Careers within the health care industry are expected to expand into a record number of job opportunities as baby boomers continue to age. Health care careers dominate eight of the top ten highest paying occupations and offer a variety of employment possibilities with ample salaries. During May 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported steady employment growth in health care related careers.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported individuals within health care careers have the best average hourly wages, with the exception of chief executives and airplane pilots. The demand for health care providers and technicians increases significantly with an aging baby boomer generation and due population increases. Many health care professions afford individuals rewarding and lucrative careers. Based on our research, here are the best paying jobs in health care:
The highest paying career within the health care industry is the surgeon with the average annual salary of $219,770. A surgeon is required to treat injury, disease, or deformity of bones and tissues through operations. Surgeons also examine patients, perform and interpret diagnostic tests, and counsel patients for preventative health care. Training to become a surgeon is often expensive and extensive, with a minimum of 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and 3 to 8 years of internship and residency. Further training to become specialized in a specific field of surgery is often advised. As with any career, dedication is the key to success.
The second best paying job within the health care industry is the anesthesiologist with an average annual salary of $211,750. An anesthesologist administers pharmacuticals to patients before surgery to cause a local or general loss of sensation to provide pain relief. Anesthesiologists also evaluate and treat patients with other medical staff to monitor heart rate,, body temperature, blood pressure, and respiration rates during and after surgery. Anesthesiologists also provide pain relief for patients for those suffering from chronic pain, during labor and delivery, and for patients within an intensive care unit. Training to become an anesthesiologist requires supreme academics, tremendous dedication, and 12 years of schooling.
3. Obstetricians And Gynecologists
Obstetricians and Gynecologists are the third best paying jobs within the health care industry with an average annual salary of $204,470. Obstetricians and Gynecologists (OB/GYNs) specialize in providing women's health services. Obstetricians provide pregnancy care, pregnancy related education and counseling, assist with labor and delivery, and post delivery care as well as contraceptive options. Gynecologists diagnose, prevent, or treat disorders within the female reproductive system and the female anatomy. The required training for OB/GYNs is lengthy and highly specialized, encompassing at least 12 years of undergraduate, medical school, internship, and residency.
4. Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons
Oral maxillofacial surgeons have the fourth highest paying job within the health care industry with an average annual salary of $210,710. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are specialists in the field of dentistry who diagnose, treat, and repair tissues of the head, neck, jaw, mouth, and face. Oral maxillofacial surgeons provide care for patients who suffer injuries, disease, disorders, or defects within the head and neck. Training to become an oral maxillofacial surgeon requires intensive studies offered through a four year undergraduate dentistry program, a two year graduate program, a four to six year residency program accredited by the American Dental Association, and a clinical experience performing surgery and providing inpatient or outpatient dental procedures.
5. Internists Internists
Internists Internists have the fifth best paying health care careers with an annual average salary of $183,990. Internists use a variety of diagnostic tests and procedures to administer nonsurgical treatment of disorders and problems associated with internal organ systems. Internists provide medication or hospitalization for disorders affecting the stomach, kidneys, liver, and/or digestive tract. Internists also refer patients to specialists when more complex treatment is required as well as treat patients referred from other specialists. Training to become an internist requires four years of undergraduate studies, four years of medical school, and one year of residency.
6. Family and General Practitioners
Family and general practitioners have the sixth highest paying health care careers with an annual average salary of $168,550. Family and general practitioners are provide traditional medical care and are the first line of medical care for patients. Family and general practitioners assess and treat a variety of conditions, disorders, illnesses, and injuries as well as refer patients with more serious conditions to specialists and other providers for more intensive medical treatment. Training to become a family and general practitioner requires four years of undergraduate studies, four years of medical school, and one year of residency.
Orthodontists have the seventh best paying health care careers with an annual average salary of $206,190. Orthodontists perform oral surgery, reconstruction, and therapy for patients. Orthodontists prevent or correct misaligned teeth and jaws for cosmetic or health reasons in children and adults. Training to become an orthodontist requires a four year undergraduate degree in medical science, a four year graduate degree in an accredited dental program, and a two to three year residency program.
Psychiatrists have the eighth highest paying health care jobs earning an average annual salary of $163,660. Psychiatrists assess and treat mental illness as primary mental health caregivers. Psychiatrists use a combination of psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, hospitalization, and medication to treat a variety of mental illness and behavioral disorders. Psychiatrists treat patients within group, family, or individual psychotherapy through discussions to counsel and determine solutions to behavioral patterns, exploration of past experiences and interactions with others. Training to become a psychiatrist requires four years of undergraduate work in pre-med, biology, or psychology studies, four years of medical school, four years of residency and an internship working with patients in clinics or hospitals.
Pediatricians have the ninth best paying health care jobs earning an average annual salary of $161,410. Pediatricians provide specialized health care for infants, children, teenagers, and young adults. Pediatricians assess and treat a variety of disorders and ailments associated with young people, monitor and track growth and development, and treat minor injuries, infectious diseases, or administer immunizations. Pediatricians may also specialize in pediatric surgery or the treatment of other chronic and serious medical conditions in children. Training to become a pediatrician. Pediatricians must complete a four year undergraduate degree with excellent grades to proceed to four years of medical school followed by a one year pediatric internship. Training to be a pediatrician concludes with a two year residency in private offices and hospital settings.
Dentists have the tenth highest paying health care jobs earning an average annual salary of $156,850. Dentists diagnose, treat, and prevent disorders and problems associated with the teeth and tissues of the mouth. Dentists also instruct patients regarding the aspects of dental care with dietary and instructional counsel. Dentists also perform corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones of the jaw to treat gum disease, remove tooth decay, administer medications, evaluate x-rays, and perform tooth extractions. Training to become a dentist requires a four year undergraduate degree in a scientific field, four years of dental school, and completion of a dental clinical treating patients under the supervision of licensed dentists.
Podiatrists have the eleventh best paying heath care careers with an annual average salary of $131,730. Podiatrists diagnose and provide treatment for a variety of diseases, injuries, and disorders of the foot and lower leg. Podiatrists use a variety of techniques and procedures to prevent or correct deformities, infections, and injuries associated with specific diseases, like diabetes and arthritis. Podiatrists also prescribe medication, fit corrective shoes, perform physical therapy, set fractures, and perform surgery. Training to become a podiatrist requires four years of undergraduate work, four years of study within a podiaric program, and complete a three year residency.
Prosthodontists have the twelfth highest paying health care jobs with an annual average salary of $125,400. Prosthodontists are dental specialists who restore and replace natural teeth with dentures, dental implants, and oral or facial prostheses. Prosthodontists use facial and oral protheses to treat or correct appearance, speech, and/or swallowing problems caused by disease, injury, or deformity. Training to become a prosthodontist requires attaining a four year undergraduate degree, four years of dental school, and completion of a 3 year postdoctoral program.
Optometrists are the thirteenth best paying health care career with an annual average salary of $106,960. Optometrists are providers of vision care who examine, test, diagnose, and treat vision problems. Optometrists prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, perform laser surgery, and provide other treatments involving vision therapy and rehabilitation. Optometrists also promote nutrition and hygiene counseling and education to minimize or prevent the risk of eye diseases and disorders. Training to become an optometrist requires four years of undergraduate study, four years of an Optometry program accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education, and one year post graduate clinical residency.
Pharmacists have the fourteenth highest paying health care career with an annual average salary of $106,630. Pharmacists are experts in the field of medicine and the effects of medicine. Pharmacists dispense medicine or compounding drugs, fill prescriptions, and inform patients regarding correct dosing and use of medications. Pharmacists are professionals who maintain strong relationships with doctors, nurses, patients, and drug suppliers. Training to become a pharmacist requires a four year undergraduate degree and four years of graduate work within a pharmacy program.
15. Physicians Assistants
Physicians assistants have the fifteenth best paying health care jobs with an average annual salary of $84,830. Physician assistants practice general health care services to provide patients with diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative health care services under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. Physicians assistants are important members of any health care team as they collect medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests or x-rays, counsel patients, and prescribe medications. Training to become a physicians assistant requires four years of undergraduate studies in health science, completion of a two year American Academy of Physicians Assistants program, and two years of clinical studies working directly with patients in a hospital or private physician's setting.
16. Radiation Therapists
Radiation therapists have the sixteenth highest health care career earning an average annual salary of $77,340. Radiation therapists are integral to any medical radiation oncology team as they develop and administer treatment plans for patients with cancer. Radiation therapists use x-rays and computer tomography (CT) scans to locate tumors and administer treatments ordered by a radiation oncologist and radiation physicist. Radiation therapists also answer any patient questions and position patients for linear accelerator treatments to destroy cancer cells. Training to become a radiation therapist requires completion of a four year undergraduate program in radiography, completion of a one year certificate program in radiation therapy, and completion of State licensing requirements.
17. Physical Therapists
Physical therapists have the seventeenth best health care career earning an average annual salary of $76,220. Physical therapists examine, evaluate, diagnose, develop treatment plans and provide prognosis for patients with limitations, disabilities, or motor impairments. Physical therapists utilize exercise, mobilization, manipulation, heat, cold, and electrical stimulation to restore function, improve mobility, or decrease a patient's pain to rehabilitate, correct, or and restore a patient's mobile function and foster independence. Training to become a physical therapist requires a four year undergraduate degree and a two year master's degree program in physical therapy.
18. Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists have the eighteenth highest health care jobs earning an average annual salary of $70,680. Occupational therapists' primary goal is to assist clients in learning skills necessary for independent, productive, and satisfying lives. Occupational therapists treat patients who suffer from mentally, physically, or emotionally disabling developmental challenges by improving a client's basic motor functions and reasoning abilities to improve daily living skills. Occupational therapists use a variety of physical, mental, and computer based exercises to help clients improve strength, hand-eye coordination, memory, reasoning, and perception. Occupational therapists also provide clients with adaptive equipment like wheelchairs, orthoses, eating and dressing aids, or computer aided adaptive equipment for patients with permanent disabilities. Training to become an occupational therapist requires a four year undergraduate degree, completion of a two year master's degree in occupational therapy, and a twenty four week supervised clinical experience. Many occupational therapists go on to complete doctoral degree programs.
19. Nuclear Medicine Technologists
Nuclear medicine technologists have the nineteenth best paying health care careers. Nuclear medicine technologists perform diagnostic procedures (like x-rays) and administer radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose and treat ailments, disorders, and diseases. Nuclear medicine technologists often determine the presence of disease on the base of metabolic change following the administration of radioactive pharmaceuticals and then monitor changes - rather than monitoring changes in organ structure. Nuclear medicine technologists use cameras, scanners, and other medical equipment to create diagnostic images following the administration of radiopharmaceuticals to allow physician's to interpret areas in a patient's body which localize and emit radioactive signals to detect abnormalities, disease, and disorders. Training to become a nuclear medicine technologist requires completion of a four year undergraduate degree and completion of certification and licensing as determined by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board.
20. Speech-Language Pathologists
Speech language pathologists have the twentieth highest paying health care careers earning an annual average salary of $68,350. Speech language pathologists are also called speech therapists. Speech language pathologists assess, diagnose, treat, and assist in the prevention of disorders in relation to speech, language, cognitive communication, voice, swallowing, and fluency issues. Speech language pathologists work with clients who have congenital, developmental, or acquired speech or language problems resulting from developmental delays or disorders, learning disabilities, hearing loss, brain injury or deterioration, voice disorders, or emotional problems. Speech language pathologists also work with clients who have swallowing disorders. Speech language pathologists tailor and execute a plan of care for each patient's needs using special instruments, assessment methods, and the source and extent of impairments. Speech language pathologists also help patients develop or recover communication and swallowing skills to increase a patient's ability to fulfill educational, vocational, or social roles and help family members to recognize and change behavior patterns which may impede communication or treatment. Speech language pathologists work in clinical, educational, or hospital settings to provide care for patients as well as conduct research on how individuals communicate. Training to become a speech language pathologist requires a four year undergraduate program, obtaining a two year graduate degree often accredited by the American Speech Language Hearing Association, and completion of a supervised clinical practicum. Many masters level graduates pursue a doctoral level degree.
21. Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists have the twenty first best paying health care jobs with an average annual salary of $67,860. Dental hygienists work closely with dentists to provide care for a patients' teeth and gums. Dental hygienists remove soft and hard deposits from teeth, provide preventative dental care, and instruct patients on practicing good oral hygiene. Dental hygienists use a variety of tools and instruments to clean and polish teeth, apply cavity preventative agents like flouride and sealants, and also use x-rays to take dental pictures. Dental hygienists sometimes administer anesthetics, place and carve filling materials, remove sutures, apply restoratives, and apply periodontal dressings as determined by state laws and regulations. Dental hygienists also prepare clinical or laboratory diagnostic tests for dentists to interpret. Training to become a dental hygienist within a private dental office requires a two year certificate program or associate's degree in dental hygiene from a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. A bachelor's degree or higher is required for dental hygienists who seek a research, teaching, or clinical practice within a public or school health program.
Audiologists have the twenty second highest paying health care career with an annual average salary of $66,850. Audiologists work with individuals of all ages who have hearing, balance, and related ear problems. Audiologists determine and identify hearing loss and auditory or balance related sensory or neural problems using audiometers, computers, and other testing devices. Audiologists measure and assess the extent of hearing or balance problems to help diagnose and devise treatment options caused by trauma, genetic disorders, viral infections, medications, aging, or exposure to loud noise. Audiologists also keep records based upon the evaluation, progress, and discharge of patients. Audiologists treat hearing and balance issues by cleaning the ear canal, fitting and dispensing hearing aids, fitting and programing cochlear implants, dispensing personal or large area amplification systems or alerting devises, or providing instructional training and counseling regarding hearing loss and treatments. Audiologists often work closely with physicians, physical therapists, and occupational therapists to develop specialized treatment plans for individuals with hearing or balance impairments. Training to become an audiologist requires a four year undergraduate degree and obtaining a masters or doctoral degree in audiology accredited by the American Speech Language Hearing Association.
23. Orthotists And Posthetists
Orthotists and prosthetists have the twenty third best paying health care career earning an average annual salary of $66,600. Orthotists and prosthetists design, construct, and fit artificial limbs or orthopedic devices for patients with physical deformities or disorders which can not be corrected by surgery. Orthotists specialize in the design and fit of orthopedic braces, like surgical supports or corrective shoes while prostheitsts specialize in the design and construction of artificial limbs. Orthotists and prosthetists use high tech computers and other tools or materials to construct devices for disabled, deformed, or disfigured patients following examination of the affected area. Orthotists and prosethetists work with a team of technicians and assistants to construct, measure, fit, and adapt orthopedic braces, appliances, or prostheses. Orthotists and prosethetists also counsel patients on proper usage and maintenance of devices. Training to become a orthotist and/or prosethetist requires a four year degree accredited by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics as well as completion of a residency program under the supervision of a licensed professional.
24. Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
Occupational health and safety specialists have the twenty fourth highest paying health care jobs earning an annual average salary of $64,200. Occupational health and safety specialists work as experts to prevent harm to workers, property, the environment, and/or the general public. Occupational health and safety specialists also work to increase work place productivity, prevent government fines, conduct safety inspections, and collect and measure workplace data. Occupational health and safety specialists test air, water, machines, lighting, and other elements of work or public environments to maximize safety and minimize health risks. Occupational health and safety specialists also devise, implement, and evaluate safety programs, regulations, and personal protective equipment. Occupational health and safety specialists often work closely with regulatory agencies and organizations to educate employers for safer and healthier working practices. Training to become an occupational health and safety specialist requires a four year undergraduate degree, and typically the completion of a master's degree program though multiple paths are available for entry level employment following completion of an associate degree or certificate program.
25. Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
Medical and clinical laboratory technicians have the twenty fifth best paying health careers with an average annual salary of $55,620. Medical and clinical laboratory technicians examine and perform tests on laboratory specimens to detect, diagnose, and assist in treatment of disease. Medical and clinical laboratory technicians use microscopes, cell counters, computerized instruments, and other sophisticated lab equipment to perform complex chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, and bacteriological tests. Medical and clinical laboratory technicians examine and analyze body fluids and cells, prepare specimens for examinations, determine drug levels in blood, analyze chemical content in fluids, match blood for transfusions, and ascertain the presence of bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms. Medical and clinical laboratory technicians also evaluate and analyze results from tests and relay the results to physicians. Training to become a medical and clinical laboratory technician varies tremendously. Most medical and clinical laboratory technicians must complete an associate's degree or certificate program for entry level positions with most employment organizations preferring candidates to possess a bachelor's degree in medical technology or life sciences accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Many medical and clinical laboratory technicians specialize training dependent upon job requirements.
26. Radiologic Technologists and Technicians
Radiologic technologists and technicians have the twenty sixth highest paying health care careers earning an annual average salary of $54,180. Radiologic technologists and technicians, often called radiographers, perform diagnostic imaging for use in detecting medical problems, disorders, and conditions. Radiologic technologists and technicians conform to safety regulations to perform radiologic examinations using x-rays, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and mammography to produce films of potentially affected parts of the body. Radiologic technologists also explain procedures and position patients to ensure safety and prevent the patients, the coworkers and themselves unnecessary exposure to radiation. Radiologic technologists and technicians work closely with physicians and provide images of body parts in relation to a physician's orders regarding appropriate density, detail, measurement, and contrast. Radiologic technologists and technicians also keep detailed patient records and adjust as well as maintain equipment. Training to become a radiologic technologist and technician begins with a two year associates degree in radiology accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology or completion of a 21 to 24 month certificate program. Many radiologic technologists and technicians advance with on the job training or by pursuing a bachelor's degree or higher.
27. Occupational Therapist Assistants
Occupational therapist assistants have the twenty seventh best paying health care jobs earning an annual average salary of $50,830. Occupational therapist assistants work under the supervision of occupational therapists offering rehabilitative services to clients with mental, physical, emotional, or developmental impairments. Occupational therapist assistants develop treatment plans, working closely with occupational therapists, to improve clients' quality of life and abilities to perform day to day activities. Occupational therapist assistants focus on increasing patients' level of independence by teaching skills and exercises necessary to increase mobility, function, or compensation for absent or lost motor skills. Occupational therapist assistants prepare materials and assemble equipment needed for treatment, perform a wide range of clerical tasks like scheduling appointments, answering telephones, ordering or restocking supplies, interacting with a client's health insurance provider, and help evaluate or modify rehabilitation plans as needed. Training to become an occupational therapist assistant requires a two year associates degree or completion of a 21 to 24 month certificate program accredited by The American Occupational Therapy Association though some occupational therapist assistants begin with an entry level job and receive on the job training.
28. Physical Therapy Assistants
Physical therapy assistants have the twenty eighth highest paying health care career earning an annual average salary of $48,590. Physical therapy assistants work under the supervision of physical therapists with physically disabled, developmentally delayed, or injured patients to treat and improve a patient's mobility and independence, relieve pain, or decrease physical disabilities. Physical therapy assistants provide exercise, instruction, therapeutic methods (like electrical stimulation, mechanical traction, massage, and ultrasound), and strength or balance training to patients with disabling conditions, head injuries, fractures, heart disease, head injuries, or developmental or physical limitations. Physical therapy assistants also prepare patients for physical therapy, order supplies and equipment, answer phones, and perform clerical duties such as: record keeping of a patient's response to treatment, reporting the outcome of each treatment to a physical therapist, and preparing insurance forms. Training to become a physical therapy assistant requires a two year associate's degree or completion of a 21 to 24 month certificate program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education followed by a clinical experience.
29. Occupational Health and Safety Technicians
Occupational health and safety technicians have the twenty ninth best paying health care career earning an annual average salary of $47,280. Occupational health and safety technicians work with occupational health and safety specialists to decrease risks and prevent harm to workers, property, the environment and general public. Occupational health and safety technicians also collect workplace date, perform equipment and machine inspections, prepare and calibrate scientific equipment, design safe work spaces, test air, water, lighting, or other elements of a work environment, and implement and evaluate safety programs. Occupational health and safety technicians also ensure that hazardous materials are properly stored or contained and that safety regulations regarding personal protective equipment and work spaces are ensured. Occupational health and safety technicians also work for government agencies conducting safety inspections and imposing fines. Occupational health and safety technicians also work with private organizations to increase productivity of employees, reduce absenteeism, decrease equipment downtime, determine on the job health hazards, and assist in decreasing insurance and workers compensation costs. Training to become an occupational health and safety technician varies per industry. Many occupational health and safety technicians gain entry level employment and receive classroom or on the job training. Some occupational health and safety technicians complete a two year associate's degree or certificate program in addition to on the job training. Most occupational health and safety technicians employed by the government are required to possess a four year bachelor's degree.
30. Respiratory Therapy Technicians
Respiratory therapy technicians hold the thirtieth highest paying health care jobs earning an annual average salary of $45,680. Respiratory therapy technicians work under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians to evaluate, treat, and care for patients suffering from breathing problems or other cardiopulmonary disorders. Respiratory therapy technicians follow specific, well defined respiratory care procedures and use a combination of ventilators, oxygen devices, and breathing treatments to treat various conditions including, pneumonia, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, cystic fibrosis and other disorders. Respiratory therapy technicians determine a patient's respiratory dysfunction, apply well defined therapeutic techniques as ordered by respiratory therapists and doctors, and keep records of each patient's therapy. Respiratory therapy technicians also modify treatments according to established protocols as well as prepare, clean, maintain, and test respiratory therapy devices like mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, aerosol generators, and EKG machines. Training to become a respiratory therapy technician requires completion of an associate's degree or 21 to 24 month certificate training program combined with on the job training or bachelor's degree. Both degree programs must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
31. Athletic Trainers
Athletic trainers have the thirty first best paying health care careers earning an annual average salary of $44,020. Athletic trainers help to prevent, diagnose, assess, treat, and rehabilitate injuries for clients of all ages through various professions, from pro-athletes to industrial workers. Athletic trainers work to prevent injuries by educating clients on means of reducing risks for injuries and advising proper equipment usage. Athletic trainers also offer exercises to improve balance and strength or develop therapy programs to treat injuries. Athletic trainers are often first responders when injuries occur and offer protective or injury preventative devices such as tape, bandages, and braces They also help apply protective or injury-preventive devices such as tape, bandages, and braces. Athletic trainers also perform administrative duties by meeting with athletic directors, physicians, and administrative officers to address budgeting, policy implementations, and purchasing initiatives. Training to become an athletic trainer requires a four year bachelor's degree accredited by the National Athletic Trainers' Association.
32. Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses have the thirty second highest paying health care careers earning an average annual salary of $40,900. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide care for patients who are sick, injured, convalescent, or disabled under the supervision of physicians and registered nurses per regulations determined by state and facility regulations. LPNs and LVNs work in a variety of settings, including nursing homes, private doctor's offices, hospitals, nursing homes, or within a patient's home. LPNs and LVNs provide bedside care for patients focused on keeping patients comfortable, as well as measure and record patients' vital signs, prepare and give basic medical treatments including injections, enemas, catheter monitoring, wound care, and alcohol rubs or massages. LPNS also assist with bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, patient positioning, and patient assistance with feeding, walking, or standing. LPNs also perform routine laboratory tests, record food or fluid intake and bodily output, and clean and monitor medical equipment. LPNs also provide assistance to physicians and registered nurses and monitor a patient's reaction to medication or treatment. LPNs provide health counseling to patients and care instruction to family members. LPNs also complete insurance forms, pre-authorization paperwork, and referral information. Training to become a licensed practical nurse or licensed vocational nurse required completion of a one year certification program or obtaining a two year associate's degree from a technical or vacational school, or community or junior college. Many high schools, hospitals, and universities offer training programs for employment as an LPN or LVN. All programs must be accredited by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and graduates must complete licensure offered by the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-PN.
33. Massage Therapists
Massage therapists have the thirty third best paying health care jobs earning an annual average salary of $39,780. Massage therapists can specialize in more than 80 different types or modalities of massage. Massage therapists use touch to manipulate soft tissues muscles of the body to treat pain, reduce stress, rehabilitate sports injuries, and promote good health. Massage therapists use a far range of treatments, lasting 5 to 10 minutes or up to 2 hours, to treat clients for medical reasons or relaxation purposes. Massages therapists base the type of treatment upon a client's needs and physical condition following an informal interview to ascertain a client's medical history, identify health conditions and stress levels, and ensure desired results from the massage. Many massage therapists are self employed and work independently by appointment with many regular clients. Training to become a massage therapist requires a minimum of 500 hours as determined by State regulations and locality. Massage therapy programs are offered by trade or vocational schools accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation. Upon completion, graduates must become licensed through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.
34. Dental Assistants
Dental assistants have the thirty fourth highest paying health care careers earning an annual average salary of $34,000. Dental assistants work closely with dentists to provide patient care and office or laboratory duties. Dental assistants obtain and update patient records and help patients feel comfortable while in the dentist's chair. Dental assistants prepare patients for treatment, sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment, hand instruments and materials to dentists, and instruct patients on post-treatment care or general oral health. Dental assistants also process dental x-rays, prepare materials for impressions and restorations, remove sutures, apply topical anestheitcs to gums and cavity preventatives to teeth, remove excess materials used during the filling process, or place dental dams to isolate teeth for treatment. Dental assistants also may perform clerical duties by scheduling and confirming appointments, receiving patients, updating treatment records, performing accounting duties, and ordering supplies or materials. Training to become a dental assistant generally requires a one year certificate program or two year associates degree offered by community or junior colleges, technical institutes, or trade schools accredited by the commission on Dental Accreditation. Some individuals receive on the job training as a dental assistant after completing high school.
35. Medical Transcriptionists
Medical transcriptionists have the thirty fifth best paying health care careers earning an annual average salary of $33,350. Medical transcriptionists listen to dictated recordings produced by health care professionals or physicians and then transcribe them into medical reports, correspondence, or other administrative material. Medical transcriptionists generally use a head set, foot pedal for pausing the recording, speech recognition technology, and a personal computer or word processor to transcribe the recording into text. Medical transcriptionists produce discharge summaries, medical history and physical examination reports, operative reports, consultation reports, autopsy reports, diagnostic imaging studies, progress notes, and referral letters and then edit the text for grammar and clarity. Upon completion of transcribing the documents, medical transcriptionists return the texts to the physicians and health care professionals for review, signature, or corrections. The documents then remain part of a patient's permanent medical file. Medical transcriptionists must understand medical terminology, comply with regulations and standards pertaining to medical record keeping, and must maintain legal and ethical requirements regarding patient confidentiality. Medical transcriptionists who work within a physician's office may also perform other clerical duties, like receiving patients, scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, and handling outgoing or incoming mail. Training to become a medical transcriptionist requires completion of a one year certificate program or two year associate's degree offered through various vocational schools, community colleges, or distance learning programs accredited by the Approval Committee for Certificate Programs. Some medical transcriptionists acquire on the job training particularly if they have previous experience as a medical secretary.