How to Choose a Healthcare Field That Actually Pays – 2024 Guide

Hey there! Considering a career in healthcare? You want a job that doesn’t just sound noble but also pays your bills and then some, right? Well, you’re in the right place.

I’ll walk you through some of the top-paying roles in the healthcare sector. Let’s cut to the chase and figure out which one might be the best bang for your buck.

Annual Salaries in Healthcare Field

1. Physicians and Surgeons

Surgeons during surgery

First up, physicians and surgeons are pretty much the MVPs when it comes to paychecks in healthcare. We’re talking a median salary of a whopping $229,300.

Yes, the road to becoming one is long and hard (think lots of schooling and sleepless nights), but if you’re up for the challenge, the reward is a fat paycheck and the chance to save lives.

2. Dentists

Female dentist in her dental office

A career as a dentist could be perfect for you. Dentists make a good living helping people take care of their smiles. The average dentist’s salary is around $159,000 per year!

It’s not as easy as just telling kids to brush though. Dentistry takes a lot of school. You need to get a doctorate degree, which usually takes 8 years after high school. Then you do even more training after that! It’s a big commitment, but it pays off with that salary.

This is real medical work. You need to know how to fix cavities and crooked teeth. Dentists also check for diseases in people’s mouths. It’s serious stuff that helps keep people healthy.

3. Podiatrists

Podiatrist performs surgery

Podiatrists specialize in feet and the lower leg. They earn a solid median salary of $148,720. The catch? The job growth is a tad slow at about 1%. If feet don’t gross you out and you’re okay with a niche field, this could be a stable, well-paying job.

4. Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s Assistants

Nurse in Hospital

Now, if becoming a doctor seems too daunting, consider the roles of nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. They earn $125,900 and $126,010 respectively. Plus, they’re in demand—nurse practitioners have a projected job growth of 38%, and physician’s assistants 27%. These roles offer great pay, less schooling than doctors, and a lot of job security.

For those looking to get into a rewarding career in healthcare, particularly as a nurse practitioner, Cleveland State University offers a comprehensive online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a specialization as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

This program is designed to equip you with the advanced practice skills necessary to provide primary care across a patient’s lifespan. The curriculum blends theoretical foundations with real-world application, ensuring you’re ready for certification as an FNP within about two years, thanks to a mix of online coursework and essential clinical hours near your community. Learn more here.

5. Pharmacists

Pharmacists in Drugstore

Pharmacists make good money, with a typical salary of over $132,000. But there is some worrying news about this job. More people are getting their prescriptions filled online instead of at drugstores. This could be bad for this specific profession.

If you want to be a pharmacist, think about how things might change. The way we get our medicine might not be the same in the future. Drugstores may not need as many pharmacists if fewer people visit the store.

Online prescription services are becoming more popular. This could hurt jobs for those working at stores. But pharmacists still have important work to do. They help people understand their medicine and know what drugs are safe to take.

6. Optometrists

Optometrists conduct patient eye exams

If helping people see better sounds rewarding, think about becoming an optometrist. These docs earn around $125,590 and need a doctoral degree in Optometry. It’s more than a decent paycheck for a very precise kind of care.

Again, as all the other fields I’ve listed so far, you need to spend a lot of time in school to get to this level, but if this strikes you as a field in which you could find yourself, consider it!

7. Veterinarians

Pre-operative examination for a dog

For those who prefer furry patients, veterinarians earn a median salary of $103,260 and the field is growing at a healthy clip of 20%. It’s perfect if you love animals and medicine.

8. Physical and Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapy

Physical therapists and occupational therapists earn $97,720 and $93,180 respectively. These careers require a doctoral degree, but they allow you to make a tangible difference in people’s daily lives by helping them regain mobility and independence.

9. Radiation and Genetic Counselors

CT in Clinic - Radiation therapists

Radiation therapists and genetic counselors make about the same amount of money each year. Radiation therapists earn around $89,530. Genetic counselors earn close to that at $89,990.

Both of these jobs are really important. Radiation therapists help a lot with cancer treatment. They use radiation to fight cancer cells. Genetic counselors work with families who may have diseases that run in their family. They help people understand if they could get sick from things in their genes.

These jobs need special training because the work is complicated. But they let you really help people in a big way. For radiation therapists, they use their skills to fight cancer. And genetic counselors can ease worries for families. Both are very rewarding jobs but require a lot of school and skills, so think very carefully if you want to opt for this type of career.

What’s Your Pick?

So, picking a healthcare career, is not easy, and above everything, it’s not just about chasing after that sweet cash. Oh no, it’s about finding a profession that matches your passion and lifestyle.

You want something that gives you more than just a fat paycheck. If you’re into the adrenaline rush of emergency rooms or the nitty-gritty of genetic counseling, trust me, there’s a healthcare career that’ll line your pockets nicely.

But here’s a little reminder: each of these gigs has its own share of challenges and rewards. So, choose wisely. Pick something that suits your skills and interests. And hey, who knows? Fast forward a few years, and you might find yourself in a career that not only fills your bank account but also makes a real difference in the world. Good luck out there!