The healthcare industry is expected to grow considerably over the next decade, with projected employment expansion of 13%–much higher than the average growth rate for all occupations—by 2031. Though the term ‘healthcare’ typically conjures up images of doctors and nurses, in fact, there are millions of personnel in the healthcare field who almost never come into contact with patients.
Whether you’re interested in the healthcare field but don’t want to work with patients, are looking for an alternative to medical school, or simply want to jump into a lucrative career quickly, a non-clinical healthcare job may be the right fit for you. Here, we’ll take a closer look at non-clinical medical jobs and share some of the most popular options for job seekers.
What are non-clinical healthcare jobs?
Non-clinical healthcare jobs are roles in the health field that do not directly involve the observation or treatment of patients. This career includes a wide range of roles, from the administrative staff that keeps your family doctor’s office running to the insurance company that pays out for your treatment to the equipment experts who make sure a hospital’s machines are working properly.
Non-clinical healthcare jobs are promising career options for several reasons. For starters, they often pay well, in some cases even better than clinical jobs. They offer job security, as qualified healthcare professionals have historically always been in demand.
Non-clinical medical jobs don’t come with the immense financial burden of medical school. According to Education Data Initiative, the average medical school debt in the U.S. now tops $241,600, quite a daunting amount to have hanging over your head before you even earn your first dollar in your chosen profession.
They’re a solid option for professionals who prefer not to spend several years earning an advanced degree. While some of the careers we cover here will require one, many of them are accessible via a high school diploma or trade school program, which allows you to begin earning a living in a respectable profession fairly quickly.
Finally, many clinical workers like doctors and nurses transition into non-clinical jobs later in their careers for greater work-life balance and more standard work hours.
In-demand non-clinical healthcare positions
1. Medical scribe
Have you ever wondered how doctors can move so quickly between patients? One of the reasons is that instead of writing down notes after each patient visit, many practitioners speak into a voice recorder. It’s a medical scribe’s job to listen to those voice recordings and transcribe them into written reports, which might include exam notes, procedure reports, referrals, discharge summaries and other documents.
It’s more than just listening and typing, though. A medical scribe needs a firm grasp of medical terminology, abbreviations, drug names, and interest to ensure that patients’ records are prepared accurately. In addition to having a high school diploma or GED, you’ll need to complete a medical transcription training program, which can take anywhere from six months to two years.
2. Medical coder
When it’s time to file a claim with an insurance company, hospitals and doctor’s offices rely on medical coders. Medical coders convert patient information, like conditions and diagnoses, into standardized codes. These codes are then used to file insurance claims and calculate the appropriate reimbursement.
To become a medical coder, you’ll need a high school diploma or its equivalent along with certification from an organization like the American Academy of Professional Coders.
3. Insurance claims examiner
Once a medical coder works on an insurance claim, it’s time for it to be reviewed by an insurance claims examiner. The examiner studies a patient’s policy to determine what’s covered and check that their medical documentation supports the claim being made. Based on this information, they make a determination whether to approve or deny the claim and in the case of approvals, resolve the amount of the benefit due.
Insurance claims examiners also step in to investigate when there’s a claims dispute, reviewing the available information and assembling additional documents as needed to resolve the case. If you’re a high school graduate, you can apply for entry-level insurance claims examiner jobs. Moving up to higher job titles in the insurance field typically requires a bachelor’s degree.
4. Pharmacy technician
Working behind the counter in a drug store and hospital pharmacies, a pharmacy technician is the pharmacist’s right-hand man or woman. They take prescriptions via phone and in person, help prepare the proper doses, measure the correct amount of medication, provide instructions and take payments from customers. They act as a go-between between customers and the pharmacist, setting up consultations and conveying information.
To become a pharmacy technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED. Some states also require you to pass a certification exam.
5. Patient advocate
The world of healthcare can be confusing and frustrating for patients, especially those dealing with traumatic injuries and life-threatening illnesses. A patient advocate acts as the liaison between patients, physicians, administrators, and insurance companies, helping provide guidance and support through the course of treatment.
Patient advocates routinely meet with patients, recommend doctors, discuss different treatment options, and help resolve issues with the patient’s care. There are no hard-and-fast requirements for becoming a patient advocate, but many get into the field after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in an area like health administration or consumer advocacy.
6. Health information technician
The healthcare field produces a massive amount of data, and in this age, it’s of utmost importance to keep that data safe and secure. This job falls to the health information technician, who compiles, processes, and maintains the medical records of health organizations.
A health information technician ensures that a hospital or clinic’s practices are up to par with all legal requirements and industry regulations. The data they handle covers physical and digital records that may include medical forms, test results, examination reports, treatment plans, and more.
7. Healthcare administrator
While doctors and nurses are on the front lines serving patients, healthcare administrators are behind the scenes keeping the whole operation running. A healthcare administrator oversees the day-to-day operations of a healthcare organization, planning and supervising medical service programs and ensuring they fit within the organization’s budget.
A large organization might have a team of healthcare administrators, while an office like a family practice might have just one. In addition to overseeing operations, this person might be responsible for scheduling staff, managing patient medical records, and coordinating the activities of different departments.
To become a healthcare administrator, you’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and several years of experience working in the healthcare field.
8. Medical administrative assistant
A medical administrative assistant, sometimes called a medical secretary, tackles a healthcare practice’s clerical duties like scheduling, taking phone calls, and keeping documents organized. They’re often the first interaction a patient has within an office, greeting patients and assisting with the check-in process.
When scheduling appointments, they make sure the office has all the necessary information, like up-to-date address and insurance information, which results in more accurate record keeping. They may also coordinate the transfer of lab results to the appropriate physician and help with routine office maintenance like stocking supplies.
A high school diploma is typically required for this job.
9. Corporate wellness coordinator
If you have a passion for wellness and enjoy working with people, a job as a corporate wellness coordinator might be for you. This person plans, implements, and analyzes wellness programs for organizations like large corporations.
A corporate wellness coordinator is responsible for designing programs that help meet the organization’s health goals for its employees, like gym memberships, mental health programs, and other wellness benefits. It’s their job to track the performance of these programs over time to see that they’re both effective and within budget.
10. Biomedical equipment technician
Hospitals rely on a wide range of expensive and complex equipment to diagnose and treat patients. It’s a biomedical equipment technician’s job to inspect, maintain and repair this equipment, keeping it in proper working order and minimizing downtime. They may work directly for a hospital or be employed by the equipment supplier.
In addition to maintaining equipment, a biomedical equipment technician assists with its setup and helps clinicians learn how to use machinery properly and in accordance with all relevant codes. They make sure organizations can get the supplies they need when they need it by monitoring stock, placing orders, and facilitating a smooth delivery.