Believe it or not, there’s a hidden upside to a volatile job market: the ability to make a change. Increased disruption often leads people to start thinking about new career options. Sometimes this is the result of an unexpected layoff or job dissatisfaction, but sometimes in our career journeys we take moments to pause, reflect, and just think about what else is out there, which is a common reaction to a work world marked by uncertainty—and it just might lead us to new and more satisfying opportunities.
If you’re currently finding yourself in this boat, you’re not alone. Today’s job market is filled with both active and passive job seekers, and one career path that’s getting increased levels of attention these days is the medical field, where opportunities abound. Need more convincing? According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, between now and 2029 “the healthcare and social assistance sector is projected to add the newest jobs, and 6 of the 10 fastest-growing occupations are related to healthcare.”
Besides the influx of new jobs expected in the healthcare sector, another great aspect of this field is that opportunities exist regardless of your education or experience level—and many don’t even require a college degree. The following in-demand jobs represent great career options. Plus, you don’t need a degree to get started.
1. Medical assistant
You’ll typically find medical assistants in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare facilities, handling a whole host of important administrative and clinical tasks. If this sounds right up your alley, the good news is that the field is expected to grow by 19 percent over the next decade—much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the aging Baby Boom population will continue to increase the demand for preventive medical services, which are often provided by physicians. As a result, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients.
The median annual wage for medical assistants is right around $35,850, and although most medical assistants have some level of postsecondary education such as a professional certificate, many others enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn through on-the-job training.
2. Medical records and health information specialist
With people seeking access to healthcare services in ever-increasing numbers, the field needs more capable individuals to organize, manage, and code key health information data, which is why medical records and health information specialists are so in demand. The field is expected to grow by approximately 8 percent over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The current median annual wage is right around $44,090. Although specialists typically need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation, some qualify with a high school diploma, especially for entry-level positions that provide for significant on-the-job training opportunities. Unlike many other jobs in healthcare, medical records and health information specialists typically spend long hours in front of the computer, so make sure this is the right arrangement for you before getting started.
3. Dental assistant
If you’ve ever visited the dentist for a checkup, you’ve likely encountered a dental assistant, who’s typically tasked with providing basic patient care, taking x-rays, records management, and scheduling appointments, among other key responsibilities. The aging population and ongoing research linking oral health and general health will lead to continued increases in the demand for preventive dental services, and the dental assistant field is expected to grow by approximately 7 percent over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The current median annual wage for dental assistants is right around $41,180, and the field offers several paths to employment—in some states, there are no formal educational requirements, and dental assistants learn through on-the-job training.
If you’re on the job hunt or are just curious to learn more about what’s out there—but don’t have a college degree—there are a host of potential opportunities available. Consider those mentioned here to help you figure out the next move in your career journey. Good luck!