All healthcare jobs are not created equal. Each occupation requires varying amounts of education and liability, and garners different levels of prestige. Listed below are some of the best jobs in healthcare.

  1. Physicians & Surgeons
    Most physicians and surgeons examine, diagnose and treat patients, but others are employed in research. While many physicians are self-employed, some maintain full-time positions in addition to occasional part-time work. Others find a niche instructing. These arrangements allow young physicians or doctors wishing to change environments the opportunity to try new situations. The flexibility and independence also appeal to those approaching retirement.

    The Medical Group Management Association determined that surgeons typically make over $282,000 while practicing doctors are earning around $160,000. Incomes vary by medical specialty as well as the type of organization. Practitioners defend their salaries by pointing out the financial burdens of medical school loans and malpractice insurance. (Looking for the current hot careers? Don't miss 10 Careers With Great Job Prospects.)

    There were approximately 633,000 doctors in 2006. The demand for doctors is expected to increase 17% through 2016 as Baby Boomers age. Healthcare reforms which may mandate health insurance for all Americans (a move supported by the American Medical Association) would also impact the need for physicians and their salaries as well.

  2. Pharmacists
    Pharmacists prepare and dispense drugs, and provide advice about proper medication schedules and procedures. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported approximately 62% of pharmacists work in community pharmacies and 25% work in hospitals. Others work in research, manufacturing, insurance and consulting. Traditional pharmacies are evolving into healthcare clinics where pharmacists work alongside physicians or physician assistants.

    Becoming a pharmacist often requires a doctorate in pharmacy (PharmD) as well as passing a licensing exam. Residency programs offer additional education opportunities.

    There were 266,410 pharmacists in 2008 with an average annual salary of $104,260. The need for new pharmacists is expected to grow between 18-26% through 2016.

  3. Physical Therapist
    Physical therapists work to improve the physical function of patients suffering from diseases or injuries. They work in hospitals, private practices, clinics, nursing homes and fitness centers. The work itself is physically demanding, as therapists must be able to lift patients and maneuver equipment. There were 173,000 physical therapists in 2006, which is expected to increase to 220,000 by 2016, fueled by an aging population and injured military personnel returning from war.

    Like many professions, the work environment and nature of the position is subject to change, so there is significant variation in the range of physical therapists' salaries. The average salary is $66,200. The occupation requires a master's degree and a license.

  4. Registered Nurses
    Registered nurses (RNs) care for patients in an increasing number of environments. They wear a lot of hats and can specialize in dozens of different areas. Nursing is a hot career. Over 2.5 million people worked as registered nurses in 2008 with a median salary of over $57,600.

    The demand for nurses is expected to remain so high a national organization called Nurse Workforce Centers exists to combat the issue. Nurses face many of the same liability concerns as physicians, so the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants serves attorneys who provide work-related legal services to nurses.

  5. Dental Hygienist
    Dental hygienists do more than just clean teeth. They examine other areas of the mouth for signs of disease, take x-rays and instruct patients in proper oral care. The vast majority of dental hygienists work in dental offices but some hygienists work as independent contractors serving multiple offices. They often work part-time on flexible schedules.

    Most dental hygiene schools accept high school graduates, but some require some college training. Graduates must pass a licensing exam to practice. There were 167,000 dental hygienists in 2006. The occupation is expected to grow 30% by 2016, largely due to the spreading knowledge of proper oral care requirements.

    The typical dental hygienist salary is $48,304. Nonetheless, there are wide income variations within this occupation - dental hygienists typically can make from $20-41/hour. (Interested in adding health care stocks to your portfolio? Read Investing in the Health Care Sector.)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers scholarships and loan repayments to healthcare workers who serve two to four years with the National Health Service Corp in a designated healthcare shortage area.

Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    Medicare 101: Do You Need All 4 Parts?

    Medicare is the United States’ health insurance program for those over age 65. Medicare has four parts, but you might not need them all.
  2. Insurance

    What's The Difference Between Medicare And Medicaid?

    One program is for the poor; the other is for the elderly. Learn which is which.
  3. Personal Finance

    10 Reasons It Is Time to Look for a New Job

    Learn 10 good reasons for switching jobs, such as major life changes, ethical concerns, job description creep and upwards mobility.
  4. Economics

    Understanding Donald Trump's Stance on China

    Find out why China bothers Donald Trump so much, and why the 2016 Republican presidential candidate argues for a return to protectionist trade policies.
  5. Economics

    Will Putin Ever Leave Office?

    Find out when, or if, Russian President Vladimir Putin will ever relinquish control over the Russian government, and whether it matters.
  6. Taxes

    10 Money-Saving Year-End Tax Tips

    Getting organized well before the deadline will curb your frustration and your tax liability.
  7. Markets

    Will Paris Attacks Undo the European Union Dream?

    Last Friday's attacks in Paris are transforming the migrant crisis into an EU security threat, which could undermine the European Union dream.
  8. Savings

    Your Flex Spending Dollars: How to Use Them All

    Your flexible spending account is about to expire. Don't throw money away; here's how you can spend every cent (or roll it over).
  9. Budgeting

    How Much Will it Cost to Become President In 2016?

    The 2016 race to the White House will largely be determined by who can spend the most money. Here is a look at how much it will cost to win the presidency.
  10. Retirement

    Getting Through the Medicare Part D Maze

    Having trouble sorting through your prescription drug coverage options? Try these solutions to finding the right Medicare Part D option.
  1. Are Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contributions tax deductible?

    The contributions you make to your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) are not tax-deductible because the accounts are funded ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cover Lasik?

    Flexible spending accounts (FSA) can be used to pay for qualifying LASIK procedures. LASIK is not the only laser eye surgery ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Are Flexible Spending Account (FSA) expenses tax deductible?

    Flexible Spending Account (FSA) expenses are not tax deductible. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) states you cannot ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Does a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cover acupuncture?

    A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) covers acupuncture. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has defined acupuncture as a qualifying ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Do Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) expire?

    Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) do expire and are considered to be a "use it or lose it" type of plan. They are savings ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Do flexible spending accounts (FSA) funds roll over?

    An individual can utilize an employer’s cafeteria plan of employee benefits to establish a flexible spending account (FSA). ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Take A Flier

    The slang term for a decision to invest in highly speculative investments.
  2. Bar Chart

    A style of chart used by some technical analysts, on which, as illustrated below, the top of the vertical line indicates ...
  3. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  4. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  5. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  6. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
Trading Center