20 Careers in Health Science

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 January 2023

Published 9 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Health sciences offer many rewarding careers for individuals interested in biology and helping people support their health and well-being. Health sciences include a broad range of employment opportunities and work environments that suit most people. Discovering the many different careers in health science can help you identify which interests you most and plan your career path. In this article, we discuss the top 20 careers in health science ranked on their salary and professional demand.

20 health science jobs

Below you can find a list of the top 20 careers in health science, the primary duties of the roles, and the average national salary for each position (for both clinical and non-clinical environments):

Related: What Is an Allied Health Assistant? A Detailed Guide

Clinical careers

Careers in health science can be split into either clinical or non-clinical areas. Clinical professions refer to the environment of working directly with patients in clinics, offices, ambulatory care, pharmacies or hospitals. These careers can be intensive, emotionally and physically demanding and require shift work, but they can be highly rewarding professions too:

1. Physician

National average salary: $130,857 per year

Primary duties: Physicians are doctors who specialise in a specific health science field or enter the generalised area. They are responsible for diagnosing and treating patients with a variety of health concerns or injuries. Physicians assess patients' health and may refer them to a specialist to seek advanced support and treatments, or physicians may administer their own treatment plans, including medications and on-site remedies.

2. Dentist

National average salary: $123,352 per year

Primary duties: Dentists are professionals who diagnose and treat problems with patients' teeth, gums, and oral health. They conduct routine check-ups and standard procedures to sustain oral health, like removing wisdom teeth. Dentists typically work in private practices or clinical settings.

3. Radiation therapist

National average salary: $93,839 per year

Primary duties: Radiation therapists perform radiation treatments on patients as part of the oncology team. Typically, their patients undergo cancer treatments and require radiation therapy as part of the program constructed by physicians. The equipment they use is highly sensitive and dangerous if administered incorrectly, so radiation therapists often require strong attention to detail skills. They're also responsible for clearly communicating with patients to ensure they're informed and comfortable about the procedures.

4. Respiratory therapist

National average salary: $89,384 per year

Primary duties: Working in hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities, respiratory therapists are responsible for diagnosing and treating breathing disorders in patients. They can help patients implement breathing techniques and use medications to treat conditions such as asthma.

5. Audiologist

National average salary: $86,450 per year

Primary duties: An audiologist is a professional that identifies and treats patients' hearing problems. They operate tests using technical equipment and interpret their findings to diagnose hearing concerns. Audiologists also administer treatments, such as hearing aids and inform their patients on alternative communication methods, like sign language.

6. Clinical dietitian

National average salary: $85,532 per year

Primary Duties: Similar to nutritionists, a clinical dietitian is concerned with the dietary intake of patients. However, clinical dietitians specialise in illnesses or disorders where diet is an essential component to the recovery of patients, such as eating disorders or diabetes. Clinical dietitians work in hospital settings where they can implement a structured diet for patients in care.

7. Dental hygienist

National average salary: $84,271 per year

Primary duties: Dental hygienists work in a dental practice and assist dentists in treating and caring for patients' dental hygiene. They can work independently by performing routine checks and tooth cleaning procedures on patients, taking x-rays, or assisting dentists in advanced procedures.

8. Speech pathologist

National average salary: $82,196 per year

Primary duties: A speech pathologist diagnoses speech and swallowing problems in children and adults. They can work in hospitals, clinics, or private practices to apply their techniques to patients to improve their verbal communication.

9. Chiropractor

National average salary: $80,299 per year

Primary duties: Chiropractors are concerned with patients' bones, muscles and joint problems. They use their extensive knowledge of the human body and how the skeletal system functions to perform treatments to improve spine and joint issues. Chiropractors can work in clinics, hospitals, or private practices to realign bones and administrate treatment plans for patients to incorporate over time.

10. Pharmacist

National average salary: $78,289 per year

Primary duties: Pharmacists administer medications prescribed by doctors to people in the community. They can work in retail pharmacies, hospitals or clinics where they're in close contact with patients requiring medicinal treatments. They are responsible for informing patients on the correct use of medications and attending to any adverse reactions caused by the drugs.

11. Registered nurse

National average salary: $76,474 per year

Primary duties: A registered nurse works with patients to optimise their health and recovery while they're in care. They assist doctors and other professionals who are responsible for performing treatments on patients. Nurses use communication skills to discuss the health situation with patients, their families, and physicians and perform general health maintenance tasks, like administering vaccinations.

12. Paramedic

National average salary: $73,819 per year

Primary duties: Paramedics are professionals that work in the emergency services unit, typically travelling in ambulances to attend to people in the community in a high-risk situation. They complete on-site assessments of patients and perform necessary physical life-saving interventions. Paramedics aim to keep patients and bystanders calm and under control to de-escalate situations and enhance patients' recovery in an emergency.

13. Surgical technician

National average salary: $69,581 per year

Primary duties: Also known as operating theatre technicians, surgical technicians work in a hospital and surgery theatre setting to assist in advanced procedures. They prepare the operating theatre by sterilising equipment and organising tools before surgery. During surgery, they assist surgeons by handing them equipment and providing everything else needed to perform efficient operations.

14. Nutritionist

National average salary: $69,166 per year

Primary duties: Nutritionists can work in various health settings, including clinics, schools, care facilities and hospitals. They're responsible for assessing individuals dietary requirements and curating a tailored nutritional diet to help improve patients or clients health. In a hospital setting, they may consider the operations or health concerns of a patient and construct a dietary plan that assists in their recovery or health optimisation.

16. Anaesthesia technician

National average salary: $60,268 per year

Primary duties: Anaesthesia technicians clean and organise anaesthesia equipment used to sedate patients undergoing surgery. They work alongside anaesthesiologists in hospital and surgical settings and assist with supplying equipment and monitoring patients.

Non-clinical careers

A career in health science can function within a more generalised service of protecting people's health. Many health science careers are non-clinical and related to education, support and laboratory work, including the listed careers below:

16. Public health nurse

National average salary: $114,597 per year

Primary duties: Public health nurses work among local communities and are typically employed by nonprofit or government organisations to undertake health initiatives for the public. They can educate the community or construct programs that assist in preventing diseases among the local population.

17. Epidemiologist

National average salary: $109,813 per year

Primary duties: Epidemiologists are concerned with the spread of diseases and how to minimise their transmission effectively. They are a part of the public health sector where they collaborate with other professionals, conduct tests, research and teach the public about disease prevention. Epidemiologists seek to understand where diseases have come from and how they spread among a community.

Related: Epidemiologist Resume Skills: Definition and Examples

18. Health educator

National average salary: $100,464 per year

Primary duties: Health educators have a less hands-on role in health science by informing the public of best practices to maintain their health and hygiene and its importance. They can educate the public on seasonal illnesses and how to prevent the spread of diseases among the community.

19. Biomedical equipment technician

National average salary: $85,602 per year

Primary duties: Biomedical equipment technicians diagnose issues with medical equipment used to support patients. They typically work in hospital settings where they can analyse and fix essential equipment so that medical professionals can continue to use the equipment effectively. These professionals have extensive knowledge of specific medical equipment and how they function.

Related: 15 Specialised Careers in Pharmacogenomics (With Salaries)

20. Health services administrator

National average salary: $67,753 per year

Primary duties: Health services administrators oversee the general functionality and operations of health facilities, such as hospitals, clinics or offices. Their role includes hiring, training, and managing staff, assisting in implementing new procedures, procuring medical equipment, and analysing areas where the facility can streamline processes or reduce costs.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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