How to get work in the health sector if you are not a doctor or nurse

The US health sector is an anomaly in the US economy. As other sectors slow down and jobs are cut, or become part-time, the health sector continues to expand. With an aging population and the health sector being one of the more labor-intensive areas, the demand for more health sector employees is growing. In fact, even in the wake of the Great Recession, the US health sector added over 3 million new jobs between January 2007 and November 2017 – that represents a third of all US jobs created in that period.

However, only some of the jobs were for doctors and nurses – there are so many options for employment in the health sector. In fact, 40% of the jobs in the health sector do not involve treating a patient in any way and of the remaining 60%, 2.9% of those are in support roles. 

Medical equipment repairers

In this role, your patients aren’t people filled with blood and organs, they are machines filled with wires and conductors. It is essential that medical equipment is kept in top working condition because so many treatments, such as those for cancer rely on it. It helps make a diagnosis and is of course used during surgery. The essential nature of this job means that medical equipment repairers are paid well. The median wage was $48,540 in 2014.

Medical equipment repairers will begin their career path by studying for a degree in biomedical technology or biomedical engineering. This is a two-year course that will get you into a good job in a growing industry. It allows for specialization and, if preferred, for working on general equipment.


Pharmacists are responsible for the sale of drugs, whether issued on prescription or sold over the counter. They work in drug stores and hospitals. In order to get into this profession, you need to complete a doctorate in pharmacy, which will take five years. The median wage of $106,000 reflects this extensive education.

MRI technologists

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines are used for the detection of problems within the organs of a patient who is entered into the machine. In this role, you would operate the machines and interpret the data while also keeping accurate records. A degree in radiography is how most MRI technologists will begin their careers. Job openings are projected to rise by 24% in the decade up to 2022. The median wage for this role was $57,510 in 2014.

Management staff

All business sectors need managers and health is no exception. Going into management and administration means that you are away from the hospital wards working in an office. There you might be coordinating the daily running of departments in a hospital or working with doctors to ensure the best use is made of their time. As the sector grows, the demand for high-quality management professionals will increase. A college course in health services administration will start you off on the right foot. Job openings for managers in the health sector are expected to increase by 23% between 2012 and 2022. This highly competitive sector is hard to get ahead in, but the median wage reflects this – you can expect to earn $103,680 in this role. A degree in long-term care administration, health services or public health is the start of this career path.

Nuclear medicine technologists 

This is another technical job that concerns diagnostics. The job is to prepare radioactive drugs for patients that can then be detected by imaging procedures that you also conduct. You must keep accurate records while correctly using and updating the machinery. You need to make reports that medical professionals can interpret. Jobs for nuclear medicine technologists are projected to increase by 20% between 2012 to 2022. The median wage is $73,230.

Occupational health and safety specialists

In the health sector, which concerns the treatment and well-being of patients, it is essential that the facilities that house and treat them are as safe as possible. Hospitals are full of potentially dangerous equipment and chemicals, and as a health and safety specialist it is your job to make sure they are as safe as possible. You could be employed by a health service company to ensure that their facilities are safe for patients and won’t lead to injury, death and possibly a lawsuit. The median wage is $62,000.

There are so many different avenues you can go down to get into the medical industry, from administration and management to equipment repair and operation. As long as you get the right training, you can go on to do any of these roles, none of which require you to train to be a doctor or a nurse.