If you’ve always enjoyed tinkering and making things with your hand, becoming a Tool-and-Die Maker might be a great fit for you. Tool-and-Die Makers are specialized machinists who use machine-controlled tools to produce complex tools. In turn, experts use these tools for other manufacturing processes. Basically, you use advanced technology to create parts for other advanced technologies. Tool-and-Die makers usually work for the private industry and are often employed by universities to make their science laboratories equipment. Some Tool-and-Die makers even end up making specialized parts that go into space aboard scientific rockets!
Generally, tool-and-die makers only need an associate’s degree in a manufacturing skill in addition to extensive on-the-job training with the specific machinery they’ll be working with. There are also many apprenticeship programs for Tool-and-Die making within different industries. Depending on how complex the machinery and input required, some Tool-and-Die Maker positions require a general understanding of Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) imagery and function. Tool-and-Die Makers are one of the highest-paid manufacturing positions, with a median income of $45,750. The field has fantastic room for growth as more manufacturing processes continue to be automated, which requires the specialized parts Tool-and-Die Makers produce.
While becoming a pharmacist is an incredibly rigorous process that requires as many as eight years of school and demanding licensing exams, becoming a pharmacy technician is, thankfully, considerably easier. While some pharmacy technicians have a four-year degree, it is not necessarily a requirement for employment at most major pharmacies. Pharmacy technicians most often work in pharmacies, assisting pharmacists with dispensing medications. Others work in nursing homes or private medical practices where they also assist pharmacists. They work directly with customers or patients and need excellent customer service and communication skills. Attention to detail and accuracy are also absolute musts since life-saving medications are involved.
Many vocation and technical skills offer two-year or shorter pharmacy technician programs, and some pharmacies provide extensive on-the-job training for new pharmacy technicians. As with many significant medical positions, the pharmacy technician position sees explosive growth due to the rapidly aging US population and the increased demand for prescription medications. While the median pay is one of the lowest on the list at $33,950, the sky-high demand will likely lead to higher wages as pharmacies begin to compete to retain top-notch pharmacy technicians. If you like customer service but want to move to a step above retail sales, becoming a pharmacy technician could be a well-paying fit for you.
It should come as no surprise to see another medical job on this list since so many require a surprisingly obtainable and far more affordable associate’s, or two-year degree, instead of a bachelor’s four-year degree. Respiratory therapists help patients with every element of the respiratory system. These professionals usually work in hospitals to help those hospitalized with respiratory system conditions or after surgeries that impact the respiratory system. They often help patients regain lung capacity and strength and provide a lot of comfort and care for those dealing with emphysema, lung cancer, and many more serious conditions.
In most states and hospital systems, you only need an associate’s degree to become a practicing respiratory therapist. You will need to pass an examination conducted by The National Board of Respiratory Care to become a respiratory therapist. However, your associate’s degree or vocational program will help you work towards passing that licensure examination. Respiratory therapists have a relatively high median income of $61,300. That will likely only go higher as demand soars as part of the general shortage of healthcare workers amidst the growing demand for healthcare services. As with nursing and other specialties, respiratory therapy is very likely to see immense growth.
An underappreciated element of the medical field is the immense amount of work that maintains the extensive, sensitive records that medical care provides. The wizards managing all of that data are medical records technicians who specialize in organizing, storing, and protecting a healthcare network’s patients’ confidential health data. If you’ve ever had to ask for health records to be released to either yourself or another health care provider, you likely spoke to a medical records technician. Those who are comfortable with computers and have an excellent eye for accuracy and attention to detail would be ideal fits for this fast-paced, high-tech profession.
Becoming a medical records technician typically requires a two-year associate’s degree and then passing some certification exams that indicate proficiency in medical abbreviations, coding language, and more. The median pay is somewhat lower than direct patient care providing medical fields at $37,887. However, like all of the other medical careers we’ve discussed, it shows promising signs of continued growth. As more and more older Americans require more medical care, there will be correspondingly large increases in the amount of medical records data that must be organized and maintained. Hospitals continue to transition to exclusively digital record-keeping, which will necessitate more trained medical records technicians.