And while a growing doctor shortage is keeping med school attractive despite the high cost and long years of training, there are many healthcare jobs that approach some physician salaries, without the extra years (and debt) associated with becoming a doctor.
Here’s a look at five high-paying medical jobs that you don’t have to go to med school for:
1. Radiologist/Diagnostic Imaging Director – $134,300
Radiologist/Diagnostic Imaging Directors oversee and coordinate the activities of the entire radiology department.
Beyond managing the budget, purchasing new tech and stick-handling staff schedules to maintain efficient patient turn-around, an imaging director also evaluates the accuracy and quality of images, and monitors safety measures to protect patients and staff and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
Imaging directors also need to stay up-to-date on advancements in the field, providing technical assistance or demonstrating new techniques, equipment or procedures to staff.
Educational requirements are usually a bachelor’s degree in radiology, and several years of experience, preferably with management training.
2. Medical Perfusionist – $128,386
During surgery, a perfusionist temporarily controls a person’s circulation and respiratory function through the use of cardiopulmonary bypass machines and other equipment.
Those interested in a career as a perfusionist will need a bachelor’s degree or prerequisites that specialize in biology, chemistry, and anatomy for entrance into a perfusion program.
Perfusionists are certified by the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion, which involves a two-part exam and clinical evaluations.
3. Medical and Health Services Manager – $98,350 (Runner-up: Advanced-practice RN, $87,890)
You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration to prepare you for a career as a medical manager.
Medical and health services managers need tact, diplomacy, and above-average communication skills because they spend most of their time interacting with others.
Their overarching responsibilities include planning, directing, and coordinating medical and health services for a specific department, a small physician practice, or an entire medical facility. (This might involve hundreds of employees and millions of dollars worth of equipment.)
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement, although – more and more – HR departments are looking for a Master’s degree in health services administration, long-term care administration, or public administration.
4. Transplant Coordinator – $89,074 (Runner-up: Physical therapist, $86,850)
Transplant coordinators oversee all aspects of care for potential and actual transplant candidates and recipients, as well as all arrangements for multi-organ recovery.
This can involve an on-call schedule as the coordinator responds to initial donor referrals and evaluates potential donors, then obtains family consent and fills out medical history forms before making all arrangements for transporting the physician/recovery team and organ allocation.
Transplant coordinators are usually registered nurses or have a bachelor’s degree in a related medical field, such as social work, psychology, or allied health sciences.
5. Audiologist – $75,920
Audiologists diagnose and treat hearing, tinnitus, or balance problems. They can also fit patients for hearing aids, and assess for cochlear implant candidacy. Some audiologists specialize in children born with hearing impairment or the elderly, but most work with a cross section of people with hearing problems.
U.S. audiologists are regulated, so to be credentialed and licensed they need to spend a minimum of 75 semester hours in post-bachelor training, pass a national exam, do a practicum, and apply for a state license where they’ll be practicing.