Hidden Healthcare Careers in the Region

July 13, 2022

Entry-level medical jobs are abundant across the growing health care industry, and even more so in the underserved Southwest region of the country. There are a handful of critical need jobs in the medical field you can qualify for without having to complete a traditional four-year degree. Continue reading to learn more about some healthcare jobs that can jump-start a long, successful, and satisfying career in the medical field.

Medical Laboratory Technician

  • What Does a Medical Laboratory Technician Do? Medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to help physicians diagnose and treat patients appropriately. Medical laboratory technicians use a variety of instruments and lab devices to collect and test patient samples. They work hands-on with high-tech lab equipment to analyze various fluids, tissue, or other substances and record accurate data that informs the treatment plan for any given patient.
  • What are the Requirements? Starting a career as a medical lab technician requires an associate’s degree, which focuses on the practical and technical aspects of daily lab work. You can complete your Medical Lab Technician Degree in 5 semesters.
  • Potential Salary: $32,000 to $55,000

Surgical Technologist

  • What Does a Surgical Technologist Do? Surgical technologists help prepare patients and operating rooms for surgery and aid surgeons during an operation. Duties often include sterilizing tools, ensuring an operating room has adequate supplies and properly functioning equipment, and even handing the surgeon the tools they need during an operation.
  • What are the Requirements? A Surgical Technology Degree, which can be completed in two years, is required. Successful completion of the Surgical Technology degree program allows graduates to take the Certified Surgical Technologist examination to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Some jobs in the region may require training in CPR or basic life support.
  • Potential Salary: $29,130 to $40,000

Billing & Coding Specialist

  • What Does a Billing & Coding Specialist Do? Billing & coding specialists track and manage critical patient information and help providers coordinate billing to insurance companies and individuals. For a billing & coding specialist, tasks are likely to include reviewing patient data and assigning codes for data analysis and billing purposes and organizing and maintaining databases and registries.
  • What are the Requirements? One of the quickest ways to get started in the healthcare industry is by earning a Medical Insurance Billing & Coding Diploma. This program involves learning about medical terminology and medical information standards and can be completed in 18 months.
  • Potential Salary: $30,240 - $50,000


  • What Does a Phlebotomist Do? If you’ve ever donated blood, chances are you’ve met a phlebotomy technician. Besides blood donations, phlebotomists also draw blood from patients for research, transfusions, and testing. In addition to drawing blood from patients or donors, phlebotomy technicians are also responsible for proper labeling of samples, entering patient data, maintaining necessary medical instruments—and of course, talking to nervous patients to make them feel more comfortable!
  • What are the Requirements? Professional certification via an accredited phlebotomy technician program is a must-have for the vast majority of employers. In as little as 3 months, you can earn a phlebotomy technician diploma and receive a certification from one of several national organizations.
  • Potential Salary: $26,000 - $39,000.

Pharmacy Technician

  • What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do? Pharmacy technicians mostly work in retail pharmacies or hospitals and help their supervising pharmacist dispense medications to patients or other healthcare professionals.
  • What are the Requirements? Most pharmacies strongly prefer to hire employees who have completed formal training programs rather than try to teach everything on the job. A Pharmacy Technician Certificate can be completed in 2-4 months.
  • Potential Salary: $26,000 - $40,000.

Clinical Research Coordinator

  • What Does a Clinical Research Coordinator Do? A clinical research coordinator (CRC) is a professional who, regardless of job title, works at a clinical research site under the immediate direction of a principal investigator and coordinates the daily clinical trial activities under Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Guidelines.
  • What are the Requirements? If you are a healthcare provider, student, career/ job seeker, or military veteran, this program offers– at no charge, the entry-level training and coaching you need to conduct clinical trials and get started as a coordinator. To qualify for this program, you must be 18-years or older and a resident of El Paso, Texas, or Las Cruces, New Mexico.
  • Potential Salary: $34,000 - $49,000.

Whether you are looking to transition into a medical career with a college degree in hand, or you are looking to jumpstart your career with no prior schooling or experience, there are several medical careers you can qualify for. Most of the certificates and degrees listed above are training programs that can be completed within less than a year.

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