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15 Health Careers for High School Graduates

June 4th, 2021

There are many different health careers for high school graduates, but it can be difficult to know where to start. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers typically hired workers for 103 different jobs without a high school diploma. For those with high school diplomas, that number jumped up to 322 occupations – meaning that those with a high school diploma have more options in careers and more opportunities for growth.

15 jobs for high school diploma earners in the healthcare field

1. Care Aide

Home Health and Personal Care Aides are projected to be the fastest growing healthcare field for students without a college degree and are among the fastest-growing career fields regardless of education level.

  • What they do: Monitor the condition of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses and help them with daily living activities
  • Projected growth: 34% (much faster than average)
  • 2020 median salary: $27,080 per year, or $13.02 per hour
An ambulance in motion, the background blurred.

2. Ambulance Driver

First on the scene, Ambulance Drivers are oftentimes the difference between life and death. It’s also a great way to gain a foundation and break into the healthcare industry.

  • What they do: Drive ambulances or assist in transporting sick, injured, or convalescent persons
  • Projected growth: 9% (much faster than average)
  • 2020 median salary: $27,930 per year

3. Crematory Operator

It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a career in health, but Crematory Operators are a growing field that works in coordination with the healthcare industry.

  • What they do: Operate crematory equipment to reduce human or animal remains to bone fragments in accordance with state and local regulations
  • Projected growth: 16% (much faster than average)
  • 2020 median salary: $28,420 per year

4. Pharmacy Aide

Pharmacy Aides have the opportunity to gain first exposure to the pharmacy environment through this entry-level position in the pharmacy.

Image shows a cup of pills
  • What they do: Record drugs delivered to the pharmacy, store incoming merchandise, and inform the supervisor of stock needs
  • Projected growth: -16% (decline)
  • 2020 median salary: $29,280 per year

5. Pharmacy Tech

Many Pharmacy Technicians begin as aides but are able to advance and decide whether they want to continue their education and further their career in pharmacy.

  • What they do: Help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals
  • Projected growth: 4% (average growth)
  • 2020 median salary: $35,100 per year, $16.87 per hour

6. Optician

Don’t forget about eye health when considering careers in the healthcare industry. Opticians can find work without a college diploma while out-earning the national average for all careers.

  • What they do: Fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists
  • Projected growth: 4% (average growth)
  • 2020 median salary: $38,530 per year, $18.53 per hour
Image shows a dental mold

7. Lab Tech / Appliance Tech

Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians and Medical Appliance Technicians do a variety of work in hospitals, storefronts, and private practices. Average salaries are above the national average for all careers.

  • What they do: Construct, fit, or repair medical appliances and devices
  • Projected growth: 9% (much faster than average)
  • 2020 median salary: $38,620 per year, $18.57 per hour

8. Medical Equipment Preparer

A necessary component of many hospitals, Medical Equipment Preparers ensure that doctors and nurses have the clean equipment they need to save lives.

  • What they do: Prepare, sterilize, install, or clean laboratory or healthcare equipment; may perform routine laboratory tasks and operate or inspect equipment
  • Projected growth: 6% (faster than average)
  • 2020 median salary: $38,800 per year
A woman laying on the ground, in the middle of completing crunches.

9. Fitness Trainer

A big component of staying healthy is maintaining health through physical fitness. Fitness Trainers and Instructors are essential supports for many looking to embark on their health journey.

  • What they do: Lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities
  • Projected growth: 15% (much faster than average)
  • 2020 median salary: $40,510 per year, $19.48 per hour

10. Medical Secretary

Medical Secretaries and Administrative Assistants do standard clerical work but in a medical setting.

  • What they do: Perform routine clerical and administrative duties
  • Projected growth: – 9% (decline)
  • 2020 median salary: $40,990 per year, $19.71 per hour

11. Health Education

If you’re looking to work with students and your community, becoming a Health Education Specialist or Community Health Worker.

  • What they do: Health education specialists develop programs to teach people about conditions affecting well-being
  • Projected growth: 13% (much faster than average)
  • 2020 median salary: $48,140 per year, $23.15 per hour
A pair of hands massages another' person’s arm, indicating they have tendonitis or carpal tunnel

12. Physical Theraphy Assisting

Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides help those recovering from injury and illness get back on their feet while making a great average wage in a fast-growing field.

  • What they do: Help patients regain movement and manage pain after injuries and illnesses
  • Projected growth: 29% (much faster than average)
  • 2020 median salary: $49,970 per year, $24.02 per hour

13. Hearing Support

Don’t forget about your ears! Hearing Aid Specialists have a rewarding career in the health industry with great earning potential for employees without a college degree.

  • What they do: Select and fit hearing aids for customers, administer and interpret tests of hearing, and assess hearing instrument efficacy
  • Projected growth: 10% (much faster than average)
  • 2020 median salary: $52,630 per year

14. Occupational Therapy Aide

Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides are an important part of recovery and daily living for many people. They have great earning potential and are among the fastest-growing of all career fields.

A pair of hands hold a robotic hand,  as if in greeting.
  • What they do: Help patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.
  • Projected growth: 32% (much faster than average)
  • 2020 median salary: $60,950 per year, $29.30 per hour

15. Occupational Health Tech

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians are usually former aides and assistants who have gained more experience. They have great earning potential – the highest among healthcare careers for high school diploma earners, and almost double the national earning average!

  • What they do: Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians collect data on and analyze many types of work environments and work procedures.
  • Projected growth: 4% (average growth)
  • 2020 median salary: $72,530 per year, $34.87 per hour

While statistics are just one place to start, they can be a great guide when exploring and deciding upon your future career. Once you’ve selected a career path in healthcare, you will be able to learn more about the specialties that appeal to you.

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