Not everyone who works in the healthcare industry pursues an MD. Find out what you can do even if you don’t have one. Here’s a list of the most popular jobs–and the crucial responsibilities they entail–for healthcare workers without medical degrees.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
(CRNAs)

Responsibilities:

  • As anesthesia specialists, administer anesthesia to surgical patients
  •  As advanced practice nurses, CRNAs can serve in a variety of capacities in their daily practice, such as clinician, educator, administrator, manager, and researcher.

How to get there:

  •  To become a CRNA, a licensed registered nurse must complete an accredited nurse anesthesia program (earn a master’s degree), then pass a certification exam.

Requirements for admission are a bachelor’s of science of nursing or another appropriate baccalaureate degree and a minimum of one year of acute care nursing experience.

Certified Respiratory Technician

Responsibilities:

  •  administer standard respiratory therapy treatments

How to get there:

  •  1 year vocational program

Certified Scrub Technician

Responsibilities:

  •  assist in preparing the operating room and performing assigned support duties during surgical procedures

How to get there:

  •  1 year Vocational Training Program

Clinical Laboratory Technologist

Responsibilities:

  •  perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease
  •  examine and analyze body fluids, tissues, and cells

How to get there:

  •  A bachelor’s degree with a major in medical technology or in one of the life sciences

Dietitian / Nutritionist

Responsibilities:

  •  oversee food and nutrition programs for individuals and groups
  •  clinical dietitians offer nutritional guidance to patients in hospitals, nursing homes and physicians’ clinics
  •  community dietitians work in a public health clinic, home health agency or health maintenance organization teach people good nutritional practices to prevent disease and promote good health

How to get there:

  •  look for degree programs in dietetics, foods and nutrition, food-service systems management or a related area

Emergency Medical Technician / Paramedic

Responsibilities:

  • working under the direction of a physician, recognize, assess, and manage medical emergencies of acutely ill or injured patients in pre-hospital care settings
  • EMT-paramedics work under principally in advanced life-support units and ambulance services under medical supervision and direction

How to get there:

  •  To become an EMT or paramedic, one must complete an EMT course, which includes classroom and clinical time. To become a paramedic, one must first be certified as an EMT and then complete a formal paramedic program.

Healthcare Administrators

Responsibilities:

  • oversees the organization and flow of a healthcare office or project
  • financial management, staff coordination, project planning, and policy and procedure implementation are common responsibilities

How to get there:

  • candidates should understand finance, business organization, law and ethics as they relate to a healthcare setting
  • master’s degree in healthcare administration is usually required for this career track, though some people take an alternate route by getting an MBA with a concentration in healthcare

Health Information Managers and Technicians

Responsibilities:

  • manage the flow of medical records and other information
  • possess knowledge of medical terminology, medical law and medical coding systems

How to get there:

  • HIM: requires a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management
  • HIT: requires an associate’s degree

Licensed Practical Nurse

Responsibilities:

  • care for the sick under the direction of physicians and registered nurses
  • take vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration
  • prepare and give injections and also collect samples from patients for testing, perform routine laboratory tests, and record food and liquid intake and output

How to get there:

  • In addition to a high school diploma or GED, you’ll need to graduate from an accredited LPN program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination. LPN programs usually include one year of training at a hospital, vocational technical school or community college.

Medical Assistants

Responsibilities:

  • patient check-in, medical records, appointments, track prescriptions and perform some direct care, such as taking blood pressure, assisting the doctor in an examining room and performing simple lab tests

How to get there:

  • associate’s degree from a community college

Medical Records Coder

Responsibilities:

  • analyze patient medical records to determine principle diagnosis and assigns appropriate diagnostic codes.

How to get there:

  • 2 year degree

Medical Secretaries

Responsibilities:

  • manage information flow within medical offices just as with any business office

How to get there:

  • attain Office software skills and have an understanding of medical terminology
  • training is available at vocational high schools, training institutes and community colleges (sometimes, on-the-job training is also available)

Medical Technologist or Clinical Laboratory
Scientists

Responsibilities:

  • perform assortment of tests that help physicians diagnose, treat and prevent disease
  • examine body fluids, tissues and cells to look for bacteria or parasites or to check for abnormalities that might signal a serious medical concern

How to get there:

  •  requires a bachelor’s degree in medical technology, clinical technology or one of the life sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry)

Medical Transcriptionists

Responsibilities:

  •   transcribe recorded patient histories and clinical information
  • need knowledge of medical terminology and the language and writing skills to transfer abbreviated and simplified note-taking into usable information for medical files

How to get there:

  • associate’s degrees in medical transcription

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Responsibilities:

  •  In nuclear medicine, radionuclides-unstable atoms that emit radiation spontaneously-are used to diagnose and treat disease. Radionuclides are purified and compounded like other drugs to form radiopharmaceuticals. Nuclear medicine technologists administer these radiopharmaceuticals to patients, then monitor the characteristics and functions of tissues or organs in which they localize.

How to get there:

  • In addition to having your GED or high school diploma, you’ll need to complete an accredited NMT program, either a two-year associate program or a four-year bachelor’s program.

Occupational Therapist

Responsibilities:

  • help people improve their ability to perform tasks in their daily living and working environments
  • work with individuals who have conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabling
  • improve basic motor functions and reasoning abilities, but also compensate of permanent loss of function

How to get there:

  • Graduate degree from an occupational therapy program, or a joint bachelor’s/master’s degree in OT

Pharmacy Technician

Responsibilities:

  • assist in preparing and delivering medications for patients under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

How to get there:

  • 6 months-2 years of school in a pharmacy technician program

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Responsibilities:

  • work for drug manufacturers and present their companies’ products to physicians, pharmacists, dentists and health services administrators
  • provide a key communication link between pharmaceutical companies and the professionals who use pharmaceuticals in various healthcare settings

How to get there:

  • Requires a bachelor’s degree to break into this field, more specifically a degree in the sciences (e.g., chemistry, biology, etc.) or a business-oriented degree such as marketing or communications

Physical Therapist

Responsibilities:

  • use movement exercise, electrical stimulation, water, ultrasound and massage to develop muscle strength and endurance for patients who have experienced injuries

How to get there:

  • schooling requires a 4 – 6 year degree

Physician Assistant (PA)

Responsibilities:

  • work under the close supervision of full-fledged physicians to provide a variety of diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive healthcare services
  • typically take medical histories, examine patients, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and prescribe medications

How to get there:

  • requires a bachelor’s degree from one of more than 130 accredited programs across the US that offer supervised clinical training

Radiologic Technologist

Responsibilities:

  • take x-rays and scans or administer non radioactive materials into patient’s blood stream for diagnostic purposes, including technologists who specialize in other modalities, such as computerized axial tomography and magnetic resonance imaging

How to get there:

  •  Complete a 1-4 year program in radiography, radiation therapy, or diagnostic medical sonography. The most common courses of study are two years, leading to an Associate’s Degree. Pass the registration exam to become a licensed Radiologic Technologist.

Registered Nurse

Responsibilities:

  • assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records
  • administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients and may advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management

How to get there:

  • There are three options: a Hospital Diploma program, an Associates Degree in Nursing, or a Bachelor Degree in Nursing.

Respiratory Therapist

Responsibilities:

  • respiratory therapists and respiratory therapy technicians – also known as respiratory care practitioners – evaluate, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders
  • assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care treatments, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians

How to get there:

  • Either a 2-year associate’s degree or 4-year bachelor’s degree program. Upon graduation, you can choose to sit for a national exam to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist.

Social Worker

Responsibilities:

  • help people function the best way they can in their environment, deal with relationships, and solve personal and family problems
  • see clients who face a life-threatening disease or a social problem
  • help clients identify their concerns, consider effective solutions, and find reliable resources

How to get there:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BSW)

Speech Therapist

Responsibilities:

  • evaluate, treat, and counsel patients with speech, language or swallowing disorders.

How to get there:

  • Speech-language pathologists can earn their bachelor’s in communication sciences and disorders or a related discipline and then enter a graduate program in speech-language pathology.

Surgical Technologist

Responsibilities:

  • surgical technologists, also called scrubs and surgical or operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel
  • members of the operating room teams, which most commonly include surgeons, anesthesiologists, and circulating nurses

How to get there:

  • Many vocational schools and/or technical colleges offer 2-year surgical technician associate degrees or certification programs.

Ultrasound Technologist

Responsibilities:

  • operate Diagnostic Equipment

How to get there:

  • Training in a hospital, from a vocational-technical institution, from a college or university offering a 2-year or 4-year program, or in the armed forces.