Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a rewarding career in healthcare. What do you see?
Chances are, you picture yourself performing a whirlwind of procedures, providing the hands-on care that not only keeps patients comfortable, but also saves lives. Meanwhile, you might also imagine a job that involves a lot of blood, guts, and gore - car accidents, broken bones, and surgeries galore. But is that the reality?
Fortunately, not always. That's good news if you’re the squeamish type.
10 Booming Healthcare Jobs (That Don't Involve Blood)
Perhaps contrary to popular conception, there are actually a lot of behind-the-scenes healthcare jobs that usually don’t involve blood at all. The key word here is usually. And even better, some of them are absolutely booming. Here are some of the top blood-free healthcare careers with exceptional potential.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
Median wage (2014): $68,390
Projected growth (2012-2022): 46%
Because of its non-invasive nature, the use of sonography to diagnose illnesses, injuries, and abnormalities is on the rise. That’s good news for diagnostic medical sonographers and those who wish to join the profession. After earning an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography or a bachelor’s degree in sonography, these workers are primed and ready to operate the various types of equipment used in this field.
Diagnostic medical sonographers can specialize in a number of areas, including abdominal sonography, breast sonography, musculoskeletal sonography, neurosonography, or obstetric and gynecological sonography, and they’re rewarded handsomely for their experience and expertise. According to U.S. Department of Labor data, diagnostic medical sonographers earned an annual mean wage of $68,390 nationally in 2014. Pretty good for a job that normally only requires a two-year degree.
But good pay isn't the only reason to like this career. Because of the demand in this field, government number crunchers show that employment for diagnostic medical sonographers could increase by as much as 46% nationally from 2012 to 2022 – that’s more than four times as fast as the average for all occupations combined.
Occupational Therapy Assistants
Median wage: $57,260
Projected growth: 43%
Occupational therapists provide various treatments that help patients recover from illnesses or injuries and to perform tasks related to daily living. Meanwhile, occupational therapy assistants help out in this effort – by assisting patients with therapy under the supervision of an occupational therapist and by performing various administrative tasks.
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the use of occupational therapy is expected to increase as the baby boomer population continues to age. Meanwhile, occupational therapists might hire more assistants overall to increase the number of patients they can take.
Because of the anticipated demand, government data shows that employment for occupational therapy assistants is expected to increase 43% from 2012 to 2022. For a career that normally only requires an associate’s degree, the average pay is also high. The most recent data shows that occupational therapy assistants earned an annual mean wage of $57,260 nationally in 2014. More great news? This is a career where there is usually no blood.
Physical Therapy Assistants
Median wage: $54,330
Projected growth: 41%
Much like occupational therapy assistants, physical therapy assistants perform a wide range of duties under the supervision of a physical therapist. Most of the time, the therapies and exercises physical therapists prescribe for their patients are aimed at improving their mobility or helping them recover from a specific injury or illness.
Physical therapy assistants not only assist patients with their therapy, but they also perform a number of tasks that help make things run more smoothly for the physical therapist in charge. For example, they may help set up treatment areas or educate patients and their families on how to continue recovery at home.
Because the use of physical therapy is expected to increase along with our aging population, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts heavy growth in this field. Specifically, employment for physical therapy assistants is expected to surge 41% during the next decade. Because of demand, pay remains high. Physical therapy assistants earned an annual mean wage of $54,330 nationally in 2014. For a job that only requires an Associate’s degree – and is normally blood-free – that’s not bad at all.
Medical Equipment Repairers
Median wage: $48,540
Projected growth: 30%
Here’s a healthcare job that is guaranteed to be blood-free. By becoming a medical equipment repairer, you can work on the outskirts of the healthcare industry without having much direct contact with patients at all.
Although these workers don’t stitch up wounds or change bedpans, they still provide a crucial service to the healthcare industry – they are in charge of maintaining and repairing various types of equipment used to diagnose illnesses and injuries.
Medical equipment repairers usually begin their careers by earning an associate’s degree in biomedical technology or biomedical engineering. Either way, this two-year degree presents the opportunity for quick entry into the workforce. And because new machinery and equipment used for the purpose of healthcare is constantly in a state of upheaval, professionals who know how various types of equipment works will remain in demand. Specifically, job openings for these workers are expected to increase 30% from 2012 to 2022.
Pay isn’t bad either. Annual mean wages for medical equipment repairers came in at $48,540 nationally in 2014. For a healthcare job that doesn’t deal with blood – or even patients – a degree in this field seems like a good deal, and a great investment in your future.
Median wage: $83,710
Projected growth: 24%
Radiation therapists administer radiation treatments to patients suffering from a number of ailments, most notably cancer. They counsel patients on their options, operate the machinery that administers radiation, and monitor the patient during treatment to ensure maximum health and comfort.
All of these tasks sound important, and they are. But the truth is, most radiation therapists only need an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy to get started. The initial investment pays off well, however. As of May 2014, radiation therapists earned an annual mean wage of $83,710 nationally.
Because our aging population is only expected to see more incidences of cancer, careers in this field are expected to increase. Job openings for radiation therapists, for example, are expected to increase 24% from 2012 to 2022.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists
Median wage: $57,510
Projected growth: 24%
Magnetic resonance imaging technologists, which are commonly referred to as MRI technologists, perform a number of diagnostic imaging procedures, none of which should involve blood on a regular basis. In addition to performing X-rays, these patients also prepare patients for their procedure, position the patient according to the goal of the procedure, and keep detailed written records.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an associate’s degree in radiography is the most common way to begin this career. Furthermore, licensing is required in some states. Because of the demand, employment for MRI technologists is expected to increase by as much as 24% during the decade leading up to 2022. Meanwhile, the annual mean wage for these workers was $57,510 in 2014.
Medical and Health Services Managers
Median wage: $103,680
Projected growth: 23%
Another way to work in healthcare without dealing with blood is to focus solely on the administrative side of the industry. Medical and health services managers do just that – according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they plan, direct, and coordinate a wide array of services within a doctor’s office or clinical area or department, or among a group or physicians. In other cases, they might manage an entire healthcare facility, such as a hospital or long-term care facility.
Since the healthcare industry as a whole is expected to see steady demand due to the increased needs of our aging population, professionals who manage healthcare facilities and staff members are also expected to remain in demand. Job openings for medical and health services managers, for example, are expected to increase 23% from 2012 to 2022.
Since most medical and health services managers have either a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in health services, long-term care administration, public health, or a related field, this career does require a large upfront investment. However, the pay might more than make up for it. As of 2014, medical and health services managers earned an annual mean wage of $103,680 nationally.
Dietitians and Nutritionists
Median wage: $57,440
Projected growth: 21%
Another way to work in healthcare without dealing with any bodily fluids is to opt for a career as a dietitian or nutritionist. Instead of dealing with illness and injuries all the time, these workers use their knowledge of food and nutrition to help improve patient’s lives through better habits. In some cases, nutrition can be used to improve a patient’s health or physical condition. However, certain patients seek out dietitians and nutritionists in order to lose weight.
Although most dietitians and nutritionists have a bachelor’s degree, some also have advanced degrees. In addition, many states require dietitians and nutritionists to become licensed. As interest grows in food's role in improving our health and our lives, demand for professionals who are knowledgeable in this field is expected to rise. Specifically, job openings for nutritionists and dietitians is expected to increase 21% from 2012 to 2022.
Pay is higher than average as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dietitians and nutritionists earned an annual mean wage of $57,440 in 2014.
Nuclear Medicine Technologists
Median wage: $73,230
Projected growth: 20%
Another (mostly) blood-free job in healthcare falls squarely in the realm of diagnostics. Nuclear medicine technologists prepare radioactive drugs for patients and use various imaging procedures to reveal inconsistencies or abnormalities that doctors can then use to diagnose illness.
In addition to preparing and administering drugs to patients and running various diagnostic and imaging equipment, nuclear medicine technologists also counsel patients on various aspects of their procedure, examine and update machinery, and keep detailed records. After performing all of these tasks, they typically prepare their findings so that a physician or surgeon can then interpret them.
Because of the increase in advanced medicine and diagnostic techniques, job openings for nuclear medicine technologists are expected to increase 20% from 2012 to 2022. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, this career usually starts with an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology. As of 2014, the annual mean wage for these workers was $73,230 nationally.
Median wage: $58,490.
Projected growth: 19%
Unlike some healthcare workers who focus on many aspects of our health, respiratory therapists focus on one very essential function of the body: breathing. They meet with patients who are having trouble breathing, perform diagnostic tests, and prescribe treatments that may improve their breathing over time. There isn’t usually much blood involved, but respiratory therapists are often called upon to insert tubes into a patient’s trachea when they require a ventilator, or breathing equipment, to breathe on their own -- which might make you squirm a bit.
Like all jobs in healthcare, respiratory therapists are expected to remain in demand in the coming years. Specifically, job openings are expected to increase 19% from 2012 to 2022. The fact that respiratory therapists typically only need an associate’s degree can mean quick entry into the workforce as well. And pay remains high: As of 2014, respiratory therapists earned an annual mean wage of $58,490.
Is a Blood-Free Healthcare Career For You?
Healthcare careers are often some of the most rewarding jobs on the planet. Not only do you get to help people on a daily basis, but your expertise is often in heavy demand and you might receive very good pay for your unique skills and certifications.
It’s hard to come up with another industry that offers so many benefits, but there is one huge caveat – most healthcare careers involve dealing with not only blood, but also some of the most unsavory bodily fluids out there.
And that’s what makes this list so special: These careers include all the benefits, but without all the mess. Well, at least most of the time.