If you don’t want to spend 8 years in medical school, then you should opt for a 4 year medical degree program. A curated list of the best 4 year medical degrees that pay well is discussed in this blog post to help you make better-informed educational and career decisions.
It takes about 7-8 years of med school to become a medical doctor which is a long time and many people do not just have the patience to wait that long for a single degree. They are passionate about the medical field and want to pursue a career in it but the time – which also results in spending more money on tuition and other expenses – is just discouraging. If you are one of these people, I’ve got good news for you.
Contrary to what we all know that an undergraduate degree education is not enough to get you into the medical field but a graduate degree or professional certification, there are actually a number of 4 year medical degrees that you can complete and get a well-paying job in the medical field. As you may already know, a 4 year degree is a bachelor’s degree, that is, there are bachelor’s degree programs you can take to become medical personnel and earn a high income annually.
The perks of this are that you don’t have to spend so much time – 7 to 8 years – in medical school but just 4 years or even less which saves you both time and money plus you get to start working almost immediately. There are varieties of jobs in the medical field that you can get with only a bachelor’s or associate degree like a medical assistant or medical coder & biller.
Thanks to the ever-growing healthcare industry, more and more jobs are being provided that do not require long years of med school before one can get into them. If you are thinking that a 4 year medical degree won’t make you earn as high as a typical 8-year medical degree would then read the topic again.
This blog post curates a list of various 4 year medical degrees that you can use to enter the medical field and earn a high income. An overview of the respective annual salaries for each of the 4 year medical degrees is also provided.
Also read: 20 Highest Paying Medical Jobs with Little Schooling
Best 4 Year Medical Degrees That Pay Well
Physicians and surgeons top the list of highest-paid doctors in the world and are among the top salary earners across professions but what did they have to do to get there? First, they complete a bachelor’s degree program that takes 4 years, then they go to med school to earn an MD, complete a residency halfway across the country, and rack up thousands of dollars in student debt.
You can go through all that if you want but it would be worth noting that there are high-paying jobs in the medical field that requires only a bachelor’s degree. They require less education and pay as high as $167,000 per year.
The job isn’t even as stressful and demanding as the ones that require an MD and they are mostly on the list of happiest medical professions. And for the best part, these jobs are projected to grow over the next seven years, some by as much as 37%. So, if you do get into one of these fields, you can look forward to keeping your high-paying job for a long time to come and earning a higher salary.
Below are 10 high-paying jobs in the medical field that you can get into with just a 4-year degree:
- Physician Assistant
- Respiratory Therapist
- Biomedical Engineer
- Radiation Therapist
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Pharmacy Technician
- Nuclear Medicine Technologist
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
1. Physician Assistant
Physician assistants, just as the name implies, are workers that assist medical doctors to examine, diagnosing, and treating patients, as well as taking and keeping records of patient’s medical history and giving health advice to patients. PAs assist different kinds of physicians such as dentists, surgeons, psychiatrists, etc. but during their studies or training as a PA, they will have to train with the kind of physician they prefer to gain hands-on skills in that branch of medicine.
To become a physician assistant, you need a bachelor’s degree which must meet the licensure requirement of the state where you wish to work because all Pas must be licensed to practice. Thus, they must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam. There are reputable physician assistant schools in California and Texas to apply to if this field interests you.
According to CNBC, physician assistants earn a median annual wage of $108,610 and the job is projected to grow as high as 37% through 2026.
2. Respiratory Therapist
Respiratory therapy is a growing field and an in-demand one too, which means, getting into this field comes with many benefits such as high annual income and job security. The main duty of a respiratory therapist is to treat and prevent all kinds of breathing complications and respiratory diseases such as asthma. They also run lung diagnoses and examine patients with lung or breathing illnesses.
Entering this field is so easy, you only need either an associate’s degree in respiratory care which takes 2 years to complete, or a bachelor of health science in respiratory care. The base salary of a respiratory therapist ranges from $67,385 to $80,625 per year. Employment in the profession is projected to grow by 23% through 2030.
3. Biomedical Engineer
Biomedical engineers earn a median salary of $88,550 per year and are among the top medical fields that pay well with only a bachelor’s degree. The program is not hard to find as there are many universities offering the program at the undergraduate level. You can choose to go higher in the field by going for a master’s degree which takes 2 years to complete.
As a biomedical engineer, you will be equipped with critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are tuned to the medical field using your skills to develop technical and non-technical solutions, which can be equipment or software, to help and save humanity. If you want to get into a medical field where you won’t have to deal with so much blood, consider a career as a biomedical engineer.
Also read: 30 Best Biomedical Engineering Schools
4. Radiation Therapist
The minimum educational qualification for radiation therapists is an associate’s degree which takes only 2 years to complete but this will only get you into an entry-level role. If you want to get a much higher role, then a bachelor’s degree is what you should consider going for in order to get there. Radiation therapists earn an annual median salary of $82,330 and employment is projected to grow by 13% through 2026.
As a radiation therapist, you will be part of a healthcare team that treats cancer patients, your job is to administer doses of radiation to patients for the purpose of treating them. Radiation therapists also diagnose and analyze patients’ data to plan their treatment. Aside from being one of the best 4 year medical degrees that pay well, Radiation Therapists is one of the top low-stress jobs for introverts that pay well.
5. Registered Nurse (RN)
You must have met a nurse at least once in your life. They are found in every healthcare setting and facility as they are in charge of running the day-to-day operations of that facility. They run tests and diagnoses on patients, prepare the theater room for surgery, assist surgeons during an operation, administer drugs, and give treatment counsel to patients. It is a demanding and highly-stressful job but the pay is highly compensating.
To become a practicing registered nurse, the minimum qualification required is an associate’s degree which takes 2 years to complete, or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)which takes 4 years to get a higher role. After completing the degree of your choice, you must seat for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for RN to earn your license and begin practicing.
It is worth noting that there are different branches of nursing, you can become a pediatric nurse, cardiac nurse, or critical care nurse depending on what you like but this may require a higher qualification like a master’s or doctorate degree. The average salary for RN is $82,750 per year with projected growth of 6% through 2026.
6. Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians work at pharmacies, drugstores, clinics, and hospitals with licensed pharmacists to confirm, prepare, and fill prescriptions. They give counsel to patients and direct them on how to take their prescriptions. They assist the pharmacist and maintain patient data.
A bachelor’s degree is required to become a pharmacy technician and it offers you the opportunity to quickly get into the pharmacy. The salary of a certified pharmacy technician is $19.13 per hour.
Paramedics are specialists that administer first aid to patients at the scene of an accident. They drive around in ambulances waiting and ever-ready to save lives before the patient is seen by a doctor. It is a demanding profession, you can be called upon at any time and you have to be ready.
It is probably the quickest medical profession on this list to get into. There is a 6 month paramedic program that will get you ready for the job with instant employment in a short time. The average salary of a paramedic is $38,830 per year.
8. Nuclear Medicine Technologist
I, personally, have never heard of this profession until this moment. This goes to show that different roles are coming up daily in the medical field that does not require an MD degree. According to Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, a nuclear medicine technologist is a specialist who performs tests for diagnosis and medical research.
They prepare and give small doses of radioactive drugs to patients, then use high-level imaging equipment to record images of the radioactive material in the body. The minimum requirement for this profession is an associate’s degree which takes as little as 24 months to complete. The average annual salary of a nuclear medicine technologist is $89,917.
9. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
If you want to enter a healthcare field that does not involve any blood and/or you want to quickly enter the medical field, then you should consider a career as a diagnostic medical sonographer. One of the perks of this profession is that it requires little schooling. You can get into it with just an associate’s degree in sonography but bachelor’s degrees are also offered in the program it is then left for you to go for the one that suits you best.
Sonographers are healthcare professionals that make use of ultrasonic imaging devices to produce diagnostic images, scans, videos, etc. They work in various healthcare facilities such as offices of physicians, general medical and surgical hospitals, medical and diagnostic labs, and outpatient care centers. The average salary of a sonographer is $77,740 in 2021 according to US News.
Dietitians are allied health professionals specializing in the area of food and nutrition using their skillset to promote overall health by prescribing healthy diets to clients and patients. They are particularly helpful in the treatment of obesity and diabetes.
To enter this profession, you need, at least, a bachelor’s degree in nutrition after which you will complete a dietic internship and take the licensure exam in your state to obtain your license and begin working. You can earn a nutrition degree online or take a free online nutrition course to test the waters before going into it. The base salary for dietitians and nutritionists ranges from $61,572 to $74,327 per year.
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