Young male student in scrubs with a speech bubble the reads, "What are some non-clinical healthcare careers I can pursue?"

The healthcare industry is expected to grow considerably over the next decade, with a 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 rarely come into contact with patients. 

Whether you’re interested in healthcare but don’t want to work with patients, are looking for an alternative to medical school, or 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 many 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 ensure a hospital’s machines are working properly. 

Non-clinical healthcare jobs are promising career options for several reasons. They often pay well, sometimes 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 the 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. 

Job outlook for non-clinical healthcare positions

As mentioned, the healthcare industry is expected to expand jobs by 15% over the next decade. With an aging population and increased access to different kinds of healthcare services, the industry will likely continue to grow. There are also plenty of changes in digital health and technology that will have a positive impact on non-clinical healthcare jobs. 

Patient care and experience are becoming increasingly important to healthcare providers, with plenty of new ways to ask for feedback and gather information. There is an increase in consulting and advocate positions to help make the necessary changes and provide appropriate support for doctors and medical professionals. 

In-demand non-clinical healthcare positions

1. Medical scribes

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. A medical scribe’s job is to listen to those voice recordings and transcribe them into written reports, including 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 interests to prepare patients’ records 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 coders and billers

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 equivalent and certification from an organization like the American Academy of Professional Coders.

Be at the forefront of AI in Healthcare through this Udacity nanodegree program so you can transform patient outcomes as a medical coder!

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 decide whether to approve or deny the claim and resolve the amount of the benefit due in the case of approvals. 

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. You can apply for entry-level insurance claims examiner jobs if you’re a high school graduate. 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 customer payments. They act as a go-between between customers and the pharmacist, setting up consultations and conveying information. 

You’ll need a high school diploma or GED to become a pharmacy technician. 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 is the liaison between patients, physicians, administrators, and insurance companies, helping provide guidance and support throughout treatment.  

Patient advocates routinely meet with patients, recommend doctors, discuss different treatment options, and help resolve patient care issues. There are no hard-and-fast requirements for becoming a patient advocate. Still, many get into the field after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in an area like health administration or consumer advocacy.

6. Health information technology professional 

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 align with all legal requirements and industry regulations. The data they handle covers physical and digital records, including medical forms, test results, examination reports, treatment plans, and more.

Check out Coursera’s Health Information Technology Fundamentals online certification program to kick-start your career!

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 in healthcare. 

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 in an office, greeting patients and assisting with check-in. 

When scheduling appointments, they ensure 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 coordinators and consultants

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. A biomedical equipment technician’s job is 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 them by monitoring stock, placing orders, and facilitating a smooth delivery.

11. Healthcare data analyst

Data is used to make various decisions, and the healthcare industry has so much data. Data analysts help interpret this data and provide feedback to help organizations make informed decisions and improve healthcare outcomes. The data can also help streamline system processes and improve the patient experience. 

Most healthcare data analyst jobs require a four-year degree in health information management or something similar. You can also get a specific certificate in healthcare analytics to partner with a degree.

12. Healthcare compliance officers

Federal and state laws are constantly changing and updating, so a healthcare compliance officer can help ensure their healthcare facility complies. They are current on changes and work to implement any process changes to ensure compliance. They focus on patient confidentiality, safety, and organizational compliance. 

A bachelor’s degree is typically required to become a healthcare compliance officer. Advanced degrees, like a law degree or an MBA, are also sometimes required. There are a variety of certifications that can be extremely helpful for this position as well, like Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC) or Certified in Healthcare Research Compliance (CHRC.)

Non-clinical healthcare jobs FAQs

What qualifications are needed for non-clinical healthcare jobs?

Qualifications vary depending on the job and the level you would be working at. There are degrees in healthcare administration and information technology which are common for some of the non-clinical healthcare roles.

Are there non-clinical healthcare roles available for remote work?

There are quite a few non-clinical healthcare roles that are able to be done remotely like administrative work and insurance claims examiners. With these roles, all you need is access to a private workspace, a computer, and a phone line.

Are there opportunities for career growth in non-clinical healthcare roles?

The healthcare industry is constantly shifting and expanding. There are many ways to advance your career within non-clinical roles, especially in technology and administration opportunities. 

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Pete Newsome is the founder of zengig, which he created after more than two decades in staffing and recruiting. He’s also President of 4 Corner Resources, the Forbes America's Best Staffing and Recruiting Firm he founded in 2005, and is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance. In addition to his passion for staffing, Pete is now committed to zengig becoming the most comprehensive source of expert advice, tools, and resources for career growth and happiness. When he’s not in the office or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his career knowledge and expertise through public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Finding Career Zen & Hire Calling podcasts. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn