Discover the best health care support jobs.
Not everyone wants to be a doctor or a registered nurse. Maybe you don’t want to spend all that time in school. Maybe you don’t want the pressure and responsibility that comes with those jobs. But you would like to help people, and you don’t mind some pressure and responsibility. You just don’t want to be in charge.
If that’s the case, a support role in health care may be what you’re looking for. So if you’re searching for a first career or looking for a second act, you may want to think about these jobs.
These jobs that support medical practitioners are in high demand and will be in the years to come. They also don’t often require an advanced degree. The list that follows is drawn from the U.S. News Best Jobs rankings, and the data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
These aren’t all glamorous jobs, but they’re all important. For some patients, the fact that you’re showing up for work might mean the difference between life and death.
30. Occupational Therapy Aide
Median Salary: $28,160
This is a career in which you’ll help occupational therapists, who help injured, sick and disabled people learn or relearn routine tasks, such as brushing teeth or tying their shoes. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of work for you to occupy your time during shifts. You might be washing linens, cleaning therapy areas, setting up equipment or performing administrative duties.
Learn more about occupational therapy aides.
29. Cardiovascular Technologist
Median Salary: $56,850
If you take on this career, you’ll be working with people who deal with heart and blood vessel health issues. It can be a physically demanding job, since you’ll be wearing a heavy lead vest and will be on your feet a lot. But it’s also an emotionally rewarding job, since you’re helping some very sick people.
Learn more about cardiovascular technologists.
28. Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Median Salary: $76,820
If you’re a nuclear medicine technologist, you’ll be injecting small parts of radiative material into patients and taking images of their bodies to diagnose or learn how certain diseases or illnesses have progressed.
Learn more about nuclear medicine technologists.
27. Nursing Aide
Median Salary: $28,540
You become a nursing aide not for the money but because you love helping people. You may work in a hospital or a nursing care facility, but wherever you work, you may well be feeding or bathing elderly people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to make it through the day without you.
Learn more about nursing aides.
26. Surgical Technologist
Median Salary: $47,300
Are you detail-oriented? Does the idea of helping to save lives sound appealing? Do you know how to set a table? What about an operating table? The surgical technologist is the person assisting the surgeon and often helping to set the stage for the surgery, as in sterilizing surgical instruments.
Learn more about surgical technologists.
25. Hearing Aid Specialist
Median Salary: $52,770
A hearing aid specialist helps people who need hearing aids. They run hearing tests and conduct fittings of hearing aids.
Learn more about hearing aid specialists.
Median Salary: $34,320
Paramedics are often the first person somebody will see in an emergency. If you’re a paramedic, you’ll have a hand in saving lives on every shift. Not a bad day’s work.
Learn more about paramedics.
23. Pharmacy Technician
Median Salary: $32,700
These are the people working with the pharmacists to fill prescriptions at the pharmacy. They’re measuring, mixing, counting and labeling dosages of medication. This isn’t a job for somebody who is easily distracted or careless.
Learn more about pharmacy technicians.
22. Medical Secretary
Median Salary: $35,760
Medical secretaries are behind the desk at a doctor’s practice. They’re often the first person and the last person the patient sees. They’re answering the phones, collecting copayments, taking insurance information and a slew of other thankless tasks. Hopefully the doctors, at least, thank them.
Learn more about medical secretaries.
Median Salary: $37,010
Opticians are the people you go to after you get an exam with the eye doctor and learn that your vision isn’t what it used to be. They fit people with glasses or contact lenses.
Learn more about opticians.
20. Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse
Median Salary: $46,240
While you won’t come into the job with as much education and training of a registered nurse or nurse practitioner, you’re pretty much doing everything one can imagine you’d do when nursing somebody to health. You’ll be checking vital signs, installing catheters, dressing wounds, starting IVs and many other crucial, often life-saving, chores.
Learn more about licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses.
19. Clinical Laboratory Technician
Median Salary: $52,330
Clinical laboratory technicians take on duties such as examining body fluids and studying cells and matching blood for transfusions.
Learn more about clinical laboratory technicians.
18. Ophthalmic Medical Technician
Median Salary: $36,530
If you take on this job, after you learn to spell “ophthalmic,” you’ll be working with patients who are coming to the eye doctor’s office for an exam. You’ll take the patient’s history and will do tasks such as checking visual acuity and testing confrontational visual fields.
Learn more about ophthalmic medical technicians.
Median Salary: $34,480
If you take on this job, you’ll be drawing blood, probably in a doctor’s office, at a blood donor center or in a medical laboratory.
Learn more about phlebotomists.
16. MRI Technologist
Median Salary: $71,670
MRI technologists help physicians diagnose medical issues such as aneurysms, strokes, tumors and heart attack damage as well as look at broken or fractured bones — and they do it while working with intimidating machines that utilize a magnetic field and radio waves. Being a people person and putting patients at ease is also a big part of your job.
Learn more about MRI technologists.
15. Radiologic Technologist
Median Salary: $59,520
Radiologic technologists are technological wizards in a very human world. That is, they conduct medical imaging exams and administer radiation therapy treatments. If you work in this field, you’re probably going to work at a hospital but possibly a physician’s office or in a medical and diagnostic laboratory.
Learn more about radiologic technologists.
14. Occupational Therapy Assistant
Median Salary: $60,220
If you’re in poor health and recovering from some sort of physical trauma, you might have trouble getting dressed or brushing your teeth. Following the plan laid out by the occupational therapist, occupational therapy assistants help patients learn to do those daily tasks that we all take for granted.
Learn more about occupational therapy assistants.
13. Physical Therapist Aide
Median Salary: $26,240
Physical therapist aides give a helping hand to physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. It isn’t glamorous, doing tasks such as washing linens, performing clerical tasks and interacting with patients. But it’s important work. If you want a physical therapy office to function well, you need physical therapist aides.
Learn more about physical therapist aides.
12. Dental Assistant
Median Salary: $38,660
This is a career in which you’re essentially the assistant to the dental hygienist and dentist. You’ll be getting patients ready for treatments and teeth cleanings and sterilizing instruments. Yes, a lot of work goes into keeping everybody’s teeth clean.
Learn more about dental assistants.
11. Massage Therapist
Median Salary: $41,420
In a nutshell, this is a career in which you’ll be working on loosening up people’s tight, taut and tense muscles and making them feel better. It’s also a profession in which you’ll have a lot of grateful, happy clients if you’re good at your job.
Learn more about massage therapists.
10. Personal Care Aide
Median Salary: $24,020
It’s a job similar to a home health aide, except you might work in a residential facility or group home (though you might be in a person’s house). Generally, you’re helping elderly or infirmed people with daily tasks and just about anything that isn’t medical-related.
Learn more about personal care aides.
9. Orthotist and Prosthetist
Median Salary: $69,120
You’ll be deciding what types of prosthetic components or orthoses (you may be more familiar with the term braces) are the best fit for a patient. You’re helping people walk and use their limbs better. So you’re not just improving somebody’s day; you’re improving their life.
Learn more about orthotists and prosthetists.
8. Veterinary Technologist and Technician
Median Salary: $34,420
You’re helping the veterinarian — and the animals. You won’t diagnose an illness, prescribe medicine or do surgery, but you will do just about everything else, from comforting animals before getting a shot to giving one. It’s hard work, but you’ll likely take pleasure from working with animals every day.
Learn more about veterinary technologist and technicians.
7. Medical Records Technician
Median Salary: $40,350
This is a job in which you’ll pore through medical record documentation, assigning diagnosis and procedure codes. It may not sound glamorous, but you can start to see how a hospital would fall apart without medical records technicians. Nobody would ever be able to locate patients’ medical information without your involvement.
Learn more about medical records technicians.
6. Medical Assistant
Median Salary: $33,610
You’re doing just about everything in this job, except actually diagnosing what ails the patients. You might be drawing blood or manning the front desk and answering phones. You could be filing insurance forms. A doctor’s office probably wouldn’t be able to function without its medical assistants.
Learn more about medical assistants.
5. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Median Salary: $72,510
Working with ultrasound equipment, you’ll spend your day with a lot of pregnant women but also people with medical conditions who need up and close photos of their organs and tissues so they can be properly diagnosed.
Learn more about diagnostic medical sonographers.
4. Home Health Aide
Median Salary: $24,200
On one hand, you’re doing a lot of dull tasks, like doing somebody’s laundry or helping them bathe. On the other hand, you’re helping vulnerable, often elderly, people do things that they would struggle doing on their own. You’ll probably sleep well at night knowing that you’re making a significant difference in people’s lives.
Learn more about home health aides.
3. Physical Therapist Assistant
Median Salary: $58,040
Physical therapists study a patient’s physical problems and come up with a plan to treat the problem. The physical therapist assistant is the one who carries out that plan — as in, you’re working very closely with patients, helping them to get past an injury or a disease.
Learn more about physical therapist assistants.
2. Genetic Counselor
Median Salary: $80,370
Have you ever wondered if you should get a genetics test to learn if you have a terrible disease lurking in your body? You might end up working with a genetic counselor, who would discuss whether it’s really a good idea to take such a test, could help you get the right genetic test and then interpret it for you once the results came back.
Learn more about genetic counselors.
1. Dental Hygienist
Median Salary: $74,820
A dental hygienist is a dentist’s assistant. You will be an indispensable sidekick and make both the dentist’s life easier and the patient’s, since you’ll generally be the one doing most of the cleaning of the teeth and urging everyone to brush and floss better.
Learn more about dental hygienists.
Top health care support jobs include:
— Dental assistant.
— Massage therapist.
— Personal care aide.
— Medical records technician.
— Medical assistant.
— Diagnostic medical sonographer.
— Home health aide.
— Physical therapist assistant.
— Genetic counselor.
— Dental hygienist.