Thinking Outside the 4-Year Degree

The healthcare field is filled with good jobs you may not have considered. And you don’t need a four-year bachelor’s degree to begin work. You can get started with on-the-job training or several weeks or months of formal training.

Post-Secondary Training

Jobs that require training and licensing but not a college degree are among the fastest growing healthcare jobs in Kentucky:

Hearing aid specialists.  Median wage as of May 2020 was $63,310, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which ranks Kentucky among the top five states for pay for this work. The most common way to get training is through workplace training, according to the International Hearing Society. You must pass an exam to be licensed in Kentucky.


Massage therapists. Median wage is $50,968. You must get training and pass a test to be licensed in Kentucky. The Kentucky Board of Licensure for Massage Therapy has a listing of approved schools.


Dental assistants. Median wage is $37,494. Dental assistants work under direct supervision as aides to a dentist. Qualified high school graduates can get training at dental schools.


An Associate’s Degree

A two-year associate degree can get you started in a variety of well-paid healthcare careers:

  • Clinical lab technologists and technicians: median wage $53,064
  • Radiologic technologists and technicians: median wage $52,451
  • Physical therapist assistants: median wage $56,612
  • Dental hygienists: median wage $63,023
  • Diagnostic medical sonographers: median wage $67,211

Check out the offerings at your local community and technical college. New programs are begun all the time to meet local demand.

Figures from Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2028.

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