5 Great Jobs You Can Get in the Medical Field with an Associate Degree

Great Medical Jobs Available with an Associate Degree

• Medical Assistant

• Dental Hygienist

• Registered Nurse

• Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

• Respiratory Therapist

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation and one that many people aspire to join. Many individuals want to join the medical field without having to attend college for four years or more. Many don’t realize that there are various excellent jobs they can get in the medical field with an associate’s degree. Associate’s degrees take only two years to complete, yet they prepare students to join the workforce immediately after graduation. Here are five great medical field jobs that can be obtained with an associate degree.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants (MAs) can be found working in clinics, hospitals, outpatient clinics or any medical facility that provides patient care. Patients often spend as much or more time with medical assistants than with doctors. Their services allow doctors to save time and see more patients. MAs perform clinical and administrative duties throughout their day. They record patient history; take vital signs; administer medications and injections; prepare blood samples for testing and assist doctors with exams. MAs are very much in demand and are expected to experience job growth of 29 percent between 2016 and 2026 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Dental Hygienist

U.S. News & World Report ranks dental hygienists No. 17 among the 100 Best Jobs. Dental hygienists work alongside dentists providing dental care to patients. Their duties include cleaning teeth; removing tartar and plaque; applying treatment to teeth; educating patients on good dental care and take dental x-rays. To be a dental assistant requires three years of education, which includes lab classes, classroom courses and clinical education. Dental assistants must also be licensed in all the states. The BLS predicts employment growth of 20 percent for these workers.

Registered Nurse

Registered nurses are said to be the backbone of a medical facility because of all the care they provide to patients and the assistance they provide to doctors. RNs administer medications, record medical histories, set up patient care plans, help with diagnostic testing and teach patients and family members about health care and treatment options. Registered nurses are ranked No. 18 among the 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News & World Report. Although some RNs have a bachelor’s degree, many choose to pursue an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), which is a two-year plan. RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN in order to obtain licensure, which is a requirement in all states.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Diagnostic medical sonographers use imaging equipment to conduct tests and create images of the human body to help diagnose diseases. Diagnostic medical sonography offers various areas of specialization, such as MRI, CT, breast sonography, obstetric and gynecological sonography, vascular sonography and pediatric sonography to name a few. To work in a specialized area of sonography, the candidate must obtain certification in each area. Requirements for certification are completing a training program, passing a certification exam and demonstrating competency through work experience in each area of sonography. Diagnostic medical sonographers are typically required to be certified.

Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists are medical professionals who assist patients with breathing difficulties. Their duties include examining patients with cardiopulmonary or respiratory issues; performing diagnostic testing; monitoring patient progress; consulting with doctors on patient care; administering respiratory treatment to patients and educating patients on respiratory care. Employment growth of 23 percent is predicted through 2026 for respiratory therapists according to the bureau. Respiratory therapists must complete a training program and obtain licensure.

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Earning an associate degree allows candidates to join the workforce after only two years in college rather than four or more years. Graduates of associate’s degree programs can begin working in their chosen profession for much less cost than a higher degree. Time, money and convenience are three reasons many choose to pursue good jobs in the medical field with an associate’s degree.