Top 10 Medical Careers That Don’t Require a Graduate Degree

Written by Miranda Pennington

according to the experts over at, there are at least 30 promising career options for people with an interest in a medical profession but without the time or resources for medical school.

here are the top 10 highest paying careers that require a bachelor’s degree and either on-the-job training or professional certifications. take a look at the list and see which one will be right for you!

10. dietician and nutritionist ($55k)

professional dieticians and nutritionists are required to have bachelor’s degrees in nutrition science and will need some kind of partnership or mentoring from physicians or fellow dieticians. these partnerships allow access to patients so d&ns can practice the development and implementation of schedules and lifestyle plans. they may also work in hospitals, care facilities, or other clinic or gym settings where they can work directly with clients.

9. cytotechnologist ($61k)

with a bachelor’s degree and graduation from an accredited cytotechnology program, certified cytotechs work in laboratories where they research cells and cellular anomalies to contribute to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and illnesses.

8. medical sonographer ($64k)

sonographers operate imaging equipment during diagnostic appointments or assist physicians and surgeons during procedures. you’ll need an associate’s degree and a professional certification.

7. registered nurse ($68k)

rns must be licensed to practice in hospital and physicians’ offices, but many schools are moving from a two-year diploma to a two-year associate degree or a bachelor’s of science in nursing. many medical institutions are reporting a shortage of nurses, so the job prospects are promising.

6. nuclear medicine technologist ($70k)

an associate or bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology prepares you to operate scanners and administer drugs to assist in a diagnosis or treatment of various ailments.

5. radiation therapist ($75k)

“rad techs” are responsible for administering radiation treatments, most often for cancer patients, and working alongside radiation oncologists and radiation physicists. jobs may be available in hospitals, cancer centers, and outpatient clinic settings.

4. biomedical engineer ($86k)

biomedical engineering is a relatively recently established field that involves the research and development of diagnostic medical technology, including imaging equipment, prostheses, and pharmaceuticals. a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and professional training on the job is necessary to secure a position in medical equipment manufacturing, hospital, or university settings.

3. physician assistant ($90k)

“pas” work closely with physicians to diagnose and treat patients; you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field like nursing and an accredited physician assistant educational program. this in-depth but highly supervised work may also help you discover whether you want to pursue a degree in medicine further down the road.

2. cardiovascular perfusionist ($94k)

a cardiovascular perfusionist is responsible for maintaining heart and lung functions during surgery, monitoring blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and blood gasses. many work in operating rooms or intensive care units and have completed perfusion training programs in addition to a bachelor’s degree in health studies.

1.  medical and health services manager/administrator ($40-110k)

if you like a demanding environment and excel under pressure, a position as a medical and health services manager/administrator may be for you! administrators are expected to stay up-to-date on relevant policies and laws, technological changes, and the daily operations of physicians’ offices, hospitals and clinics.

About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.