7 Medical Careers You Can Start With An Associates Degree

doctor looking at notesThere are many career choices in the medical field, and it is one of the fastest-growing industries. In fact,  it is estimated that healthcare jobs will grow by 14% up to 2028, as stated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Choosing a career path can be difficult, but deciding to get into a medical career does not require years of schooling. 

Several jobs in the medical field require a two-year associate’s degree. It is essential to research responsibilities, their requirements in the state you live in, and talk to people in the jobs to get a sense if you would like it as a career. Below are seven medical careers you can start with an associate’s degree.

1. Pharmacy Technician

Working under the direction of a pharmacist, a pharmacy technician assists with filling prescription medication for patients and health care professionals. They will measure the correct amount of medicine and provide proper labels and packaging for medicine. Requirements to become a pharmacy technician differ from state to state. Still, you can take a two-year associate’s degree where you will take courses in mathematical calculations, record keeping, medication dispensing, healthcare laws, policies and regulations, insurance billing, medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacy administration, and on-the-job training in a pharmacy setting. Candidates that earn an associate’s degree as a pharmacy technician can find employment in hospitals, retail pharmacies, pharmacy call centers, and specialty pharmacies. A fast search online can help you find a pharmacy technician training program. The average salary for a pharmacy technician can range from $32,000 to $45,000 per year, depending on location, experience, and education level. 

2. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Certified nursing assistants (CNA) assist with providing personal care to patients in a variety of settings, including home health, rehab, clinic, long-term care, and hospitals. Certified nursing assistants are a starting off point for many nurses. To become a CAN, you need to come to the certificate program, courses covered include necessary nursing skills, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, infection control, and hands-on clinical experience. Certified nursing assistants should show patience, compassion, and a good understanding of the job. Income for an accredited nursing assistant varies depending on location, years of experience, and education. The average pay is $12.33 per hour. 

3. Phlebotomist

When you have your blood taken, that is typically done by a phlebotomist. A phlebotomist is an integral part of patient care. To be a phlebotomist, you must not be squeamish with blood and bodily fluids, since the primary responsibility of a phlebotomist is poking patients veins with a needle and taking their blood. Phlebotomists are required to complete certification through a one or two-year associate’s degree. The average salary for a phlebotomist ranges from $32, 000 to $39, 000 per year. 

4. Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

A certified medical assistant is an excellent job if you enjoy interacting with people. CMA’s will primarily work in a clinic setting where they register patients, assign rooms to patients, take vital signs, and give immunizations. Certified Medical Assistants are often the first person a patient will see when they visit the doctors. To become a certified medical assistant certification is required. The course that is studied includes medical terminology, biology, 

anatomy, and laboratory work. Certified medical assistants can work in physician offices, long term care or outpatient facilities, and hospitals.  The salary range for a certified medical assistant ranges from $29,000 to $35, 000 per year. 

5. Medical Records Technician

Working behind the scenes in the healthcare industry is the medical records technicians. Medical records technician’s duties include accurately organizing and transcribing patient’s medical history, symptoms, and diagnosis, and then correctly categorizing treatments and procedures for insurance billing purposes. Medical records technicians typically work alone in a quiet environment and need to have strong attention to detail skills. To work as a medical records technician, you need to complete your certificate or degree. The average pay for a medical records technician is approximately $19.40 per hour. 

6. Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical therapy assistants provide clinical care to patients. They provide information and support to family and caregivers to support the physical, emotional, and self-care needs of their assigned patients. To become a physical therapy assistant, you do need to complete an associate’s degree. Studies for a physical therapy assistant, including psychology, anatomy, physiology, behavioral sciences, and clinical experiences. The salary range for physical therapy assistants between $24,000 and $32,000 a year. 

7. Medical Transcriber

A medical transcriber’s responsibility is to listen to notes from doctors and healthcare specialists and type letters up. Transcriptions are for insurance companies and patients files. Medical transcribers additionally review and edit medical documents that are created. A career as a medical transcriber is useful if you enjoy working on your own. Medical transcribers do need to complete a certification or associate’s degree to work in the field. On average medical transcriber’s salary is approximately $34,000 per year. 

Final Thoughts

If you are deliberating a career in the medical field, it is good to read job descriptions and see what is required, also talk to some professionals in the area to get a feel of the duties. It’s also important to know if you would enjoy talking to people every day or working alone behind a desk. There are numerous careers in the medical field that require only a two-year associate’s degree or shorter, so you could be in the workforce quickly. 

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