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12 Jobs Similar to Nursing

A female Asian nurse is working in a hospital.

Nursing is a rewarding career and is considered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) as the largest type of profession within the health care field. The AACn notes that there are more than three times more nurse professionals than physicians working in the country. Choosing to become a nurse also requires a meaningful commitment to education and clinical training to be eligible for a nursing license.

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There are Different Levels of Nursing Licenses

There are a few ways to enter the nursing profession. While each state is required to set its own nursing license requirements, most states have similar mandates. The development of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) (which includes thirty-seven states (as of July 2022)) permits nurses to use the same license in any one of the member jurisdictions without having to obtain an additional license.  

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Licensed Practical – Vocational Nurses (LPN or LVN)

A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), which can also be known as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) in certain states, is an entry-level nursing position. Licensed Practical or Vocational nurses work under the supervision of a physician or a Registered Nurse (RN). They are typically responsible for basic medical care that includes taking/monitoring vital signs, ensuring patients have what they need to recover, etc.  

To obtain this type of nursing licensure, LPN candidates must complete an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure test – Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN). Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that LPNs and LVNs can expect –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $48,070 or $23.11 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 688,100
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 9%, similar to the national average, which translates to 63,800 new jobs.

Registered Nurses (RN) are the professionals most people consider when thinking about a nurse.

There are a few ways to earn a Registered Nurse certification. An aspiring Registered Nurse, of which there were more than 3 million in 2021, must take and pass the NCLEX-RN after they have earned either –

  • A diploma from a program that has received appropriate nursing accreditation from AACN or ACEN.
  • An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) earned from an accredited nursing program.

However, those interested in becoming a nurse should recognize that the current industry trend is for RNs to successfully complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) within a defined period after becoming licensed. Recent data issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that RNs can expect –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $77,600 or $23.11 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 3,080,100
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 9%, similar to the national average, which translates to 276,800 new jobs.
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Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)

An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) offers the next level of nursing licensing. APRNs are required to complete an accredited Master of Science Nursing (MSN) with extensive clinical rotations. APRNs choose specializations that include –

Nurse Midwives

A nurse-midwife is a nursing specialist trained to care for women delivering a baby. A Nurse Midwife also provides prenatal care and postpartum care.

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $112,830 or $54.24 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 7,750
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 45% – significantly faster than average.

The highest salaries for nurse midwives are in the state of West Virginia, Utah, California, Massachusetts, and New York. Most nurse midwives are employed in California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

Nurse Anesthetists

A nurse anesthetist is a highly trained medical professional who must complete a graduate nursing program and pass stringent exams. Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia during surgery and help patients after the procedure is complete.  

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $164,860 or $79.26 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 43,950
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 45% – significantly faster than average.

Nurse Anesthetists earn top salaries in Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, and West Virginia. The states that offer the highest level of nurse anesthetist jobs include Texas, Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, and New York.

Nurse Practitioners

A nurse practitioner (who is also a Registered Nurse) is a healthcare professional who has completed an advanced nursing degree. Nurse practitioners may specialize and work with children, older adults, or family practitioners. Their work can involve a variety of healthcare settings.

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $120,680 or $58.02 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 234,690
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 45% – significantly faster than average.
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Texas and California offer the highest employment levels for nurse practitioners, followed by New York, Florida, and Tennessee. The highest annual salaries for nurse practitioners are in these states – California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and Massachusetts.

Jobs Similar To Nursing – Helping Others Improve Their Lives & Situations.

1. Physician Assistants are highly-trained medical professionals who practice medicine alongside nurses and other medical professionals.

Physician Assistant standing against white background.

A PA, or Physician Assistant, is a medical professional who works in a variety of healthcare settings providing medical care. They typically work under a physician’s supervision but conduct tests, physicals, and other medical assessments and treatments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals these statistics about those working as physician assistants –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $121,530 or $58.43 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 129,400
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 31% – significantly faster than average, which translates to 40,100 new physician assistant positions in the nation.

Other than Alaska, the top paying states for PAs are located in the northeast – Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New Hampshire. Similarly, the states with the largest concentration of PAs include Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Alaska, and North Carolina.

2. Nutritionists or Dieticians are experts who help others lead healthy lives.

Nutritionist holding a fruits in the table.

A Nutritionist works in the healthcare field and is a trained expert in the complicated relationship that exists between food and health.  Professional dieticians and nutritionists are required to earn a baccalaureate degree, but many earn master’s and doctorate-level degrees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals these statistics about this profession that is similar to nursing –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $61,650 or $21.64 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 73,000
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 11% – faster than average, which translates to 7,800 new jobs.
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As one would expect, the states that have the highest employment levels for dieticians and nutritionists include some of the largest in population – California, New York, Texas, Florida, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Nutritionists and dietitians have the highest annual median salaries in California, D.C., New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.

3. Audiologists are healthcare professionals trained to treat those who have hearing or balance issues.

Audiologist checking hearing with audioscope.

Audiologists are specially trained to work in clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. They also may work in one school district traveling to its member schools. An audiologist is typically required to earn a Doctor of Audiology Degree (Au.D.).

The BLS reveals this data about this similar profession to nursing –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $78,940 or $37.96 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 13,700
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 16% – consider much faster than the national average, which translates to more than 2,000 new audiologist jobs.

The top states for audiologist salaries include Nevada, California, D.C., Washington, and North Dakota. States with the highest concentrations of audiologists include California, Florida, Ohio, New York, and Virginia.

4. Social Workers are healthcare workers who help clients manage and cope with everyday life challenges.

A couple and Social Worker in a room.

Social Workers can find employment in many types of private and government agencies, schools, and healthcare settings. Social workers are typically required to earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with many choosing to earn a master’s degree or higher. The statisticians at the federal government’s BLS reveal this information about the social worker profession –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $50,390 or $24.23 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 715,600
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 12% – faster than average, which translates to more than 89,000 new social worker jobs over the next decade.
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Social Workers have the option to specialize in working with families and children, healthcare specifically, substance abuse, or even mental health, among others. The top paying states for those working as social workers specializing in health care include the District of Columbia, California, Oregon, Hawaii, and Rhode Island.

5. Respiratory Therapists are those who are experts in the treatment of patients with respiratory and breathing conditions.

Respiratory Therapist with a children.

Respiratory Therapists are health care workers who work with patients struggling with lung and breathing issues. They are experts at diagnosing conditions related to the cardiopulmonary system. While the minimum degree to become a respiratory therapist is an associate degree, most employers prefer to hire candidates with a four-year degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals this current data about these healthcare professionals –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $61,830 or $29.73 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 135,100
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 23% – significantly faster than the national average, which translates to 31,100 new respiratory therapist positions.

Note that licensing requirements for respiratory therapists differ by state. The states that employ the most respiratory therapists include California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Ohio. Respiratory therapists have the highest salaries working in California, Alaska, New York, Hawaii, and Massachusetts.

6. Paramedics or EMTs treat those who fall ill or are injured when not in a medical setting.

Paramedics looking to the camera.

Paramedic and Emergency Medical Technicians (a.k.a. EMTs) receive specialty training to earn a postsecondary non-degree. They are trained to administer basic and advanced medical treatment and care. The statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics note this data regarding paramedics and EMTs –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary
    • EMTs – $35,470 or $17.05 per hour
    • Paramedics – $46,770 or $22.48 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 161,400 (EMTs) & 96,510 (Paramedics)
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 11% – faster than average, which translates to 28,600 new paramedic and EMT jobs.
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Top paying states for Emergency Medical Technicians include Hawaii, Alaska, Maryland, Illinois, and the District of Columbia.  The states with the highest paramedic salaries include Washington, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, and Maryland.

7. Dental Hygienists are professionals who are experts in treating conditions.

A beautiful smiling Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienists typically require specialized training, which includes a third year of specific training in oral care. Each state has requirements to become licensed as a dental hygienist. These healthcare professionals assess their patient’s oral conditions and needs which are required to help maintain proper oral health and disease prevention.

The BLS reveals this data about this profession, one which cares for others like a nurse

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $77,810 or $37.41 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 206,100
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 11% – faster than average, which translates to more than 23,000 new dental hygienist positions by 2030.

Dental Hygienist salaries are highest in Alaska, California, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada. The states that offer the largest number of dental hygienist jobs include California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. The greater LA and NYC areas provide the highest level of employment for dental hygienists in any metropolitan area.

8. Physical Therapists are a type of health care professional who helps others improve their movement and reduce pain.

Cheerful and adult Physical Therapist.

Physical Therapists are tasked with working with people who are ill or have been injured, providing corrective and rehabilitation programs. Their work includes helping others move with more ease and less pain. Physical therapists, to become licensed, must earn a doctoral (Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)) or a professional degree.

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Each state has its own physical therapist licensing requirements. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals these statistics about physical therapists –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $95,620 or $45.97 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 239,200
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 21% – significantly faster than average, which translates to nearly 50,000 new physical therapist jobs.

California and New York have the highest employment of physical therapists, followed by Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. The top annual salaries for physical therapists are jobs found in Nevada, California, Delaware, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

9. Occupational Therapists are professionals who work in a variety of healthcare settings that may include nursing homes, schools, and home health services.

Occupational Therapist at work with old man.

Occupational Therapists work with people who need to reestablish or recover the ability to do meaningful activities of daily life – due to an illness, disability, or injury. An occupational therapist is required to earn a minimum of a master’s level academic degree. Most occupational therapists work with healthcare practitioners or in medical facilities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals these statistics about the profession of occupational therapy –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $85,570 or $41.14 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 131,600
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 17% – much faster than average, which translates to the creation of 23,000 occupational therapist jobs by 2030.

The states that offer the most occupational therapist jobs include California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Occupational therapists receive the highest salaries in Nevada, California, New Jersey, Texas, and New Mexico.

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10. Exercise Physiologists help those become more fit after they have been sick or injured.

Woman undergoing with Exercise Physiologist.

Exercise Physiologists assess the physical condition of their patients and then design programs to improve one’s body movement, strength, endurance, and flexibility. Other programs they implement may seek to improve a patient’s cardio respiratory function and abilities. The BLS reveals this pertinent data about those employed as exercise physiologists –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $47,940 or $23.05 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 18,000
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 13% – faster than average, which translates to 2,400 new exercise physiologist positions over the next few years.

The states that offer the highest number of exercise physiologist jobs include Texas, Michigan, Florida, Illinois, and Colorado. The highest salaries for exercise physiologists can be found in California, New York, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Massachusetts.

11. Radiation Therapists are the professionals responsible for dosing radiation to cancer patients and those with other serious conditions.

Pretty beautiful woman Radiation Therapist.

Radiation Therapists are health care workers who work across a variety of medical facilities – including outpatient centers, physician offices, and hospitals. Most professional radiation therapists require a minimum of an associate or baccalaureate degree in radiation therapy. Each state sets forth its own licensing rules, although many require the passing of a national exam.

The BLS notes this important information for radiation therapists –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $82,790 or $39.80 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 –17,700
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 11% – faster than average, which translates to more than 1,000 new respiratory therapist jobs.
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The top paying jobs for radiation therapists are in the states of California, New York, Oklahoma, Washington, and Oregon. The largest employment numbers for radiation therapists are found in the states of Texas, New York, California, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

12. Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder & Mental Health Counselors help those overcome debilitating addictions and behaviors.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder & Mental Health Counselor with elder patient.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder & Mental Health Counselors work in various medical settings as well as private practices, prisons, and community or mental health centers.  The minimum academic degree required to work as a behavioral counselor The BLS reveals this important data for counselors working with those with substance abuse, behavioral or mental health issues –

  • 2021 Annual Median Salary – $48,520 or $23.33 per hour
  • Number of Professionals Employed in 2020 – 327,500
  • Job Outlook through 2030 – 23% – significantly faster than average, which translates to the creation of more than 75,000 new jobs for mental health, behavioral, or substance abuse counselors.

The states that offer the most employment opportunities for substance abuse and mental health counselors are California, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Texas. The highest paying jobs for these types of health care counselors include Utah, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, and New Jersey.