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Health Care Schools & Colleges

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Summary

Students who attend health care schools get to prepare for a meaningful, fast-growing industry that tends to have millions of job openings each year. The number of potential careers and training paths is extensive, making it possible to enter a good-paying field in relatively little time or complete longer programs for even higher-paying opportunities.

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Career Snapshot

Career Outlook*
16% growth from 2018-2028

Median Salary*
(Average Median)

Job Openings*
Average Yearly Openings

Length of Training
Most Common Length

Work Settings

  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • U.S. Department of Education

Medical and Health Care Programs


Lincoln Tech

  • New Britain
  • Shelton
  • Marietta
  • Melrose Park
  • Somerville
  • Edison (Iselin)
  • Moorestown
  • Paramus
  • Allentown
  • Lincoln
  • Dental Assistant
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Assistant Technology
  • Medical Coding and Billing
  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Nursing (Practical)
  • Patient Care Technician

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Southern California Health Institute

  • Los Angeles, California
  • North Hollywood, California
  • San Fernando Valley, California
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Personal Fitness Trainer
  • Physical Therapy Aide/Sports Rehab

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Central Christian College of Kansas


Not available to residents of some states
  • Online
  • Health and Human Services
    • Community and Family Services
    • Correctional/Justice
    • Health Services
    • Psychology/Coaching
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Healthcare Management
  • Psychology

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UEI College

  • Phoenix
  • Bakersfield
  • Chula Vista
  • Encino
  • Fresno
  • Garden Grove
  • Gardena
  • Huntington Park
  • Oceanside
  • Ontario
  • Riverside
  • Sacramento
  • Stockton
  • West Covina
  • Morrow
  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing and Insurance Coding
  • Medical Office Specialist
  • Pharmacy Technician

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Keiser University

  • Clearwater
  • Daytona Beach
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Fort Myers
  • Jacksonville
  • Lakeland
  • Melbourne
  • Miami
  • Naples
  • New Port Richey
  • Orlando
  • Pembroke Pines
  • Port St. Lucie
  • Sarasota
  • Tallahassee
  • Tampa
  • West Palm Beach
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Biomedical Sciences - Pre-Physician Assistant
  • Biotechnology
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Exercise Science
  • Health Information Management
  • Health Science
  • Health Services Administration
  • Histotechnology
  • Imaging Sciences
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Administrative Billing and Coding
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Assisting Science
  • Medical Laboratory Science
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology
  • Nursing
  • Nursing BSN (RN to BSN)
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Psychology
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Radiologic Technology
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Sports Medicine & Fitness Technology
  • Surgical Technology

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Southeastern Institute

  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Electronic Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
  • Medical Assisting
  • Pharmacy Technology
  • Professional Clinical Massage Therapy
  • Radiologic Technology
  • Surgical Technology

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YTI Career Institute

  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • York, Pennsylvania
  • Dental Assisting
  • Expanded Functions Dental Assisting
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing & Coding
  • Veterinary Technician

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Carrington College

  • Glendale
  • Mesa
  • Phoenix
  • Tucson
  • Citrus Heights
  • Ontario
  • Pleasant Hill
  • Sacramento
  • San Jose
  • San Leandro
  • Stockton
  • Boise
  • Las Vegas
  • Reno
  • Albuquerque
  • Portland
  • Spokane
  • Dental Assisting
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Pharmacy Technology
  • Physical Therapy Technology
  • Surgical Technology
  • Veterinary Assisting
  • Veterinary Technology

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Porter and Chester Institute

  • Enfield
  • Hamden
  • New London
  • Rocky Hill
  • Stratford
  • Waterbury
  • Canton
  • Chicopee
  • Worcester
  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Assisting
  • Practical Nursing

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Florida Career College

  • Boynton Beach
  • Hialeah
  • Jacksonville
  • Lauderdale Lakes
  • Margate
  • Miami
  • Orlando
  • Pembroke Pines
  • Tampa
  • West Palm Beach
  • Houston
  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assistant Technician
  • Medical Front Office and Billing
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician

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South Texas Vocational Technical Institute

  • Brownsville, Texas
  • Corpus Christi, Texas
  • McAllen, Texas
  • Weslaco, Texas
  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Administrative Assisting Technology
  • Medical Assisting

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Florida National University

  • Hialeah, Florida
  • Miami, Florida
  • Online in Florida
  • Dental Assistant
  • Dental Laboratory Technician
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Assistant Technology
  • Medical Coding and Billing Specialist
  • Nursing
  • Patient Care Technician

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Northeast Technical Institute

  • Auburn, Maine
  • Bangor, Maine
  • Scarborough, Maine
  • Clinical Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing & Coding
  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Phlebotomy/EKG Technician

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South Hills School of Business & Technology

  • Altoona, Pennsylvania
  • State College, Pennsylvania
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Health Information Technology
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Coding & Billing

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Fremont College

  • Cerritos, California
  • Massage Therapy
  • Sports and Rehabilitation Therapy

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Delta Technical College

  • Horn Lake, Mississippi
  • Ridgeland, Mississippi
  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Assisting

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Midwest Technical Institute

  • East Peoria, Illinois
  • Moline, Illinois
  • Springfield, Illinois
  • Springfield, Missouri
  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Assisting

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Unitek College

  • Bakersfield
  • Concord
  • Fremont
  • Hayward
  • Sacramento
  • San Jose
  • South San Francisco
  • Reno
  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Office Administration
  • Nursing
  • Practical Nursing
  • Vocational Nursing

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Eastern International College

  • Belleville, New Jersey
  • Jersey City, New Jersey
  • Cardiovascular Technology
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Nursing

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San Joaquin Valley College

  • Atascadero
  • Bakersfield
  • Delano
  • Fresno
  • Hanford
  • Hesperia
  • Lancaster
  • Madera
  • Modesto
  • Ontario
  • Porterville
  • Rancho Cordova
  • Rancho Mirage
  • Santa Maria
  • Temecula
  • Visalia
  • Dental Assistant
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Office Administration
  • Pharmacy Technology
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Surgical Technology
  • Veterinary Assisting

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Fortis College

  • Dothan
  • Foley
  • Mobile
  • Montgomery
  • Cutler Bay
  • Orange Park
  • Atlanta
  • Indianapolis
  • Baton Rouge
  • Landover
  • Centerville
  • Cincinnati
  • Columbus
  • Cuyahoga Falls
  • Columbia
  • Houston South
  • Salt Lake City
  • Norfolk
  • Richmond
  • Dental Assisting
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Expanded Function Dental Assistant
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Assisting with Basic X-Ray Operation
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Practical Nursing
  • Sterile Processing Technician
  • Surgical Technology

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Fortis Institute

  • Birmingham
  • Pensacola
  • Port St. Lucie
  • Towson
  • Lawrenceville
  • Wayne
  • Forty Fort
  • Scranton
  • Cookeville
  • Nashville
  • Houston North
  • Cardiovascular Technology
  • Dental Assisting
  • Dental Hygiene
  • ECG/Phlebotomy/Lab Assistant
  • Expanded Function Dental Assistant
  • Lab Technician
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Assistant Technician
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Assisting with Basic X-Ray Operation
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Medical Office Administration
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Practical Nursing
  • Sterile Processing Technician
  • Surgical Technology

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Independence University

  • Online
  • Health Services Management
  • Medical Assisting
  • Nursing (RN completion to BS)

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Berkeley College

  • Newark
  • Paramus
  • Woodbridge
  • Woodland Park
  • White Plains
  • Health Sciences
  • Health Services Administration
  • Health Services Administration - Medical Insurance, Billing, and Coding
  • Health Services Management
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Insurance, Billing, and Coding
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Practical Nurse
  • Surgical Processing Technician
  • Surgical Technology

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Saint Leo University

  • Online
  • Health Care Administration
  • Psychology:
    • Clinical/Counseling
    • Developmental
    • Experimental
    • General Studies
  • Sociology - Applied & Clinical

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American Institute

  • West Hartford, Connecticut
  • Clifton, New Jersey
  • Somerset, New Jersey
  • Toms River, New Jersey
  • Dental Assisting
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Coding and Billing

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National American University


Not available to residents of some states
  • Online
  • Health Information Technology
  • Healthcare Coding
  • Healthcare Management
  • Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Medical Office Management - Clinical Specialist
  • Medical Staff Services Management

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Hunter Business School

  • Levittown, New York
  • Medford, New York
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing Specialist
  • Medical Office Administration

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Rasmussen College

  • Not available to residents of some states
  • Aurora/Naperville
  • Mokena/Tinley Park
  • Rockford
  • Romeoville/Joliet
  • Kansas City/Overland Park
  • Topeka
  • Lake Elmo/Woodbury
  • Green Bay
  • Health Information Management
  • Health Sciences
  • Health and Wellness
  • Healthcare
  • Healthcare Management
  • Medical Laboratory Technician

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McCann School of Business & Technology

  • Monroe, Louisiana
  • Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Medical Clinical Assistant
  • Surgical Technology

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Sullivan University

  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Limited Medical Radiography
  • Medical Assisting
  • Nursing
  • Practical Nursing
  • Surgical Technology

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Grantham University

  • Online
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Health Information Management
  • Information Systems - Health Informatics
  • RN to BSN Degree Completion

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Platt College

  • Distance Education (Online)
  • Anaheim, California
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Ontario, California
  • Riverside, California
  • Certified Nurse Assistant
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound)
  • Health Care Management
  • Health & Fitness Trainer
  • Hemodialysis Technician
  • Medical Administrative Specialist
  • Medical Assisting
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Veterinary Technology

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Laurus College

  • Atascadero, California
  • Oxnard, California
  • San Luis Obispo, California
  • Santa Maria, California
  • Online
  • Medical Billing & Coding

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Colorado Christian University

  • Online
  • Applied Psychology - Emphasis in
    • Biblical Studies
    • Clinical Counseling
    • Criminal Justice
  • Health Care Administration
  • Nursing - RN-BSN
  • Psychology

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Florida Tech

  • Online
  • Applied Psychology
  • Applied Psychology/Child Advocacy
  • Applied Psychology/Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology/Forensic Psychology
  • Healthcare Management
  • Psychology/Organizational Psychology

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Baker College

  • Allen Park
  • Auburn Hills
  • Cadillac
  • Clinton Township
  • Flint
  • Jackson
  • Muskegon
  • Owosso
  • Online
  • Cardiac Sonography
  • Dental Assistant
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Abdomen/OB-GYN)
  • Health Information Technology
  • Health Science Technology
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Human Resource Management
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Nursing (Post-licensure)
  • Nursing (Pre-licensure)
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Pre-Occupational Therapy
  • Psychology
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Radiologic Technology
  • Surgical Technology
  • Veterinary Technology

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Blake Austin College

  • Vacaville, California
  • Administrative Medical Assisting
  • Clinical Medical Assisting w/Phlebotomy
  • Dental Assisting
  • Dental Assisting - Continuing Education
  • Nursing - Continuing Education
  • Vocational Nursing

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Ross College

  • Quad Cities
  • Hopkinsville
  • Grand Rapids
  • Jackson
  • Canton
  • Sylvania
  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Insurance Billing and Office Administration
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Practical Nursing
  • Veterinary Assistant
  • Veterinary Technology

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Southern Technical College

  • Auburndale
  • Brandon
  • Ft. Myers
  • Orlando
  • Port Charlotte
  • Sanford
  • Tampa
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Nursing
  • Surgical Technician
  • Veterinary Assisting

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Brookline College

  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Tempe, Arizona
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Dental Assistant
  • Health Care Administration
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Insurance Billing & Coding
  • Medical Office Administration
  • Nursing
  • Nursing Assistant
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Phlebotomy Technician
  • Sterile Processing
  • Surgical Technology

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Coyne College

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing & Coding Specialist
  • Pharmacy Technician

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Miller-Motte College

  • Augusta
  • Columbus
  • Macon
  • Fayetteville
  • Jacksonville
  • Raleigh
  • Wilmington
  • Charleston
  • Conway
  • Chattanooga
  • Dental Assisting
  • Healthcare Information Technology
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Medical Clinical Assistant
  • Surgical Technology
  • Veterinary Technology

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The College of Health Care Professions

  • Dallas, Texas
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Houston, Texas
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Dental Assistant
  • Limited Medical Radiologic Technologist
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Coding and Billing
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Physical Therapy Technician

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Lansdale School of Business

  • North Wales, Pennsylvania
  • Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Administrative Specialist
  • Medical Assistant

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ECPI University

  • Orlando (Lake Mary)
  • Charlotte
  • Greensboro
  • Raleigh
  • Charleston
  • Columbia
  • Greenville
  • San Antonio
  • Manassas (Northern VA)
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Richmond
  • Roanoke
  • Virginia Beach
  • Online
  • Culinary Arts and Applied Nutrition
  • Dental Assisting
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Assisting
  • Nursing - Accelerated Bachelor of Science (ABSN)
  • Nursing - Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Practical Nursing
  • Surgical Technology

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InterCoast

  • Fairfield, California
  • Rancho Cordova, California
  • Riverside, California
  • Santa Ana, California
  • Online (California Residents Only)
  • Alcohol & Drug Counseling Studies
  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assisting
  • Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Substance Use Disorder Counseling

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Dorsey Schools

  • Dearborn
  • Madison Heights
  • Roseville
  • Saginaw
  • Wayne
  • Woodhaven
  • Dental Assistant
  • Dialysis Patient Care Technician
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Administration & Billing
  • Medical Assistant
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician

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Southern Careers Institute

  • Austin
  • Brownsville
  • Corpus Christi
  • Harlingen
  • Pharr
  • San Antonio
  • Waco
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
  • Medical Office Specialist
  • Pharmacy Technician

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Grand Canyon University

  • Online
  • Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in
    • Childhood and Adolescence Disorders
    • Family Dynamics
    • Infancy and Early Childhood Studies
    • Substance Use Disorders
    • Trauma
  • Health Care Administration
  • Health Information Management
  • Health Sciences
  • Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to B.S.N)
  • Public Health

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Remington College

  • Mobile
  • Baton Rouge
  • Lafayette
  • Shreveport
  • Cleveland
  • Memphis
  • Nashville
  • Dallas (Garland)
  • Fort Worth
  • North Houston (Greenspoint)
  • North Houston Satellite (Webster)
  • *Not available to residents of some states
  • Dental Assisting
  • Health Information Management
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Assisting with X-Ray Tech (Limited Scope)
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Medical Office Administration
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Physical Therapist Assistant

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Eastwick College

  • Hackensack, New Jersey
  • Nutley, New Jersey
  • Ramsey, New Jersey
  • Diagnostic Cardiovascular Sonography
  • Health Information Technology
  • Health Science
  • Licensed Practical Nursing
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • OB/GYN - Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Registered Nursing
  • Surgical Technology
  • Ultrasound Technology

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Penn Foster Career School

  • Online & Distance Education
  • Certified Personal Trainer
  • High School Diploma with Healthcare Pathway
  • High School Diploma with Pharmacy Technician Pathway
  • Occupational Therapy Aide
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Physical Therapy Aide

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Penn Foster College

  • Online & Distance Learning
  • Dental Assistant
  • Home Health Aide
  • Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Medical Transcriptionist
  • Optician
  • Pharmacy Technician Professional
  • Veterinary Assistant

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Ashworth College

  • Online
  • Advanced Medical Coding
  • Dental Office Assistant
  • Electronic Health Records Management
  • Electronic Medical Records
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Healthcare Management
  • HIPAA Compliance
  • Home Health Aide
  • Medical Billing
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Medical Office Assistant: Admin Procedures
  • Medical Office Receptionist
  • Medical Terminology
  • Medical Transcription Fundamentals
  • Nutrition, Diet and Health Science
  • Occupational Therapy Aide
  • Personal Trainer
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Physical Therapy Aide
  • Psychology
  • Psychology Introduction
  • Social Services Assistant: Substance Abuse
  • Sterile Compounding
  • Sterile Processing
  • Veterinary Assisting
  • Veterinary Technician

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Altierus Career College

  • Tampa, Florida
  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Surgical Technology

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Florida Technical College

  • Cutler Bay
  • DeLand
  • Kissimmee
  • Lakeland
  • Orlando
  • Pembroke Pines
  • Allied Health Management
  • Medical Assistant Technician
  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist

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Career Information

This wide-ranging occupational sector includes all kinds of reliable opportunities that medical trade schools, colleges, and universities help people pursue. These careers often come with good pay, excellent job security, meaningful responsibilities, and other significant rewards.

Earnings

The average median salary for Americans with health care careers is $58,555. That's based on an average of the median annual wages for the following categories from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Median Annual Wage Comparison
Hands-On Patient Care

  • Diagnostic medical sonographers
    $74K
  • Registered nurses
    $73K
  • Occupational therapy assistants
    $62K
  • Radiologic techs
    $61K
  • Physical therapist assistants
    $59K
  • Surgical technologists
    $48K
  • LPNs and LVNs
    $47K
  • Massage therapists
    $43K
  • Dental assistants
    $40K
  • Veterinary techs
    $35K
  • Medical assistants
    $35K

Median Annual Wage Comparison
Office and Indirect Patient Services

  • Health care managers
    $101K
  • Medical laboratory techs
    $53K
  • Medical coders
    $43K
  • Medical administrative assistants
    $37K
  • Pharmacy technicians
    $34K

Job Openings & Outlook

Occupational employment projections from the BLS show that health care jobs are expected to grow in number by about 16 percent, on average, from 2018 to 2028. That average is based on the projected employment growth for:

  • Health care practitioners and technical occupations
  • Health care support occupations
  • Medical and health services managers
  • Medical secretaries and administrative assistants

The projections also show that, in total, an average of almost 1.4 million job openings may be available each year across those occupational categories. That total includes:

  • New positions: 203,580
  • Openings caused by workers retiring: 530,200
  • Positions created by people changing occupations: 654,600

Key Benefits

  1. Enhanced employment stability: Health, medical, and dental services are always essential. And the demand for workers in these fields is likely to keep rising in nearly every region as the population grows and ages.
  2. Great advancement potential: Regardless of how you enter the health care industry, numerous pathways exist for moving up. In some cases, just a few years of experience or a short amount of additional training can help you advance to a higher-paying position or one that aligns better with your interests or personality. Plus, many of your skills may also be transferable to other vocations within the industry.
  3. A real sense of purpose: You probably can't find a more meaningful career sector than this one. Helping people, including during their most vulnerable moments, can generate a deep feeling of connection and personal fulfillment.

What a Health Care Professional Does

 Since health care is a highly diverse industry, day-to-day job duties can vary substantially from one position to another. The following list is not comprehensive, but depending on the particular occupation, a worker in this sector may do things like:

  • Record patients' medical histories
  • Prepare patients and work areas for:
    • Physical exams
    • Treatments
    • Diagnostic testing procedures
    • Surgeries
  • Evaluate, observe, and monitor patients' health conditions
  • Maintain patients' medical or dental records
  • Carry out or assist with examinations, treatments, or other clinical procedures
  • Develop care and treatment plans
  • Clean, sterilize, prepare, maintain, operate, or monitor medical or dental equipment
  • Transport patients safely from one location to another
  • Create diagnostic images
  • Collect and prepare fluid or tissue samples for laboratory testing
  • Run laboratory tests
  • Prepare, dispense, or administer prescription medications
  • Educate patients about preventive or post-treatment care
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Prepare medical documents
  • Coordinate and supervise other staff
  • Process payments

Work Settings

Collectively, health care workers perform their duties in a huge range of environments. Depending on their individual positions, examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient care clinics
  • Physicians' offices
  • Offices of other health practitioners
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Dental clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Surgical centers
  • Laboratories
  • Diagnostic imaging centers
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Ambulances
  • Emergency scenes
  • Community centers
  • Sports facilities
  • Schools
  • Homes
  • Spas

Careers

 Health care offers an enormous variety of potential occupations. Physicians, surgeons, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists, physical therapists, and other licensed practitioners may immediately come to mind. And you shouldn't overlook mental health professionals such as counselors and psychologists.

But the industry also needs nurses, technicians, technologists, administrative specialists, and other support personnel that often require less training. Here are several examples:

Anesthesia technician: Provide supervised assistance with the care of surgical patients, which may include preparing, maintaining, and using equipment related to safely administering drugs or gases that make patients insensitive to pain.

Athletic trainer: Help athletes prevent or recover from sports-related injuries. Also, assist with the evaluation and diagnosis of injuries when they occur.

Cardiovascular technologist: Use special equipment, such as EKG machines, to test or monitor the health and performance of patients' hearts and/or lungs. Some cardiovascular techs specialize in providing assistance during certain types of heart surgeries.

Dental assistant: Prepare dental instruments and work areas, make dental patients feel comfortable, provide chair-side assistance to dentists during treatments, and carry out a variety of administrative tasks. Some dental assistants are also licensed for taking x-rays.

Dental hygienist: Play a direct role in helping patients maintain good oral health by using special tools and materials to examine, clean, polish, and seal their teeth. Hygienists also teach patients how to properly care for their gums and prevent diseases like gingivitis.

Diagnostic medical sonographer: Use ultrasound technology to capture images of patients' internal tissues and organs that help physicians identify and track medical conditions.

Dialysis technician: Help care for medical patients who have serious kidney disorders by preparing them for treatments and operating and monitoring the machines that purify their blood.

Dietitian or nutritionist: Provide expert guidance about what individual patients or clients should eat in order to stay well, improve their health, or manage their illnesses.

Health services manager or administrator: Work to maintain or improve the quality and efficiency of care that an establishment provides by overseeing and coordinating its staff, daily activities, and compliance with relevant laws.

Licensed practical or vocational nurse (LPN or LVN): Carry out a large variety of basic nursing activities as directed by supervising physicians and registered nurses (RNs).

Massage therapist: Use the power of touch to help people relax, recover from injuries, manage pain, or improve their overall well-being.

Medical administrative assistant: Perform a wide range of office tasks in a health care setting, such as handling phone calls, arranging appointments, creating documents, managing records, processing payments, and more.

Medical assistant: Carry out a combination of basic clinical duties and important administrative tasks, such as taking patient histories, scheduling appointments, checking vital signs, assisting with physical exams, maintaining patient records, and a lot more.

Medical billing and coding specialist: Ensure that patients' conditions and treatments are accurately coded in records and billing documentation so that their future care is based on correct information and their health care providers get properly reimbursed.

Medical laboratory tech: Use various equipment to carry out lab tests on blood, urine, or other biological samples in order to provide physicians and other practitioners with information that aids with evaluating, diagnosing, and monitoring patients' medical conditions.

Medical transcriptionist: Create accurate medical reports by converting practitioners' voice recordings into written form or editing documents that were generated with speech-to-text software.

Occupational therapy assistant (OTA): Contribute to the improvement of injured or disabled people's lives by helping them gain or regain basic abilities for everyday working or living, including skills for using any necessary assistive equipment.

Optician: Ensure that people get correctly fitted prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses that align with their needs or preferences for comfort, style, convenience, and other factors.

Paramedic or emergency medical technician (EMT): React quickly to 911 calls, provide first aid to people suffering from injuries or other emergency medical conditions, and transport patients to the hospital if necessary.

Patient care technician (PCT): Provide assistance to nurses, perform EKGs, collect blood samples, or help care for disabled or chronically ill people in their homes.

Pharmacy technician: Work under the supervision of pharmacists to help prepare prescription medications for distribution based on physician-requested dosages.

Phlebotomist: Draw blood from people's veins and ensure that it is correctly labeled for diagnostic laboratory testing, donation, transfusion, or similar purposes.

Physical therapist assistant (PTA): Work directly with patients to help them overcome or manage pain, injuries, or loss of movement or mobility by following physical therapists' treatment plans.

Radiologic technologist: Take x-rays or use other equipment such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines to generate images used by health care practitioners for diagnosing and monitoring patients' injuries or diseases.

Registered nurse (RN): Care for patients by evaluating their conditions, educating them about their care, coordinating with other health professionals, carrying out treatments, and much more.

Respiratory therapist: Assess the lung capacity of patients who have diseases that cause breathing problems and help treat those conditions through the use of special equipment, medications, or chest physical therapy.

Sterile processing technician: Decontaminate, organize, sterilize, maintain, and distribute medical equipment, including surgical instruments, within a hospital or outpatient surgical center.

Surgical technologist: Play a vital role in preparing patients, operating rooms, and equipment for surgery as well as assisting surgeons during operations and ensuring that sterility is maintained throughout the process.

Veterinary tech: Carry out several nursing-type duties in an animal care setting, such as assisting with exams and surgeries, performing diagnostic tests, monitoring animals' conditions, and doing a variety of other clinical tasks under the general supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

Career FAQs

What are the highest-paying careers in the health care industry?

Average salary estimates from the BLS show that, among people who work in the health care and social assistance sector, the following professionals earn the most:

  • Anesthesiologists: $263,090
  • Surgeons (except eye, oral, and face surgeons): $254,420
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeons: $244,700
  • Obstetricians and gynecologists: $234,470
  • Orthodontists: $232,390

Which health care vocations are most in demand?

According to BLS employment projections for the decade between 2018 and 2028, the health-related occupations that are expected to grow at the fastest rates include:

  • Home health aides: 36.6 percent
  • Personal care aides: 36.4 percent
  • Occupational therapy assistants: 33.1 percent
  • Physician assistants: 31.1 percent
  • Nurse practitioners: 28.2 percent

The same projections indicate that the following health-related vocations could have the highest numbers of average yearly job openings:

  • Personal care aides: 486,900
  • Registered nurses: 210,400
  • Nursing assistants: 190,700
  • Home health aides: 140,800
  • Medical assistants: 99,700


Education & Training

The options for college-level health care training are just as extensive and diverse as the vocations you can pursue within the industry. Whether you want the opportunity to enter a field quickly or have the ambition to conquer higher barriers to entry, you likely have several educational paths to choose from.

Length of Training

Because of the incredible variety of health care occupations, the amount of time you'll spend in school depends a lot on your chosen path. Overall, post-secondary education for this sector can take anywhere from about three to 96 months to complete.**

The higher end of that wide spectrum is due to the fact that physicians and other health care practitioners generally must complete about eight years of schooling at the college level. For most other types of professionals, the minimum training is usually much shorter: only up to one, two, or four years.**

Most Common Length of School**
Hands-On Patient Care
(range in months)

  • Dental assisting
    7-12
  • Practical/vocational nursing
    9-18
  • Medical assisting
    4-20
  • Massage therapy
    8-24
  • Surgical technology
    12-24
  • Radiologic technology
    14-24
  • Physical therapy assisting
    18-24
  • Veterinary technology
    18-48
  • Medical sonography
    18-48
  • Registered nursing
    24-48

Most Common Length of School**
Office and Indirect Patient Services
(range in months)

  • Medical office administration
    3-24
  • Medical billing and coding
    7-24
  • Pharmacy technology
    9-24
  • Medical laboratory technology
    9-48
  • Health care management
    48-84

Program Options

You can pursue a health care education at one or more of the following program levels. Undergraduate programs are mostly for people who want to pursue careers as technicians, technologists, nurses, administrative specialists, or professionals in other support roles. People who want to become doctors or other types of practitioners must earn a bachelor's degree and then complete additional graduate-level studies.

Certificate or diploma: At this level, many programs take less than a year, but some take up to 18 months.** The courses tend to be very streamlined and career-focused, allowing you to learn the core skills that are necessary for entering a particular field.

Associate degree: This type of program is often designed to last up to two years.** Students take a mix of career-specific courses and general education classes, but the core focus is on the occupation you want to enter.

Bachelor's degree: With four years to dedicate to your studies, you can complete this level of education.** Your courses will be a lot more varied, including a broader combination of general courses as well as basic, intermediate, and advanced career-related classes.

Master's degree: After completing a bachelor's degree, an additional two to three years of study can result in this type of credential. It's typically the minimum degree level for professionals such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, occupational therapists, and genetic counselors.**

Doctoral or professional degree: Getting into this type of program requires having at least a bachelor's degree. Most health care programs at this level take an additional four years to complete. They help people become physicians, audiologists, pharmacists, veterinarians, physical therapists, optometrists, chiropractors, or other kinds of practitioners.**

Typical Courses

Your curriculum will depend heavily on the particular career and program you've chosen to pursue. This is not a full list, but health care students often take classes involving subjects like:

  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Occupation-specific:
    • Theories
    • Procedures
    • Techniques
    • Equipment
    • Technology
    • Materials
  • Pathology
  • Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Ethics
  • Psychology
  • Nutrition
  • Preventive care
  • Patient assessment
  • First aid
  • Pain management
  • Therapeutic interventions
  • Health care laws and regulations
  • Patient privacy
  • Medical coding systems
  • Health records management

Many students, particularly those who pursue degrees, also have various courses related to areas such as:

  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • English and communication
  • Business subjects like:
    • Accounting and finance
    • Office administration
    • Human resources
  • Professional development

In addition, a lot of health care programs include supervised real-world practicums, especially when the training is for careers that involve patient interaction or hands-on clinical work.

Skills You Can Learn

 Your particular program and chosen occupation will dictate the types of new abilities you can develop. But here's a small sampling of the varied kinds of skills that people often learn:

  • Communicating with patients and colleagues
  • Assessing patient injuries and illnesses
  • Creating plans for patient care and treatment
  • Taking vital signs
  • Using basic medical supplies, tools, and equipment
  • Sterilizing medical or dental tools and instruments
  • Collecting samples for laboratory testing
  • Performing various occupation-specific clinical or administrative procedures
  • Using personal protective equipment correctly
  • Operating special or advanced medical devices such as:
    • X-ray machines
    • Ultrasound systems
    • EKG machines
    • Cell counters
    • Biological material analyzers
    • Dialysis machines
    • Ventilators
  • Using medical office software
  • Maintaining medical records
  • Preparing medical reports
  • Complying with applicable laws, regulations, and policies

Licensing & Certification

Most health care professionals who are involved in patient care, diagnostic testing, or laboratory work must be licensed at the state level. For other occupations, such as those that primarily involve administrative tasks, licensing generally isn't required unless you are managing a long-term care facility. But even if a state license is not required for a particular occupation or work setting, many employers prefer or mandate that potential hires have specific certifications from independent organizations such as professional associations.

Licensing

Every state government has its own set of laws for occupational licensure. Those laws often vary significantly from one state to another. So it's wise to find out what your state requires before pursuing training for a particular health care career.

In order to apply for a state license, you may need to fulfill requirements like:

  • Completing a state-approved program of study
  • Accumulating a certain amount of hands-on work experience in your chosen field
  • Passing one or more exams
  • Clearing a background check

In some cases, earning professional certification through a third-party organization is also required.

The easiest way to learn about the requirements in your state, for your chosen occupation, is to use the license finder from CareerOneStop.

Certification

Unless required for state licensure or by an employer, professional certification is typically voluntary. However, being certified in your field can give you more credibility since it's a signal that you possess the necessary expertise.

As with licensing, you may need to fulfill certain educational, experience, and testing standards in order to qualify for certification. In many occupations, you can become certified at basic or advanced levels and even pursue specialty certifications.

Hundreds of different certifying organizations exist in the health care sector, so they are too numerous to list. But CareerOneStop's certification finder makes it simple to explore options for the field you want to enter.

Education & Training FAQs

Are there any online or distance learning health care programs?

Many schools offer courses of study that you can complete fully or partially from home. You're more likely to find online programs for non-clinical areas of health care than for those that require clinical work. However, some schools offer hybrid programs, meaning that you can complete many of your courses at home and fulfill in-person learning requirements on campus or through an internship or clinical rotation.

Examples of programs that are often available online or through distance education include:

  • Health care management and administration
  • Medical coding and billing
  • Health information management
  • Medical assisting
  • Dental office assisting
  • Medical transcription
  • Veterinary assisting
  • Nursing (RN to BSN)

Some of the benefits of training for a health care vocation online include:

  • Better accessibility: You may get the chance to arrange your own schedule, set up your own learning environment, and complete courses at your own comfortable pace. That way, you don't have to put aside your career aspirations. You can effectively pursue your goals while looking after existing commitments like a family or full-time job. After all, showing up to a physical classroom at a specific time is simply unrealistic for a lot of people.
  • The power of choice: Online health care schools offer a large and growing variety of career-focused programs. As a result, you might have a lot more options to choose from than if you were restricted to on-campus programs only. So although a campus-based program may not be available where you live for the career you'd like to pursue, you still stand a good chance of finding training online.
  • The potential for greater stability: Online health care training offers a convenient way to prepare for an occupational sector that has a terrific job outlook. Industry data from the BLS indicates that health care and social assistance is expected to be the fastest-growing sector between 2018 and 2028.

Do I need good grades to get into a health care program?

It certainly helps. In general, the higher the level of education you wish to pursue, the higher your grades may need to be. And if you want to go to school for a career like registered nursing, then good grades might be essential for competing against other applicants for admission. At public colleges and universities, the minimum high school grade point average for admission is often 2.0, with many programs requiring 3.0 or higher.**

However, several private career colleges offer health care programs with less competitive admissions. And they often provide the chance for quicker enrollment, without wait lists.

Regardless, you may improve your chances of admission to the college and program of your choice by earning good high school grades in subjects like math, English, social studies, and various sciences.


* The average median salary is based on an average of the median yearly earnings for health care practitioners and technical occupations, health care support occupations, medical and health services managers, and medical secretaries and administrative assistants. Employment growth and job opening numbers are calculated from BLS projections for the same occupational groups.

** Length of training and grade point average information is based on a combination of information from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Department of Education, and a wide sampling of relevant program lengths from about 50 individual school websites. They are a mix of public, private non-profit, and private for-profit institutions.