Most Lucrative Jobs in Healthcare that Does Not Require Going to Medical School

Healthcare is one of the most lucrative and critically important sectors in the world. There is no denying that specialist doctors are the most important and the highest-paid professionals in healthcare, but they cannot possibly do their jobs alone. Even the world’s most skilled neurosurgeon needs assistance inside the operating room from other medical professionals. In this post, we are going to look at those less recognized, but extremely important medical professions. We will look at some of the most lucrative and important professions within healthcare that do not require a medical school degree.


Other than doctors, nurses are the most recognized and respected medical professionals in the field of healthcare. Doctors rely heavily on them and the current shortage of nurses in the United States is one of the healthcare sector’s biggest problems. While the shortage does ensure better pay and high professional value for all registered nurses (RN), it can also lead to very long and exhausting workdays for them. The question is, does the pay make up for it?

The answer depends on whom you ask, of course, because not all nurses are paid equally. How much they get paid depends on several factors such as:

  • General experience.
  • Prior experience in specific job roles as a specialist nurse.
  • Qualifications and performance records.
  • Area (State, city, county, etc.) and employer.
  • Job role or post (Independent practitioner, educator, researcher, ER nurse, etc.)

Keeping all those factors in mind, the following nursing specialties offer the most lucrative opportunities in 2022:

  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA): Average pay sans bonus/benefits is around $166,500 per year.
  • Psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP): Average pay sans bonus/benefits is around $115,500 per year.
  • Neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP): Average pay sans bonus/benefits is around $110,000 per year.

Nurse Educators and Researchers

Nurse educators and researchers are highly qualified and experienced nurses themselves, who prefer taking the academic route. This decision can be taken at a later point in a nurse’s career, or they could mold their career towards an academic path from day one. While the job of a medical professional and especially a nursing professional cannot ever be completely stress-free, teachers and researchers can avoid the high-pressure situations that active medical and emergency nurses face daily.

Their jobs are also lucrative because of the prestige, authority, and importance that they hold on account of their qualifications and post. Aside from that, the average pay for a nurse educator or a research nurse with a PhD can also be among the highest in the field of nursing. For example, a PhD nurse in any position is expected to earn around $99,000 per year in 2022 (before bonus/benefits), but experienced professionals who hold leadership positions earn a lot more than that.

If you are a registered nurse who is interested in pursuing an academic and/or research-oriented career, consider applying for online PhD nursing programs. Note that to apply for the CCNE accredited online PhD nursing programs, applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • MSN Certification (3.3 GPA)
  • Unblemished RN license.
  • Recommendation letters (at least two)

Biomedical Engineers

Biomedical science can branch out in several lucrative career opportunities, but biomed engineers are arguably the most in-demand healthcare professionals who usually come from that background. While their roles can be extremely diverse, they center around improving, inventing, and designing medical equipment.

Now, biomedical engineers are responsible for inventing and designing medical equipment that was or is in use for patient diagnosis and patient care, so it should not be difficult to imagine how important they are to ensure the progress of medical science. Everything from the digital x-ray machine and the MRI scanner to modern prosthetics and nanotech was invented, designed, and improved upon by biomedical engineers.

It is nearly impossible to define how much a biomedical engineer would be paid, without knowing exactly what they are working on or what their job role is. Nevertheless, senior biomedical engineers on average should be able to draw a salary close to the $90,000 per year mark, before benefits/bonuses.

Physician Assistants (PA)

The physician’s assistant or physician assistant has one of those few jobs that are closest to the role of a general physician that any healthcare professional can get to, short of going to medical school. The only other non-physician profession in healthcare that surpasses the PA’s proximity to a general physician’s authority is that of the nurse practitioner (NP).

How much authority they have will vary depending on the state/city/county laws. In general, PAs regularly treat minor illnesses, especially when the pressure on medical practitioners begins to pile up. They allow doctors the opportunity to focus on the more severe and complicated patients. While a PA cannot work independently like an NP can in some states, they do have the medical knowledge and authority to perform minor diagnostic routines and even write prescriptions on the supervising doctor’s behalf.

If the limited medical authority to write prescriptions and diagnose patients does not seem lucrative enough to aspiring physician assistants, then consider the employment opportunities, as well as the average salary that physician assistants earn. Even conservative estimates put the mean earning of PAs in 2022 at $101,000 per year approximately. Since they are licensed medical professionals who can take on several tasks associated with not just general physicians but also nurses, PAs are not about to go out of demand anytime soon either.


Finally, we have the pharmacists, who happen to be among the most qualified and well-paid medical professionals in the field. They have a wide range of authorizations and very specific skills that even doctors do not. Since pharmacists can find employment at both your local pharmacy as well as at a multinational pharmaceutical company, their job roles and pay scales vary.

The average pharmacists we see at pharmacies earn an average salary close to $117,000 per year, while research pharmacists who are tasked with preparing and testing medication before mass production earn significantly more than that. Having a PhD/Doctorate degree in pharmaceutical science is almost always a minimum requirement for the pharmacist’s job though, which is why most pharmacists generally have a background in some other fields of healthcare as well.

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