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Allied Health Careers With An Associate Degree or Certification

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In order for medical and/or nursing professionals to provide the best possible service, they rely on the support of a team of allied health professionals. The good news is that many jobs in the allied health field only require an associate’s degree or professional certification and in the coming years, the demand for allied health professionals with a 2-year associate degree or professional certification will increase.

Allied health careers that require only professional training and certification or a 2-year associate degree include:

  • CT Scan or MRI Technician

    A CT Scan or MRI Technician uses sophisticated imaging equipment to take scans that help determine a patient's diagnosis. The highest-paying CT scan and MRI technician jobs usually require a 2-year associate's degree, but the education is a worthwhile investment: you can probably earn close to $60,000 a year.
  • Dental Hygienist

    A Dental Hygienist cleans patients' teeth and gives them instructions on how to care for their teeth in the everyday as well as other preventive dental care tips. With a 2-year associate's degree or a certificate you can work in a private dentist's office, enjoying the pleasant work environment and quite often dentists offer a benefits package, provided the employee is full-time. Dental hygienists earn, on average, $30.19 an hour.
  • ECG/EKG Technician

    An ECG/EKG Technician uses diagnostic equipment to measure and evaluate how well (or poorly) a patient's heart is functioning. ECG/EKG technicians may get some on-the-job training at their place of work, but need an associate's degree in ECG/EKG technology to get hired in the first place. Depending on your training, the typical pay for this job is around $38,000 a year.
  • EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) or Paramedic

    An EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) or Paramedic arrives at the scene of an emergency and provides medical attention and transportation to a medical facility for the sick and injured. Training programs for EMTs or paramedics result in certification, which is required in all 50 states. Although earnings of EMTs and paramedics vary depending on the setting and geographic locations of their jobs as well as their level of training and experience, EMTs and paramedics can expect to earn, on average, $27,070 a year.
  • Health Information Specialist

    A Health Information Specialist or health information technician is in charge of patients' records - from making sure forms are completed to inputting information into the computer. Improve your job opportunities by completing a 2-year associate program which makes you eligible to take the Registered Health Information Technician exam. The median annual earnings for health information specialists in 2006 were $28,030.
  • Massage Therapist

    A Massage Therapist relieves stress and improves circulation by rubbing the soft tissue muscles of the body. Although it is not yet a requirement in all 50 states, many states require formal massage therapy training and certification. In 2005, massage therapists earned a salary of between $20,000 and $49,000 a year.
  • Medical Administrative Assistant

    A Medical Administrative Assistant acts as an office coordinator, assisting with everything from medical reports and arranging patient hospitalization to insurance and billing. A 2-year associate degree or certification would be an excellent advantage for those medical administrative assistants looking to get a higher salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical administrative assistants earn a median annual salary of $28,090 in May 2006.
  • Medical Assistant

    A Medical Assistant performs administrative and clinical duties in the medical offices of health practitioners. Medical assistants with certification or a 2-year associate degree are the preferred candidates for jobs. Although experience, skill level and geographic location have an effect on medical assistants' salaries, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that median annual earnings for medical assistants was $26,290 in 2006.
  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist

    A Medical Billing and Coding Specialist is responsible for coding patients' medical information for insurance purposes. It is common for medical billing and coding specialists to have an associate degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical billing and coding specialists earn a median annual salary of $28,030 in 2006.
  • Medical Technician

    A Medical Technician performs clinical laboratory tests for the purposes of detecting, diagnosing or treating a disease. Medical technicians generally have an associate degree or certificate. The median annual earnings for medical technicians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $32,840 in 2006.
  • Medical Transcriptionist

    A Medical Transcriptionist transcribes dictated recordings made by physicians or other health care professionals, creating medical reports. Completion of a 2-year associate degree or 1-year certificate program as well as work experience is highly recommended for aspiring medical transcriptionists. A medical transcriptionist can expect a median annual hourly earnings of $14.40, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Personal Trainer or Fitness Worker

    A Personal Trainer is someone who works one on one with clients in order to determine a fitness goal and create a plan for achieving that goal. A Fitness Worker works with groups and individuals in exercise, strength training and stretching. Personal trainers and fitness workers are, most often, certified. Fitness workers earn an average of $25,910 a year, self-employed personal trainers can earn much more.
  • Pharmacy Assistant

    A Pharmacy Assistant performs all administrative duties in a pharmacy. Pharmacy assistants receive on the job training but a pharmacy assistant with a certificate or some experience may go on to become a pharmacy technician. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly earnings of pharmacy assistants were $9.35 in 2006.
  • Pharmacy Technician

    A Pharmacy Technician assists Pharmacists with providing medication to patients, including counting tablets and labeling bottles. Although many pharmacy technicians are trained while on the job, many employers prefer those with certification or experience. Pharmacy technicians can expect an median hourly earning of $12.32, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Phlebotomist

    A Phlebotomist is a clinical laboratory technician who collects and processes blood samples for analysis. Although it is not required, obtaining certification can improve your employment chances. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for Phlebotomists in a hospital is $11.70, in a private clinic is $12.15 and in a physician's office laboratory is $11.25.
  • Respiratory Therapist

    A Respiratory Therapist works with patients with breathing or other cardiopulmonary conditions and a 2-year associate degree is required for all respiratory therapists. In all but 2 states, respiratory therapists also require a license. The median annual earnings for a respiratory therapist were $47,420 in 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Surgical Technologist

    A Surgical Technologist assists the surgeons, nurses and other surgical personnel in the operating room. For better employment opportunities, obtaining certification is suggested. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a surgical technologist's median annual earnings were $36,080 in 2006.
  • Ultrasound Technician/Sonographer

    An Ultrasound Technician/Sonographer operates ultrasound equipment to generate an image that is used for the assessment and diagnosis of a patient's medical condition. The education requirements for ultrasound technicians or sonographers varies but, as is often the case, employers prefer job candidates who have experience and training. The most common program for ultrasound technicians or sonographers is a 2-year associate degree. The payoff is handsome since ultrasound technicians/sonographers' median annual earnings in 2006 were $57,160 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Veterinary Technician

    A Veterinary Technician is to a veterinarian as a nurse is to a doctor. Veterinary technicians assist with routine laboratory and clinical procedures, often in a private practice. Most veterinary technicians complete a 2-year associate degree accredited program. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinary technicians' median hourly earnings in 2006 were $12.88.
  • X-ray Technician

    An X-ray Technician takes x-ray films or radiographs of the human body for diagnostic purposes. Although there are several programs for x-ray technicians, the most common is a 2-year associate degree program. The median annual earnings of x-ray technicians in 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics were $48,170.

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Sources:
1) Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2008-2009 Edition
2) www.ama-assn.org

Sarah Y. Durning is a Content Editor at CourseAdvisor.