Best Medical Careers You’ve Never Heard Of

a doctor using a laptop

Qualified healthcare workers are in demand. Healthcare is a leading industry in the United States and currently accounts for over 16 million job opportunities. Many people are drawn to the healthcare industry because it allows them to help others, earn strong salaries, and have job security. Although most people know what doctors and nurses do, there are many lesser-known medical careers that also have high demand, some of which require two years of study or less.

MRI Technologists


A magnetic resonance imaging technologist is qualified to perform a full-body MRI scan on patients. As of February 2020, these medical professionals earned median annual incomes of $77,400. They operate medical equipment that enables them to capture detailed images of patients so that the patients can be properly diagnosed and treated by physicians. MRI scans are commonly used to locate and measure tumors, diagnose diseases affecting your organs, and identify torn ligaments. MRI technologists capture images, store them, complete patient records, and provide the images to the patient’s physician for a diagnosis.

Physical Therapy Assistants

A physical therapy assistant is a medical professional who works under the direction of a physical therapist. They typically need an associate’s degree in their field and their duties include monitoring patients, teaching them how to perform exercises, and helping them learn how to use assistive devices, such as walkers. They may work with people with disabilities or those who have been injured in an accident. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that these professionals are expected to enjoy a 27% job growth rate from 2018 to 2028. indicates their February 2020 median income was $55,100 per year.

Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians


Many people wear dentures or contact lenses, which are appliances and medical devices that must be made by skilled professionals. Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians receive molds and measurements from dentists and optometrists. When they receive the specifications, they determine what materials to use and construct the appliance. Dental laboratory technicians may also make crowns and bridges. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians make glasses and lenses for patients, but may also make lenses for binoculars and telescopes. The BLS reported dental laboratory technicians earned a median annual income of $40,440 as of 2018.

Surgical Technologists


Medical facilities must meet strict building and cleanliness standards, and surgical technologists ensure that surgical rooms are properly cleaned and prepared prior to surgeries. They stock medical supplies and ensure that the surgical instruments are properly sterilized. These medical professionals may work in a facility created by professionals experienced with expert clean room design and certified by cleanroom certification experts. These are highly controlled medical environments that are designed to minimize the risk of infection and exposure to toxins or allergens. Their median annual salary was $47,300 as of 2018, according to the BLS.

Respiratory Therapists

According to, respiratory therapists earned a median income of $68,255 per year as of February 2020. These medical professionals must have an associate’s degree to enter their field, as they work with patients who have difficulty breathing. They may record medical histories, collaborate with doctors to determine the best way to treat a patient, and conduct diagnostic tests. These tests are used to help diagnose patients and develop optimal treatment plans. They also train patients to use medical devices that can help them breathe effectively. Some respiratory therapists work in medical offices, but most work in hospitals.

Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians


Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians are trained to process medical tests in a laboratory. When a patient’s blood is drawn or a urine sample is collected, it is sent to these professionals. Clinical laboratory technicians enter the field with an associate’s degree, while clinical laboratory technologists need a bachelor’s degree and are qualified to run tests that are more complex. The BLS reported that clinical laboratory technicians earned median annual salaries of $38,950 as of May 2016, while clinical laboratory technologists took home median incomes of $61,070.

Inquiries & Submissions