Have a passion for medicine, but not for school? You can have the medical career you’ve always wanted without committing to eight or more years of college.

The health care industry is one of the fastest growing fields in the United States. With the next president promising to revamp our healthcare system, job prospects for people interested in medicine are only getting better and better. Here are seven different career possibilities in the medical field that you can do with an associate’s degree or certificate from an accredited career school.

X-ray Technician

X-ray technicians take x-rays of patients for doctors. They are responsible for positioning the patient, developing the film, maintaining equipment, and being knowledgeable about safe levels of radiation exposure. X-ray technicians can expect to make an average of $24.59 per hour, making this one of the most lucrative medical careers you can have without a doctorate. While most x-ray technicians hold associate’s degrees, certificate and bachelor’s degree programs in radiography are also available. View a complete list of X-Ray Technology Schools

Dental Assistant

This is one of the hottest jobs around, with an expected growth rate of twenty-nine percent through 2016. Dental assistants work closely with dentists setting up equipment, taking patient x-rays, performing routine cleanings, and assisting with more complicated procedures. Dental assistants make an average of $15.52 per hour, and most dental assistant programs take a year or less to complete. View a complete list of Dental Assistant Schools

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies under the supervision of a pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians handle medication, often counting out pills, measuring dosages, and labeling prescription bottles. They also interact with customers by taking prescriptions and ringing them up. About the only thing a pharmacy technician can’t do is give medical advice.

Employment in this field is expected to rise a whopping thirty-two percent through 2016, and pharmacy technicians make an average of $13.25 per hour. To get adequate training, pharmacy technicians usually complete either a certificate or associate’s degree program. View a complete list of Pharmacy Technician Schools

Physical Therapist Assistant

To become a licensed physical therapist, you need a master’s degree or a doctorate. To assist a physical therapist in her work, you only need an associate’s degree. A physical therapist assistant helps patients recover from injuries, surgery, or medical conditions through various techniques. A physical therapist assistant should be well-versed in exercise and massage, as well as pain relief techniques. Physical therapist assistants earn an average of $21.32 per hour. View a complete list of Physical Therapy Schools

Surgical Technician

Surgical technicians work in operating rooms and are supervised by surgeons, doctors, and anesthesiologists. They prepare operating rooms and equipment for surgery by sterilizing the environment and preparing surgical tools. They also work with patients by washing and shaving areas that will be operated upon. During surgery, a technician will hand instruments to the surgeon and monitor the patients’ vital signs. Most employers prefer to hire surgical technicians who have received a certificate or associate’s degree in surgical technology. On average, surgical technicians earn $18.66 per hour. View a complete list of Surgical Technology Schools

Medical Assistant

With a projected 35% growth rate through 2016, this will be one of the most in-demand jobs of the next decade. Medical assistants work in doctors’ offices and perform administrative functions such as appointment scheduling and record keeping. Depending on state laws, some medical assistants work directly with patients by taking vital signs, explaining treatments, and preparing patients for their exams. On average, medical assistants earn $13.59 per hour and should have either a certificate or an associate’s degree. View a complete list of Medical Assistant Schools


While many nurses eventually move on to receive bachelor’s degrees, you can become a registered nurse through a diploma or an associate’s degree program. Right now there are about two and a half million nurses in the United States and counting, with an expected twenty-three percent growth rate through 2016. Nurses are also extremely well-paid, making an average of $30.04 per hour. Patients often spend more time with nurses than with doctors at hospitals and private offices, because nurses are often the people who record patient histories, perform tests, and administer treatment. View a complete list of Nursing Schools

If you have a strong desire to work directly with patients, a career as a nurse might be the best road to take. Many nurses eventually specialize, choosing nursing careers in everything from oncology to geriatrics.

Choosing a School

Now that you know it’s possible to be a medical professional with two years or less of college, what are you waiting for? Use the search feature at JustColleges to find dozens of accredited career schools that offer the programs you’re looking for. A career school education will give you the hands-on training you need to succeed in the medical field and experience to put on your resume before you even graduate.