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10 Careers to Pursue with an Associate's Degree in Healthcare

Mar 20, 2023

An associate degree program in applied science in healthcare can open a lot of career opportunities for someone wanting to get their foot in the door of the healthcare industry. Whether you have a passion for caring for others or you're interested in a high-paying career with excellent job security, an associate degree in healthcare provides an excellent jumping-off point for many exciting options. 

The field of healthcare administration is extremely broad, with numerous specialties and lots of room for career growth. Many healthcare administration roles offer a high salary, no weekend or holiday work, benefits, and the opportunity for upward career growth. If you hold an associate degree in healthcare, then you’re in a great position to pursue a variety of roles, including as a medical assistant, health office coordinator, patient services representative, and more. If you aspire to maximize your income and knowledge of the healthcare industry, you can pursue your bachelor’s degree while working in one of these roles. In some cases, employers will even help you pay for your advanced degree. 

Here are 10 healthcare careers that require accreditation and an associate degree in healthcare:

1. Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are a vital part of the healthcare industry. They’re responsible for performing basic healthcare-related tasks, such as bringing patients into a room to see a provider, taking vital signs, collecting lab specimens, and communicating with providers and patients. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for medical assistants was $37,190 in May 2021, with the top 10% earning more than $51,850 and the lowest 10% earning less than $26,930. Furthermore, the job outlook for medical assistants is projected to grow by 16% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations, due to an aging population and an increase in the demand for healthcare services. This makes pursuing a career as a medical assistant a promising option. 

2. Medical Coders and Billers

Also known as medical records and health information technicians, medical coders and billers assign codes to patient records and manage patient information, enabling the proper billing of insurance agencies and patients for healthcare services. The median annual wage for medical records specialists was $46,660 in May 2021, with employment projected to grow by 7% from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations. With an associate degree in healthcare, this career path could be an excellent route for you.

3. Medical Secretary

Medical secretaries perform important duties in healthcare settings such as answering phones, typing correspondence, and scheduling appointments to ensure smooth office operations. The average medical secretary salary in the US is $42,767, and the job outlook is positive, with a projected 11% employment growth between 2020 and 2030. If you have an associate degree and you have a talent for organization and love communicating with others, you should consider pursuing a job as a medical secretary.  

4. Medical Transcriptionists

Medical transcriptionists are responsible for interpreting and transcribing physicians’ reports and diagnoses, listening to voice recordings, converting them into written documentation, and coding them if applicable. Medical transcriptionists must have a solid understanding of medical terminology and be able to accurately transcribe medical language. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for medical transcriptionists was $30,100 in May 2021. Although employment for this role is projected to decline by 7% from 2021 to 2031, it can still be a rewarding career with many benefits, including its flexibility, opportunities for advancement, competitive salary, and abundance of entry-level positions.

5. Medical Customer Service Representative

Medical customer service representatives play a vital role in medical offices, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and similar healthcare facilities by answering and responding to calls from patients and prescribers’ offices to refill medications, schedule deliveries, and answer questions. The average healthcare customer service representative salary in the U.S. is $35,991, with the salary range typically falling between $32,153 and $40,365. Although employment of customer service representatives is projected to decline by 4% from 2021 to 2031, this role has great earning potential, offers opportunities for advancement, and allows you to make a difference in people’s lives. 

6. Health Office Coordinator

Health office coordinators ensure the office runs smoothly and efficiently by overseeing various components of healthcare facilities, including payments, secretarial staff, health insurance, and hiring staff. The average medical office manager's salary is $51,216, and the job outlook for medical and health services managers is projected to grow by 28% from 2021 to 2031. This is a great option for those with an associate degree in healthcare who want to work in a rapidly growing field with excellent job security.

7. Medical Reimbursement Specialist

Medical reimbursement specialists process the claims of a healthcare practice, which involves ensuring that the practice receives proper payment for the medical services provided to patients. These specialists work with insurance companies, patients, and healthcare providers to enable claims to be processed correctly and in a timely manner. The salaries of medical reimbursement specialists in the U.S. range from $22,282 to $82,543, with a median salary of $48,670. The job outlook for this role is expected to increase by about 9% between 2020 and 2030.

8. Healthcare Consultant

Healthcare consultants are hired by medical and healthcare practices to evaluate and recommend practices and strategies to increase efficiency and care. They evaluate the facility’s operations, recommend strategies to increase efficiency and improve the quality of care, and help implement these changes. They work closely with healthcare providers and administrators to identify areas for improvement and develop solutions that meet the unique needs of each organization. The average salary for healthcare consultants is $80,000 per year, and the industry is expected to see a high 28% growth rate between 2021 and 2031.  

9. Patient Service Representative

Patient service representatives are an integral part of the healthcare team, working directly with patients who are receiving services at healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, or surgical centers. These representatives greet patients as they arrive at the healthcare facility, assist them in the check-in process, register patients and update their information in the database, schedule appointments, collect payments and process insurance claims, and coordinate between patients and providers. The average salary for this role is $33,225 per year. Although the job outlook is projected to decline by 4% from 2021 to 2031, experience in this role can open doors to many other career options down the road. 

10. Medical Claims Processor

Medical claims processors work for health insurance companies to process the claims that healthcare facilities send in for reimbursement. The average salary for medical claims processors in the U.S. is $36,777 per year. Although the employment of claims processors is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade, this role can still offer many benefits like career advancement opportunities, highly transferable skills, and a great entry-level position in healthcare. 

Building a Successful Healthcare Career

Although building a successful healthcare career is achievable with an associate of applied science in healthcare, a bachelor’s degree gives you a competitive advantage, higher salary, and advancement opportunities to healthcare management roles. WGU’s bachelor’s in health information management, for example, can help build on what you learned in your associate degree program and expand your career opportunities. The program is entirely online, allowing for flexibility, and is designed to prepare you for a successful career in the healthcare industry. Whether you already have an associate degree or are considering a bachelor's, it's worth exploring the many benefits of pursuing a bachelor's degree in healthcare. 


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