated growth for the next several years is that of the medical assistant. This growth can be attributed to the aging population and the specialization of health care. Most medical assistants have some education beyond high school, but a college degree is not always necessary. A certificate or diploma can often be earned in about one year. Seldom is any degree higher than an associate’s level required. The median annual salary for medical assistants across the country is about $25,000.
Cardiovascular technicians and technologists may hold the fastest growing job in the health care profession. These technologists generally work in one of three cardiac specialty areas: invasive cardiology, vascular technology or echocardiography. Many jobs are available for candidates with a 2-year degree, but advances in vascular technology and sonography may soon require that technicians possess a bachelor’s level degree. The current average salary for this profession is over $38,000 annually.
Respiratory therapists can expect excellent job opportunities now and in the future. Respiratory therapists who also have some cardiopulmonary care experience can expect to earn higher salaries. An associate’s degree can prepare the student to enter the field of respiratory care. With expected growth and an average salary of $43,000 annually, respiratory therapy is one of the top medical careers for the future.
Individuals who prefer to work away from direct patient care may be interested in the growing field of diet and nutrition. Considering the emphasis on health through improved diets, this is a field with tremendous job growth potential. With a four-year degree, this career offers a starting yearly salary of $44,000.
Nursing continues to be one of the top medical careers for the future and for today. Both men and women are needed as registered and specialty nurses. These professionals tend to earn about $56,000 or more per year.