Top Healthcare Careers to Explore for Financial Success

Top Healthcare Careers to Explore for Financial Success

11 minute read

Healthcare is a field that’s always in demand. People will always need medical professionals to help them get well, heal injuries, and stay healthy. Thankfully, there’s likely a career in healthcare for you, no matter what your interests or goals are.

Let's delve into the exciting possibilities that the world of healthcare has in store for you.

The Diverse Field of Healthcare

Healthcare is more than doctors and nurses; it’s a vast and complex field that encompasses a variety of jobs and specialties. As you consider your academic path, it's important to note that healthcare offers a wide range of choices beyond a few traditional roles.

By taking healthcare courses and pursuing relevant degrees, you can explore these possibilities. Each role provides unique avenues for personal and professional growth. From nursing and medical research to healthcare administration and allied health professions, the field caters to diverse interests and abilities. Healthcare professionals have a profound impact on society, and constant demand means the industry offers the potential for financial stability.

16 High-Paying Jobs in Healthcare

These 16 of the most high-paying jobs in healthcare cover a range of occupations. And while not every salary is guaranteed, you can certainly improve your chances of making more money by setting yourself on one of these highly fulfilling career paths.

(All salaries are current as of March 2024.)

1. Health Services Manager

Health services managers play a key role in managing and coordinating daily operations to ensure the efficient delivery of healthcare services. From budget management to strategic planning and policy implementation, their job is to enhance the overall effectiveness of healthcare organizations.

Health services managers usually have a bachelor's or master's degree in healthcare administration, public health, or a related field. 

National Average Salary: $81,416

2. Genetic Counselor

These specialized professionals must possess a unique skill set to communicate genetic information to individuals and families effectively. They aid in assessing the risk of genetic disorders to facilitate genetic testing and provide compassionate counseling so patients can make informed decisions about their health.

To become a genetic counselor, individuals typically pursue a master's degree in genetic counseling, where they gain in-depth knowledge and hands-on clinical experience. 

National Average Salary: $87,816

3. Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists are essential members of the oral healthcare team and provide preventive dental care and patient education. Dental hygienists perform teeth cleanings, remove plaque, educate patients on oral hygiene, and assist with oral health assessments and X-rays alongside dentists.

The path to becoming a dental hygienist typically starts with an associate degree in dental hygiene. Students learn to assess patients' oral health, develop treatment plans, and provide preventive care services such as cleaning, scaling, and polishing. Additionally, they receive training on how to administer local anesthesia and apply fluoride treatments.

National Average Salary: $87,963

4. Respiratory Therapist

Healthcare professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD are known as respiratory therapists. They perform diagnostic tests, provide treatments, and collaborate with medical teams to create personalized care plans for patients. 

Respiratory therapists need to complete a mixture of classroom and practical training to become licensed, including a degree in respiratory care. 

National Average Salary: $89,915

5. Speech Language Pathologist

A speech language pathologist (SLP) is responsible for evaluating, diagnosing, and treating speech, language, and swallowing disorders in individuals of all ages, ranging from children to adults. In their daily practice, SLPs work closely with clients, families, and other healthcare professionals. They can have a significant impact on people's lives and work in various settings, such as schools, hospitals, and private practices.

SLPs usually hold a master's degree in speech language pathology and acquire practical experience through clinical placements to refine their skills. They use a variety of therapeutic techniques to assist individuals with articulation disorders, language delays, and fluency issues.

National Average Salary: $91,346

6. Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists (OTs) focus on improving patients' quality of life. Specializing in rehabilitation, they assist individuals who are facing physical, developmental, or emotional difficulties. In order to help patients become more independent, occupational therapists assess their needs, develop intervention plans, and implement therapeutic activities.

Becoming an OT can be a challenging but rewarding journey that typically requires earning a master's degree in occupational therapy (OT) and completing supervised clinical fieldwork.

National Average Salary: $94,375

7. Physical Therapist

In the healthcare field, a physical therapist plays a fundamental role in empowering individuals to regain mobility, overcome injuries, and improve their overall well-being. By specializing in assessing and treating physical conditions, PTs can create personalized plans to address musculoskeletal issues and disabilities. 

A doctoral degree in Physical Therapy (DPT) is a comprehensive program that combines classroom education with extensive clinical experience, preparing individuals to apply evidence-based practices in their daily work. With a range of therapeutic techniques, exercises, and modalities at their disposal, PTs can make a significant impact on patients' physical function and quality of life.

National Average Salary: $96,695

8. Sonographer

Sonographers create images for medical analysis using ultrasound technology. Among other responsibilities, they interpret imaging results and collaborate with healthcare teams to facilitate accurate diagnoses. Sonographers often focus on specific areas like obstetrics, cardiology, or abdominal imaging.

The path to becoming a sonographer typically starts with an associate or bachelor's degree in diagnostic medical sonography. Clinical training helps hone their skills in capturing high-quality images and ensuring precise diagnostic information. 

National Average Salary: $110,073

9. Physician Assistant

A physician assistant (PA) is a healthcare professional who works alongside physicians to provide medical care in various specialties. PAs generally perform clinical tasks such as physical exams, diagnosing illnesses, and creating treatment plans. In some cases, they may also prescribe medications and interpret diagnostic tests to educate patients on specific health needs.

Becoming a PA requires specialized education and training. Typically, individuals pursue a master's degree in physician assistant studies, building on prior healthcare experience. PAs gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations in diverse medical settings to refine their diagnostic and patient care skills.

National Average Salary: $120,212

10. Optometrists

Optometrists specialize in eye care, assessing and preserving visual health. Eye doctors diagnose eye conditions, provide corrective measures such as glasses or contact lenses, and treat eye diseases. In addition to providing vision therapy, optometrists usually educate patients about proper eye care and may collaborate with other healthcare providers when systemic conditions impact ocular health.

To become an optometrist, individuals typically complete a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree, which involves four years of postgraduate study. Clinical training is also part of this education so that optometrists are well-equipped to address a broad spectrum of visual health needs.

National Average salary: $124,213

11. Pharmacist

Pharmacists are experts in medication management and patient well-being. They dispense medications, offer counseling, monitor drug interactions, educate patients on side effects, and collaborate with healthcare providers to optimize treatment plans.

Becoming a pharmacist necessitates extensive education and training. Typically, individuals pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree, which involves a combination of classroom learning and hands-on clinical experience. Pharmacists must continually stay abreast of new medications and emerging healthcare trends for safe and effective pharmaceutical care.

National Average Salary: $126,701

12. Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners (NPs) operate with a high level of autonomy, seamlessly integrating nursing expertise with diagnostic capabilities akin to physicians. Responsibilities generally include patient assessments, illness diagnoses, prescription of medications, and the formulation of comprehensive treatment plans. 

Prospective NPs must undergo intensive training, typically acquiring a master's degree in nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

National Average Salary: $130,295

13. Podiatrist

A podiatrist is a highly specialized healthcare professional who diagnoses, treats, and prevents various conditions affecting the feet, ankles, and lower extremities. Among their responsibilities are conducting thorough examinations, identifying and diagnosing different foot ailments, prescribing appropriate medications, and performing surgical interventions as needed. Additionally, podiatrists offer patients preventive foot care advice and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive care.

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree involves four years of postgraduate study. This is supplemented by clinical rotations, providing practical experience in treating a variety of foot and ankle disorders. 

National Average Salary: $147,232

14. Medical Dosimetrists

Medical dosimetrists are specialized healthcare professionals responsible for designing and calculating radiation therapy treatment plans for cancer patients. This involves working closely with radiation oncologists and medical physicists to determine the exact dosage and distribution of radiation that will target cancer cells while minimizing harm to healthy tissues.

To become a Medical Dosimetrist, individuals typically need to complete a bachelor's degree followed by specialized training in medical dosimetry. Certification through the Medical Dosimetry Certification Board (MDCB) is often required to practice in this field. 

National Average Salary: $161,013

15. Dentist

The role of a dentist encompasses all things related to oral care, including preventive care, diagnosis, and treatment of various oral conditions. They conduct routine check-ups, address dental issues, and educate patients on proper oral hygiene practices.

The journey to becoming a dental practitioner is known for its rigorous education and training requirements. This typically involves obtaining a bachelor's degree, followed by admission to dental school, where individuals pursue either a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. Clinical experience is part of their training to develop the necessary skills to handle a broad range of dental procedures, from routine cleanings to complex surgeries.

National Average Salary: $189,979

16. Anesthesiologist

During surgical procedures, anesthesiologists administer anesthesia and manage the patient’s pain. In addition to operating rooms, they also provide preoperative assessments and postoperative care. Their job is to ensure a patient's safety and comfort throughout the entire surgical experience from start to finish.

Becoming an anesthesiologist requires a bachelor's degree, medical school, and a residency in anesthesiology. During a residency, aspiring anesthesiologists learn to carefully provide anesthesia and manage pain for surgical patients. 

National Average Salary: $393,215

Soft Skills Needed for Most Healthcare Jobs

Education, experience, and training aren’t the only skills needed for a career in healthcare. There are certain soft skills that most healthcare professionals should have since they’ll likely be working with patients, insurance providers, family members, and a team of doctors, nurses, and technicians.


Effective communication is an essential aspect of a thriving healthcare profession. Healthcare providers need to communicate complicated medical information to patients clearly and concisely, work collaboratively with their peers, and ensure accurate transmission of critical details. Strong communication skills establish trust, enable patients to make informed decisions, and contribute to a positive healthcare environment.

Critical Thinking

Healthcare professionals must be able to analyze situations, evaluate data, and make accurate decisions quickly. Solid critical thinking skills help them identify and address complex medical problems to provide the best possible care. Critical thinking is the key to problem-solving and innovation in healthcare.


Precision in healthcare is one of the most important skills you need to ensure accuracy and minimize errors. Healthcare professionals who prioritize precision contribute to patient safety and the efficacy of medical interventions.

Flexibility and Adaptability

To provide effective care in unpredictable situations, healthcare professionals across the field need to remain adaptable and flexible, ready to pivot their approach at a moment's notice. This ability to adjust to changing circumstances ensures that patients receive the highest quality care possible.


Compassion in healthcare means going beyond technical skills to empathize with patients and build relationships. This type of care is essential for promoting patient well-being, reducing emotional burdens, and contributing to a more positive healthcare experience.


Ethical standards in healthcare must be upheld to maintain patient trust, confidentiality, and integrity in healthcare practices. Healthcare professionals constantly face moral dilemmas and must navigate them while respecting autonomy and promoting justice.


Professionalism is the foundation of a flourishing career in healthcare. It includes honesty, responsibility, and a dedication to ongoing growth. Professional behavior encourages a favorable workplace atmosphere, elevates patient trust, and adds to the overall image of healthcare professionals and organizations.

Discover Your Dream Healthcare Job With StraighterLine

With StraighterLine, you can jumpstart your new career with healthcare-related classes you can take online at your own pace. We offer numerous courses related to the field of medicine and healthcare that are affordable and flexible enough to fit your schedule.

If you’re interested in healthcare, check out our Healthcare Fundamentals course bundle to get started!

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