Which Medical Jobs Pay Well & Are Less Gruesome?

by Anthony Oster

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that careers in medicine and the health professions will be among the fastest growing between 2010 and 2020. However, some people may be put off by working with blood, illness and some of the medical field's more gruesome aspects. If you fall into this category, there are other well-paying health professions that you can pursue that will not place you in the operating room, intensive care or other critical-care units.


The pharmacy profession is one of the highest-paying health-professions. While many people associate the pharmacy profession with retail pharmacy, the truth is that pharmacy specialties that can have pharmacy graduates creating new medicines, synthesizing new methods to take prescription medicines and even working in nuclear medicine clinics. The pharmacy profession was also recently reported to be among the few professions in the U.S. that has little to no gender pay gap. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2010, the median reported salary for practicing pharmacists was approximately $111,000 per year. Students interested in pharmacy will typically need approximately 90 hours of undergraduate pre-requisite coursework. Then they apply to a four-year doctorate of pharmacy program.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Diagnostic medical sonographers are trained in the use of ultrasound, sonogram and echocardiogram imaging techniques to assess patient's bodies and to diagnose medical conditions. Specialties that a diagnostic medical sonographer may pursue include obstetrics, breast and vascular sonography. Diagnostic medical sonography degrees can be earned at the associate and bachelor's levels. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median reported income for diagnostic medical sonographers in 2010 was approximately $64,000 per year.

Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-language pathologists, also known as speech therapists, work with patients to diagnose and treat speech, language and swallowing disorders due to developmental delays, illness or rehabilitation from an injury or medical treatment. Speech-language pathologists must earn undergraduate degrees and then apply for admission to a master's or doctoral program in speech-language pathology. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median income for speech-language pathologists in 2010 was approximately $66,000 per year.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy, though sometimes confused with career and vocational counseling, rehabilitates patients who have lost the skills needed for everyday use. An occupational therapist may work alongside a physical therapist, physician or mental health counselor to create a treatment plan for patients who need help with daily life skills due to injury, illness or disability. Like speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists must first earn an undergraduate degree and then apply to a graduate program in occupational therapy. In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median salary for occupational therapists was approximately $72,000 annually.

About the Author

Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.

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