Check Out These Healthcare Careers That Don't Need a Degree

Julie Shenkman
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The medical field is growing rapidly, creating new opportunities for compassionate people who enjoy helping others. Although you need a bachelor's degree for some health careers, several rewarding jobs require no more than two years of training. If you're interested in breaking into the medical field, one of these health careers may be for you.

1. Phlebotomist

A phlebotomist collects blood samples and ensures the samples are labeled properly before sending them to a laboratory. Although there are associate degree programs that include phlebotomy training, it's possible to become a phlebotomist in just a few months. After just 75 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on training, you can also take a phlebotomy certification exam, improving your chances of getting a job.

2. Dental Assistant

There are several health careers involving the teeth, but dental assisting is the one that requires the least training. Dental assistants perform a variety of clinical duties, from exposing dental X-rays to sterilizing instruments. As a dental assistant, you may also order supplies, answer the telephone and perform other clerical tasks.

3. Medical Assistant

Medical assistants perform a combination of clinical and secretarial work in support of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. In addition to filing, greeting patients and performing billing duties, you may be responsible for taking vital signs, collecting laboratory specimens and helping physicians conduct examinations. Unlike other health careers, it doesn't take four or more years to become a medical assistant. Many training programs take one year or less to complete.

4. Personal Care Aide

Not all health careers involve working in a hospital or private practice. If you want some flexibility, consider becoming a personal care aide for a home-health agency. Aides help their patients with basic activities of daily living, such as getting dressed and taking baths. You may also run errands or do some light housekeeping work for the people in your care.

5. EKG Technician

An electrocardiogram helps diagnose problems with the heart's electrical system. All types of medical facilities need EKG technicians on hand to perform this important test. You don't need a bachelor's degree to become an EKG technician, but you do need approximately 40 hours of training to qualify for certification.

6. Veterinary Technician

If you don't want to work with human patients, consider becoming a veterinary technician. Veterinarians hire technicians to assist with exams, administer medications and prepare animals to undergo surgical procedures. Veterinary technicians also schedule appointments, collect payments from clients and perform other clerical duties.

Working in the medical field is a serious undertaking, but you don't have to spend four or more years training for a job. Several health careers require fewer than two years of training, making it easier to break into the medical field and experience the satisfaction of helping people on a daily basis.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Angel yours is the age old question - how do I get a job if I don't have experience: how do I get experience if I can't find a job. The only thing we can say is keep trying. Continue looking for entry level positions. Networking works well, too. And what about through your college? Do they have a career service center? They can certainly assist you. Many times companies will contact the colleges letting them know that they need EKG technicians. Keep applying - the job will come.

  • Angel J.
    Angel J.

    I just completed an EKG TECH program at a Jr college. Since then I have been applying for jobs. I have not received any calls for an interview. Employers are always asking for experience. My question is HOW CAN I GET EXPERIENCE if they don't hire me.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Sandra thanks for your comment. This article isn't addressing some of the more complicated roles that a health care professional can have such as RMA or CMA - not even CNA. This article is addressing a PCA which is completely different from a CNA or a CMA. Personally, I worked as a PCA and learned on the job. There are many positions that you can have in the healthcare field that only require a minimum amount of schooling and/or certification.

  • Sandra M.
    Sandra M.

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information but you most certainly do need to attend accredited schools to be a RMA,CMA. If you don't there is a good chance you will be in over your head and hurt a patient eventually without the proper education.

  • Mukova L.
    Mukova L.

    Am interested in the personal care aide career because I don't have qualifications to do with nursing

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the clarification @Yvonne. Yes, you do need a certificate if you wish to be a CNA. Many places will offer in-house classes and even pay you during your training. Then they will help you with your state certification. Not sure about dental assistants. Do they have to be state certified also?

  • yvonne u.
    yvonne u.

    Just for the record, you do need a degree and certification for a CMA!! It also takes more than a year to get it!! Also, my sister has a degree for Dental Assistant.

  • karol w.
    karol w.

    personal care giver

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