5 Great Medical Careers with an Associate’s Degree

5 Jobs in the Medical Field with an Associate’s Degree

  • Dental Hygienist
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Licensed Practice Nurse
  • Surgical Technologist

Someone interested in working in healthcare can find several great medical careers with an associate’s degree. Healthcare careers continue to grow every year and generally offer good wages and rewarding work. According to a 2016 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare careers should see an employment growth of 18 percent in the next 10 years. Here are five great careers an individual can find with an associate’s degree.

1. Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists assist and work alongside dentists. They perform routine dental tasks like examining oral x-rays, applying sealants or fluoride, cleaning teeth and discussing oral hygiene with patients. Dental assistants must complete a formal training program and pass both a written and clinic exam. Dental hygienists rank right up there with the fastest growing occupations. U.S. News & World Report ranks dental hygienists number three among the best health care support jobs and number 17 among the 100 best jobs.

2. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Diagnostic medical sonographers operate special imaging equipment and high-frequency sound waves to create images of the human body to detect illnesses. They assist doctors in assessing and diagnosing medical problems. In addition to earning an associate’s degree, the sonographer must obtain certification. They also have the option of obtaining certification in various areas of sonography. Diagnostic medical sonography was ranked number two among best health care support jobs and number 26 among the 100 best jobs by U.S. News & World Report.

3. Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical therapist assistants or PTAs work with physical therapists in helping patients recovering from accidents or illnesses return to normal activities. They also provide routine care to patients and help set up therapy equipment. Physical therapist assistants must complete an accredited associate’s degree program. PTAs are required to be licensed in all the states, so they must obtain pass the National Physical Therapy Exam for PTAs. This occupation was ranked number two among best health care support jobs and number 20 among 100 best jobs.

4. Surgical Technologist

Surgical technologists work alongside of surgeons in the operating room during surgical procedures. Their tasks also include stocking the operating room, calibrating equipment, cleaning operating room, handing instruments to surgeon, communicating with patient and bringing patient from his or her room to the operating room and back again. To work as a surgical technologist, the individual must complete a formal training program. Although it’s not required by law, surgical technologists may obtain certifications. U.S. News & World Report ranked this occupation number 23 among best health care support jobs and number 92 among 100 best jobs.

5. Licensed Practice Nurse

Licensed practical nurses or LPNs work under the supervision of RNs and doctors and assist them in providing basic health care to patients. Their duties include taking and monitoring patient’s vital signs, documenting patient’s medical history, administering immunizations, communicating with patients and family members, helping patients eat, dress and bathe, and dressing wounds. LPNs are required to be licensed in all the states, so the candidate must pass the NCLEX-PN exam and apply for licensure. LPNs were ranked number 96 among the 100 best jobs by U.S. News & World Report.

Related Resource: 5 Important Characteristics of a Nurse

As long as we need healthcare, we’ll continue to need the services of medical professionals, especially those who work in the area of health care support jobs. As health care support jobs are used more frequently, it allows the physicians more time with patients. It’s fortunate that so many of these great careers are possible with an associate’s degree.