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February 25, 2020  | Updated: May 13, 2020

Category: Medical Careers


  • Best-paying levels of medicine demand the highest amounts of education
  • Health care jobs to grow by 14 percent from 2018 to 2028.

The prevailing thought around careers in health care is that you get more out of what you put into it.

This is true in many ways, especially when it comes to investments of time, effort, and learning. The highest and best-paying levels of medicine demand the highest amounts of education and training.

This makes sense when you consider the value that all health care providers bring to society.

Health care providers and workers are a community’s healers and caretakers. When someone’s life or well-being is at stake, it is up to health care workers to fix the situation.

Health care jobs tend to build on one another as a person gains career experience. No matter if you’re starting out in the environmental department, as a personal care associate, or a registered nurse–there’s always somewhere you can take your career.

Health Care Jobs in Context and a Note About Medians

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook is the go-to resource for jobs and career stats in the United States. The handbook projects that health care jobs will grow by 14 percent from 2018 to 2028. This is the fastest-growing industry in the nation.

This is in large part because of the population problem called the “Silver Tsunami.” The overall age of the country is pushing toward the older end because the baby boomers, the largest generational cohort of Americans born between 1946 and 1964, are passing age 65.

By 2034, there will be more seniors in the US than there will be children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The following figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are medians for each respective career. A median is the figure that falls at the middle point for a series of values.

Median pay is usually a good indicator of what is typical of a career. Granted, median pay doesn’t account for extremes in a data set. Many upper-level healthcare jobs see pay skew to the higher end.

Anesthesiologists — $267,020

They monitor and try to control pain levels and, in the case of surgery, eliminate it altogether for a time. They also put patients into varying levels of unconsciousness.

They work in operating rooms with surgeons and outside the operating room in cases where major pain is a factor, such as childbirth. Anesthesiologists are key enablers of the other medical professions on this list because of the overriding need to manage or eliminate pain or consciousness.

Surgeons — $255,110

There is a wide range of surgical specialties. The more complicated or obscure the procedure, body system or specialty, usually, the more you get paid.

Surgeons use instruments to treat disease or injury through operations. Surgeons require all of the training of a physician and specialized training of a craftsman to perform surgery.

Obstetricians and Gynecologists — $238,320

Female anatomy is so complicated and intricate that it requires a whole field of medicine to make sure half of the human race gets the care they need. Specifically, they support pregnancy, childbirth, sexual health, aging, and play a key role in cancer treatment.

Psychiatrists — $220,380

Psychiatrists are mental health physicians. These providers go to medical school and have extensive training within medical and pharmacological training that they combine with counseling and psychotherapy.

They are not the same thing as psychologists, who study functions of the brain and behaviors and largely treat through therapy.

Family and General Practitioners — $211,780

These are the primary point of regular management of care for most people. They act as the proverbial front line in the healthcare system and are often the first provider seen for non-acute symptoms like fevers or mild injuries.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons — $208,000 or More

A rough but not inaccurate way to restate this specialty is a skull surgeon. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons operate on teeth, jaws, the neck, gums, and neck.

Often, these surgeons will further specialize in a handful of procedures and conduct that procedure for an entire region.

Orthodontists — $208,000 or More

These professionals move and straighten teeth using systems and instruments that apply unyielding pressure on the teeth. These systems cause the jaw where the tooth resides to a breakdown in front of but mend behind the pressured tooth.

If you’ve had braces or a retainer, then you’ve been to an orthodontist.

General Internists — $196,490

They prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases in adult patients. However, they’re specifically trained to work on complex disease states that impact more than one system.

They often work in hospitals where a wide range of resources is needed to deal with complex illnesses. They aren’t necessarily as deeply versed in any given system when compared to single subject-focused doctors.

General Pediatricians — $183,240

They treat anyone whose body is considered developing. By definition, pediatricians treat infants, children, teens, and young adults. Some arbitrarily say patients need to be seen by a general practitioner at a certain age, usually 18.

But that determination ought to be made with the pediatrician and their patient. Developing humans also face a unique range of potential diseases that developed adults aren’t.

Prosthodontists — $176,540

Think of prosthodontists as dentists with extra toppings. They are dentists that have additional training in rehabilitation oral health.

They’re specifically trained to care for patients who are missing teeth, have major oral health problems, and issues related to the teeth that impact other parts of the skull.

Help Managing Your Career

All health care jobs are required to be credentialed by several agencies. The higher your specialty, the more credentialing is required.

These bits of administrative work are key to ensuring that healthcare providers keep the skills they have sharp. It also helps the government prevent bad providers from possibly harming patients.

All that said, it’s still a hassle. It can be a long and complicated task that takes time and resources away from patients.

Start a free credentialing and career management profile to simplify your professional life.

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