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16 Well Paying Medical Careers You Can Start In Under 2 Years

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated February 8th, 2024

These quick medical certification careers can offer great wages, opportunities, and have a low barrier to entry. It can take anywhere from 2-24 months to start any one of these medical certification careers.

In this article we will share medical trade programs that are currently in-demand. You can find some basic information, including salaries, to decide if one is right for you.

Medical Trade Jobs To Consider

CareerMedian Annual Wage10 Year Job Outlook
Hemodialysis Technician$57,3807% growth
Medical Assistant$37,19016% growth
Phlebotomist$37,38022% growth
MRI Technologists$80,0906% growth
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)$30,3105% growth
Nuclear Medicine Technologist$78,7607% growth
EMT/Paramedic$35,4707% growth
Surgical Technologist$48,3206% growth
Radiologic Technologist$77,3606% growth
Dental Hygienist$77,8109% growth
Respiratory Therapist$70,54014% growth
Medical Records Technician$46,6607% growth
Pharmacy Technician$36,7405% growth
Occupational Therapy Assistant$61,73025% growth
Physical Therapy Assistant$61,18026% growth
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer$60,57010% growth
all data from Bureau of Labor Statistics


You can get more details one each healthcare job below.

Hemodialysis Technician

A hemodialysis technician works with dialysis patients. Setting up dialysis machines and monitoring patients are just part of the responsibilities.

Training can take a few months to a few years depending on the level certification you want to get. Median annual salary for this job is $57,380.

Typical certification options include:

  • Certified Hemodialysis Technologist/Technician (CHT)
  • Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT)
  • Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician – Advanced (CCHT-A)

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks in various healthcare settings. This might include clinics, hospitals, and physicians’ offices.

The median annual salary for a certified medical assistant is $37,190.

Certification options include:

  • American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
  • National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)

Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists are responsible for drawing blood from patients. The blood is then used for medical testing, donations, or transfusions.

The median annual salary for a certified phlebotomist is $37,380. You can learn more about phlebotomist salaries here.

Certification options include:

  • National Phlebotomy Association (NPA)
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

CNAs provide care to patients in nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare settings. They are responsible for assisting with activities of daily living and other tasks.

The median annual salary for a certified nursing assistant is $30,310.

Certification options include:

  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
  • American Red Cross

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Preparing radioactive drugs to administer to patients for imaging procedures is the primary focus of this job.

The median annual salary for a certified home health aide is $78,760.

Certification options include:

  • American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB)

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic

EMTs and paramedics provide pre-hospital emergency medical care and transportation.

The median annual salary for an EMT or paramedic is $35,470.

Certification options include:

  • National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT)
  • State EMS offices (requirements vary by state)

Surgical Technologist

Surgical technologists assist surgical teams before, during, and after procedures. Making sure the operating room is sterile and equipped is a top priority.

The median annual salary for a surgical technologist is 48,320.

Certification options include:

  • National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA)
  • National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)

Radiologic Technologist

Radiologic technologists operate medical imaging equipment, such as X-ray machines and CT scanners.

The median annual salary for a radiologic technologist is 77,360.

Certification options include:

  • American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)
  • Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT)

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients, and provide preventive dental care. They work under the supervision of a dentist to ensure a patient has good oral health.

The median annual salary for a dental hygienist is 77,810.

Certification options include:

  • American Dental Association (ADA)
  • Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)

Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists assist patients with breathing difficulties. They administer treatments and therapies to manage respiratory conditions.

The median annual salary for a respiratory therapist is $70,540.

Certification options include:

  • National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC)
  • American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)

Medical Records Technician

Medical records technicians organize and manage patient medical records. They are responsible for ensuring accurate documentation and confidentiality.

The median annual salary for a medical records is $46,660.

Certification options include:

  • American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)

MRI Technologists

These professionals operate MRI machines and read results. They are responsible for making sure MRI scans produced can be read by physicians.

The median annual salary for a medical coders is $80,090.

Certification options include:

  • American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT)

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in dispensing medications, managing inventory, and interacting with patients.

The median annual salary for a pharmacy technician is $36,740.

Certification options include:

  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
  • National Healthcare Association (NHA)

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational therapy assistants help patients develop and recover skills needed for daily living. They work the guidance of an occupational therapist.

The median annual salary for a occupational therapist assistant is $61,730.

Certification options include:

  • National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)

Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical therapy assistants work with physical therapists to help patients recover from injuries . Helping patients build strength and improve mobility are part of the daily tasks.

The median annual salary for a physical therapy assistant is $61,180.

Certification options include:

  • Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT)

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Sonographers use ultrasound technology to create images of the body’s internal structures. This can help aid in the diagnosis of medical conditions.

The median annual salary for a sonographer is $60,570.

Certification options include:

  • American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS)


Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.