If you’re looking for a quick entry into the medical field with a competitive salary, this article is for you. The pay information in this article was updated in 2024.

There are several quick medical certificate programs that can prepare you for a well-paying entry-level job. Some of the fastest programs can be completed in as little as 6 weeks, but most typically take between 3 months to 1 year to finish.

You can find these programs at community colleges and trade schools but they are sometimes found at hospitals too. The most popular certificate and diploma programs that users of this website seek information about are medical assistant, medical coding, and dental assistant. These programs are all relatively fast and each one is included in the list below.

Top Paying Medical Jobs With Least Time in School

The actual length of time of any program depends on the school you attend and the class load you can handle. A couple of these programs can be completed quicker than 3 months. All salary information is taken directly from the official Bureau of Labor Statistics, and reflects the average salaries of 2023 for the following occupations.

Medical Assistant

In classroom or online certified medical assistant training programs take as little as 6 weeks to complete an accelerated program. CMA training can be built upon and can lead to more advanced degrees if you choose. The mean pay of a medical assistant was $43,350 in 2023, with the top 10% earning $56,480 or more. Find an accredited medical assistant school.

How Long it Takes to Become a Medical Assistant

  • There are some fast medical assistant programs that can take 2-6 months, these are certificate training programs.
  • You can stay in school to earn an associate’s degree, that takes about 2 years

Dental Assistant

Most dental assistant training programs take one year to complete and are offered by medical trade schools and community colleges. You can continue this training to a 2 year associate’s degree if you decide to. The mean annual pay of a dental assistant was $47,350 in 2023. The bottom 10% of dental assistants earned $35,470, the highest 10 percent earned more than $61,060.

How Long it Takes to Become a Dental Assistant

Medical Records Specialist (Medical Coding)

Medical coding specialist training generally takes about 6-8 weeks at an accredited online medical trade college. Though you could go on to earn a diploma or an associate’s degree, which would take longer. Certification is not required but getting certified is highly regarded by employers and definitely recommended. The mean salary for a medical records specialist was $53,690 in 2023. The lowest 10 percent made $35,080, and the highest 10 percent earned $77,810 on average.

How Long it Takes to Become a Medical Records Specialist

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technician training programs are normally between 600 and 800 hours and take about a year to complete. Programs are offered at community colleges and trade schools. “Pharmacy techs are like the middleman between the patient and the pharmacist.” You can make an average yearly salary of $43,330 as a pharmacy tech. The top ten percent earned $57,130 or more.

How Long it Takes to Become a Pharmacy Tech

Surgical Technologist

Surgical technologist certificate training programs usually take between 9 to 15 months to complete. These programs can be taken at local community colleges and medical trade schools. You can decide to continue your certificate training to an associate degree, which will take 2 years. The mean annual pay for surgical technologists was $62,250 in 2023, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,150.

How Long it Takes to Become a Surgical Tech

Emergency Medical Technician

EMTs are entry level patient care workers who get their training at medical trade schools or community colleges. The next step in this training is advanced emergency medical technicians (AEMTs), and then the highest level of EMTs are paramedics. As an EMT you’ll earn $43,100 on average, with those who have been in the career around ten years are making over $59,390.

How Long it Takes to Become an EMT

  • EMT: 1-3 months of EMT training from an accredited school
  • AEMT: additional 400 hours of additional training to be qualified for certification

 Home Health Aide

Accredited home health aide training programs are about 75 hours long so, it can take a few weeks to a few months depending on how much time you can commit to your study. There are generally time limits to home health aide courses. The average pay for home health aides was $33,380 in 2023. Entry level earned about $23,910, and the top 10% earned $42,450 on average.

How Long it Takes to Become a Home Health Aide

  • Complete an accredited 75 hour HHA training program
  • Bonus work: get certification from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC).

Lab Technician

Certificate training programs in the laboratory sciences normally take about 1 year to complete. You can definitely use this training as a starting point for more schooling and advanced degrees in the field. The mean salary for medical laboratory technicians was $62,870 in 2023. Entry level techs earned about $36,770, and the top 10 % earned $93,900.

How Long it Takes to Become a Lab Technician

Phlebotomy Technician

Phlebotomy technician certification training generally takes 1 or 2 semesters at an accredited trade school or community college. Phlebotomy technicians are responsible for collecting and delivering blood to the laboratory for testing. Phlebotomists made a mean salary of $40,580 per in 2022. Entry level phlebotomists earned about $30,250, and the top 10 percent earned about $51,610.

How Long it Takes to Become a Phlebotomy Technician

  • Complete a 6 to 8 month phlebotomy training program.
  • Earn certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology, American Medical Technologists, or the American Association of Medical Personnel.
  • Earn your license if required in your state.

Medical Billing Clerk

There are online medical billing certificate programs that take a year or less to complete. This is yet another career where you can choose to spend more time on your training for a 2 year associate degree. The mean annual wage for billing and posting clerks was $47,120 in 2023.

How Long it Takes to Become a Medical Biller

  • Complete a medical billing certificate program in 1 year or less
  • You can continue medical billing training to associate or bachelor’s degree

Medical Secretary

You’ll need your high school diploma or GED to get into a medical secretary program. Most employers will expect that you’ve gone through 1 year certificate training at an accredited medical trade school or have attended a 2 year community college program. Average entry level salary of a medical secretary was $31,900 in 2023. As your experience increases, your paycheck can as well. In 2023, the average salary for medical secretaries was $43,380, with the top 10 percent making $58,340 or more.

How Long it Takes to Become a Medical Secretary

  • Medical secretary certificate training takes about 1 year
  • At community college it takes two years to earn an associate degree.

Medical workers are in demand and the careers listed below generally have high employment rates. They also offer above average salary potential and they’re growing faster than average.

If you’re ready to choose a program, use the search application to connect with a school near you.

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