What career in the Medical Field takes the shortest amount of education?

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Many people have a strong desire to work in the medical field and spend their days helping others to heal from sickness or injury. That being said, not everyone is cut out to be a surgeon or doctor of any kind. Fortunately, there are many careers in the medical field that require a much smaller investment from you, both financially and timewise.

Nursing is one of the most popular job fields in the medical circuit and it’s going to be in demand for a while. There are few types of nursing you can jump into, as well. Licensed Practical Nurses attend school for about a year and a half. The most common nursing job people seek is working as a Registered Nurse, which requires—at minimum—an associate’s degree and subsequent passing of the National Council Licensure Examination. In some cases, individuals may pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This is usually obtained when the student is more interested in managerial positions and working in the administrative side of nursing, rather than the treatment side. It is also a pre-requisite for any kind of advance nursing degree such as a masters or doctorate nurse practitioner. That being said, those degrees take several years and steep investments before they come to fruition.

Outside of nursing, some people prefer a more high energy field that lets them meet patients from all walks of life—the EMT. An Emergency Medical Technician is often the first to respond to the scene of a crime, house fire, vehicle accident and so on. They know how to perform CPR and emergency medical procedures to prolong the welfare and life of injured parties enough to stabilize them and get them to the hospital. The adrenaline rush that EMTs experience is often described as a euphoric kind of high. Most will admit they aren’t in it for the $14 to $17 an hour they’re making. The education required to become an EMT is one of the most minimal at just 11 weeks. A step up from that position would be a paramedic, which requires as much as two years of training, but also pays more and offers a wider job base.

Veering toward the administrative portion of the medical field, there are certainly plenty of secretarial jobs to go around. These programs are usually certificate-based after one year and an associate’s after two. Also, medical transcription and billing and coding programs can be completed in as little as six months for the motivated learner.

Other career fields that take only two years include becoming a medical assistant—though a one year certificate is possible in this field, two year associate’s holders will usually get the job before one year certificate holders—and surgical technologists. Pharmacy techs and radiology techs can also complete their requirements in two years or less depending on the program they enroll in. Nuclear medicine techs can go from new student to grad in as little as a year and radiation therapists require only an associate’s degree in some states. If you want something a little less hospital-oriented, you can also become a dental hygienist with only two years of schooling.


Cite this page: Danielle Bosley, "What career in the Medical Field takes the shortest amount of education?," in PsychologyDictionary.org, April 5, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/what-career-in-the-medical-field-takes-the-shortest-amount-of-education/ (accessed August 11, 2022).