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Joining the Medical Profession without a Medical Degree: Which are the Best Paid Options?

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Joining the Medical Profession: Medical school is not the only option for anyone interested in joining healthcare, but it is certainly the highest paid profession. There is of course, more to being a doctor or a surgeon than just the money, but the money is a personal incentive without a doubt. The good news is that although you may not be able to earn as much as the doctors, there are some healthcareopportunities available today with remarkable career prospects as well. With both financial and ethical responsibilities of the healthcare professional in mind, here are some of the best professions in the industry that you can join without going to medical school.

Pharmacist: $140,000 Per Year

Very few people realize how lucrative and important the job of a pharmacist is. Theperson with the white lab coat working inside thepharmacy is not just another employeeat the drugstore, but a highly skilled and medically trained healthcare professional. Some of the several duties which a pharmacist is capable of handling are as follows:

  • A deep, thorough understanding of pharmaceutical chemicals, drugs, drug interactions, and more
  • Ability to detect contradictory prescriptions where meds are likely to cause a dangerous interaction, even if they are prescribed by a doctor
  • With a better understanding of drug interactions than most general physicians, a pharmacist canrefuse a doctor’s prescription
  • Pharmacists have a duty to explain the best course of action, as prescribed by the doctor
  • Ability to prepare pills, syrups, capsules and other types of pharmaceutical products
  • Ability to help create and verify pharmacy bills, audits, prescription records, patient records, etc.
  • Handling inventory management in a pharmacy
  • A proper and updated understanding of recent drug releases, insurance clauses, and other pharmaceutical and financial factors related to the hospital/clinic pharmacy

Joining the Medical Profession: Pharmacists are highly paid and highly educated medical professionalswho earn roughly $140,000 per year on an average. It has been found that even the lowest paid pharmacists earn no less than almost $125,000 per year, while the more respected pharmacists in big cities average almost $158,000 per year. It must be understood that in the absence of a certified pharmacist, a drugstore cannot remain open. This is what makes them indispensable to their employers.

This is not even the full picture because with experience and the right education on their side, pharmacists stand to earn a lot more. For example, pharmacists with just three to four years of experience can easily earn more than $157,000 per year on an average. You can find out more information about a pharmacists’expected salaries across various states on

Nursing:$80,500 – $200,000+ Per Year

Just like doctors, nurses work in almost all disciplines of medical science. Therefore, it would be impossible to state what a nurse’s average salary is, without at least getting to know what their qualifications, experience years and specialty is. However, even the most preliminary diploma RN can expect to earn at least $80,500/year on an average, as of early 2021.

Joining the Medical Profession: On the other hand, an MSN-NP can easily earn upwards of $112,200/year on an average. With just a few years’ experience and preferably a DNP under their belt, NPs should assume leadership positions in government administration, hospital administration, or even an entire rural community’s health administration division. Nurse practitioners in states where they are allowed full autonomy, can act as primary care doctors, with the ability to diagnose patients and write medical prescriptions without the need for a physician’s supervision. Senior NPs and FNPs are expected to earn roughly $125,000 –$130,000 per year in early 2021.

As far as the potential to earn is concerned though, no other nursing job pays more than that of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). On an average, nurse anesthetists earn anything from$190,000 to $200,000 on an average, depending on their experience, state of work, and qualifications. Their job requires them to be precise, and people’s lives directly depend on their ability to do the job, so just like it is with anesthetists, the CRNA’s job too is highly paid and extremely challenging.

Joining the Medical Profession: In order to open up the opportunitiesfor becominga NP, FNP, CRNA, PNP, Nurse Midwife or any other highly paid andrespected nurse specialist, you must complete your BSN first. If you are not already working as a RN, but you do have a bachelor’s degree in any other non-nursing subject, join one of the suitable accelerated nursing programs online. Make sure that the Accelerated Bachelor’s in Nursing Science (ABSN) Program is properly accredited,and you should be able to pursue any track for your MSN after that, while working fulltime or parttime as a nurse.

BSN – RNs are usually paid more and preferred by employers during interviews which, in turn, increases their average employability. In fact, a BSN is likely to become the minimum qualification needed to be a nurse soon enough. If you are a registered nurse without a BSN, you should join one of the online accelerated nursing programs to further secure your position at work. For experienced nurses in particular, the bachelor’s degree will open opportunities to earn almost as much as an average doctor, or perhaps gain even the same level of autonomy as a GP.

Biomedical Engineering: $85,000 – $100,000 Per Year

Biomedical engineers work within the unique junction wheremedical science and engineering meets.Almost every modern medical equipment that we see in hospitals, clinics and even in our own homes, have been designed by a biomedical engineer. Their role is critical for medical science to progress and without them, healthcare wouldn’t have gotten anywhere even close to where it stands today. To better understand the kind of roles they play in advancing healthcare, issues consider the fact that each of the following life-saving equipment are results ofbiomedical engineering:

  • Surgical robotics and intelligent, operative software
  • Prosthetics, and bionic prosthetics (limbs, hips, knees, etc.)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging machines (MRI), X-Ray machines, Ultrasonographic machines
  • Echocardiogram (ECCG) machines, electrocardiogram (ECG) machines, and electrocardiographic (EKG) heart monitors
  • Pacemakers and heart stents

Joining the Medical Profession: The salary of a biomedical engineer may vary widely, depending on what he/she is working on and for which employer. The average salary of a Level IV biomedical engineer isn’t the most impressive one on this list of course, but there are those that get paid in millions for their work. For example, multiple projects are ongoing to produce internal organs at a somewhat affordable rate. If that can be achieved, no one may ever have to wait for an organ donor ever again and biomedical engineers will be at the forefront of this revolutionary step in medical science. On an average though, expect to be get paid anywhere between $80,000 – $90,000 per year if you choose to pursue your career in biomedical engineering.

Chiropractic: $154,200 – $212,500+ Per Year

Chiropractic treatment is an alternative form of medicine but, unlikeother forms of holistic medicine, chiropractic is an accepted form of treatment that does work at times where traditional medicine may not be of much use. Now, unlike the other professions mentioned in this post so far, a chiropractor is referred to as a doctor, which can be confusing since we are discussing jobs in healthcare that don’t require going to medical school. Fortunately, the Doctor of Chiropractic course (four-years) is a completely different one, and you do not have to attend medical school to become a chiropractor.

Chiropractic treatments are quite similar in principle to physical therapy, but at a much more advanced level. However, it is not unlikely to find that a chiropractor is also working with a certified physical therapist as his/her assistant. Chiropractors do not have the authority to write prescriptions but that’s not a problem in this case.Their entire treatment principle is based on helping patients attain pain relief through joint and soft tissue mobilization. Although chiropractors might be able to treat patients suffering from other types of ailments as well, their primary focus is on:

  • Treating and healing injuries
  • Shortening recovery time after injuries caused by an accident/assault
  • Stimulating nerves, neuromuscular coordination and muscular strength after a stroke or a debilitating accident
  • Helping relieve pain from an arthritic back, knee or any other joint inflammation
  • Helping relieve pain from spondylitis, nerve impingements, herniated discs, etc.
  • Providing effective ways of nonsurgical and noninvasive pain relief

If you choose to become a chiropractor, rest assured that a completelydifferent experience awaits you, as compared to what your predecessorsmay have been used to. Whereas the average salary of chiropractor was hovering around the $70,000 – $75,000 per year mark (US-BLS) in 2018, it has skyrocketed in less than just three years’ time. As of mid-2021, the averageincome of a certified Doctor of Chiropractic is $154,200 per year, with some of the country’s top chiropractors earning more than $265,000 per year on an average!

Dentistry: $171,000 Per Year

There is a bit of controversy regarding whether dentists can be or rather should be called doctors or not. Technically, they are called medical professionals or oral technicians but not doctors in the United States. On top of that, dental school and medical school follow two different curriculums, so rest assured that you don’t have to attend medical school to become a dentist.

Nevertheless, becoming a dentist will be almost as demanding of your time and money as attending medical school. Almost being the keyword, it takes four years for a DAT qualified student to gain their Doctor of DentalMedicine certificate. They can alternatively pursue a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree during the final years instead, if they feel surgical procedures to be their forte.Oral surgeons (maxillofacial) get paid a lot more than the average dentist or orthodontist mind you.

However, the four-year period is only a valid timeline as long as the student already has a bachelor’s degree on their resume before sitting for their DAT. In some instances, students might be allowed to join a dental school even if they do not have their bachelor’s certificate. That may only be allowed if they complete two years of pre-dental school prior to applying at a dental school.


The average dentist is not as highly paid as medical doctors, but some of them do come very close. On an average, regular dentists can expect to earn anything between $150,000 – $190,000 per year, depending on where they are practicing. Below, we have highlighted some of the average salaries of specialist dental healthcare professionals to provide aspiring dentists with an idea of what to expect by studying the different streams of dentistry.

  • Orthodontists: $144,000/year avg. –Treat malocclusions (crooked teeth), align jaws, improve facial symmetry, and make smiles more symmetrical among other things.
  • Maxillofacial Surgeons: $293,000/year avg.–Facial/oral reconstruction, surgeries related to oral, head and neck cancers, dental implantations, salivary gland surgeries, etc.
  • Periodontist:$204,000/year avg.–Dental implantation, treats gum disease and periodontitis,and a range of critical dental surgeries related to the gum and the jawbone.
  • Endodontist: $228,000/year avg. – root canal experts, specialists in pulp pain management, specialists in general tooth pain management.

As you may have figured out by now, both education and experienceare necessary to get started on all the career paths which can take you up to the healthcare industry’s higher rungs. Take your pick based on your prior education, prior work experience and main interest. Remember that after completing your courses, training sessions, and symptoms getting the necessary certificates, the next most important part is to gain entry into the field of your choice.

Even if the salary is low during the initial days, do not let yourself be disappointed. Work to gain the necessary experience, while also continuing to complete your education online.Further strengthen your resume for better job opportunities, promotions and pay bumps. Eventually, you will find that both the reparations and your own contributions to the healthcare industry are becoming increasingly satisfactory. Consider changing city or state, if there are better opportunities waiting for you in some other state. Do not underestimate the differencea cross-country move can make in your career.

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