What Are the Salaries for Popular Medical Fields?

The salaries of medical-related professions can vary greatly depending on the education and training required. Some fast-growing careers in the field include registered nurse, dental assistant and medical and clinical laboratory technician. Read on to find out how much these professionals earn. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), several medical occupations are expected to have faster-than-average employment growth over the 2016-2026 decade (www.bls.gov). Registered nurses, dental assistants and medical and clinical laboratory technicians are some examples. The salaries for these positions vary, with some influencing factors being industry and location.

Important Facts About Popular Medical Fields

Registered Nurses Dental Assistants Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
Required Education Postsecondary certificate or associate's degree; bachelor's degree is strongly preferred Postsecondary certificate Bachelor's degree
Licensure Mandatory; National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) Need varies by state; available through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Need varies by state; available through the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
Key Skills Critical thinking; physical endurance; empathy; clear communication Organization; astute listening; manual dexterity; attention to detail Computer competency; physical endurance; attention to detail; manual dexterity
Similar Occupations EMTs and paramedics; physicians assistants; nurse practitioners Medical assistants; pharmacy technicians; surgical technologists Biological technicians; chemical technicians; chemists and materials scientists

Registered Nurses

According to the BLS, registered nurses are expected to experience 15% employment growth over the 2016-2026 decade. The BLS reported in May 2018 that registered nurses in the United States earned an average salary of $71,730 annually, or $34.48 hourly. Most professionals earned between $50,800 and $106,530 a year.

Salary by Industry

Most registered nurses were employed by general medical and surgical hospitals and earned an average wage of $71,640 in May 2018, according to the BLS. Average wages for other top employers were $67,880 for home healthcare services and $63,800 for physicians' offices.

Salary by Location

Geographic location can affect a registered nurse's salary. The BLS reported in May 2018 that California employed the most of these professionals of any state, and it also offered the highest average wage of $106,950. On the other hand, Texas also had a high employment level but offered a much lower average salary of $72,890.

Dental Assistants

Dental assistants are expected to see very fast employment growth of 18% over the 2016-2026 decade, according to the BLS. As of 2018, the BLS reported that these professionals earned an average salary of $39,770 annually or $19.12 hourly. Most dental assistants earned between $26,940 and $54,800.

Salary by Industry

According to the BLS, dental assistants working for dentists' offices earned an average wage of $39,770 as May 2018. On the other hand, those working for physicians' offices earned a lower average wage of $36,980.

Salary by Location

The BLS reported that California, which offered an average wage of $41,030, had the highest dental assistant employment level as of May 2018. Texas, which had a lower employment level, offered a lower average wage of $36,820.

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians

Medical and clinical laboratory technicians are expected to see faster than average employment growth of 14% over the 2016-2026 decade, according to the BLS. The BLS noted that clinical laboratory technologists and technicians earned an average salary of $53,880 annually or $25.91 hourly. Most earned between $29,900 and $80,330.

Salary by Industry

Top employers of clinical laboratory technologists and technicians in May 2018 included general hospitals and laboratories, according to the BLS. These employers offered average wages of $55,730 and $52,870, respectively.

Salary by Location

California, which had the highest clinical laboratory technologist and technician employment level in May 2018, offered an average salary of $60,530, according to the BLS. The highest-paid professionals worked in Rhode Island and earned an average wage of $70,380.

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