What Do Health Care Jobs Pay in 2024? Salary + Career Guide

Photo of health care professionals examining an x-ray

quick answer

The average health care worker makes $46.10/hour ($89,895 annually). Salaries vary by experience, from $52K to $148K. Assistant or Aide jobs tend to be on the lower end, while jobs that require more education, like Physical Therapist or Dental Hygienist, are typically on the higher end.

Is health care a good career path? You may have asked yourself this question, among others, while contemplating potential job options. 

In general, health care jobs pay well, with the average health care worker earning an average annual salary of $89,895. In addition to gainful employment, health care can be a rewarding career path for those passionate about helping others and offers a wide range of opportunities.

However, it also requires dedication, empathy, and a commitment to lifelong learning to navigate the challenges of the health care industry. 

Here’s a complete guide to the pros and cons of a health care career, job requirements, salary ranges, and the top health care jobs to consider. 

Top 16 Jobs in Health Care

If you’re looking to find rewarding careers in health care without committing hundreds of thousands of dollars to student loans and debt, there are many options available. Many entry-level jobs in health care offer the perfect launch pad for a fulfilling, long-term career in the field.

Here are 16 fulfilling health care jobs — all of which you can begin in a matter of months. We’ll unpack each role’s core responsibilities, average salary, and required education so you can understand the path to start your career. 

1. Medical Clinic Unit Clerk

Illustration describing the medical clinic clerk role

Average Annual Salary: $47,078
Education Required: Post-Secondary Diploma or Certificate
Average Time to Complete: 12 Months

Kicking off our list is Medical Clinic Unit Clerk, a health care professional who ensures the daily operations of a medical facility run smoothly. In this dynamic, entry-level role — a hybrid of administrative work and hands-on work with patients — you’re responsible for:

  • Serving as the first point of contact for patients (greeting in-person, answering phones, scheduling appointments, escorting to exam rooms, etc.) 
  • Assisting patients in completing necessary documents
  • Managing and safeguarding medical records
  • Transcribing Doctors’ notes and entering data into electronic databases

As an entry-level health care job, you’ll gain hands-on, foundational experience working in the medical field with little prior experience required. In some locations, a secondary school diploma or G.E.D. may be the minimum education required. In other areas, a certificate program or post-secondary diploma — which can take as little as one year to complete — is preferred. Regardless of whether it’s required in your area, securing your certification can give you a competitive advantage. 

2. Medical Office Assistant 

Average Annual Salary: $47,409
Education Required: Post-Secondary Diploma or Certificate
Average Time to Complete: 12 Months

As an entry-level health care job, a Medical Office Assistant is similar to a Medical Clinic Unit Clerk. Medical Office Assistants complete an array of administrative work in a medical setting, including: 

  • Scheduling appointments 
  • Assisting patients in completing required paperwork 
  • Ordering supplies, using fax and copy machines, and other office management tasks
  • Entering data and transcribing handwritten notes 
  • Providing basic finance support like invoicing, payment processing, and accounts receivable
  • Taking patient vital signs and preparing exam rooms 

The key difference between a Medical Office Assistant and a Medical Clinic Unit Clerk is that Medical Office Assistants complete administrative duties but may also assist with basic medical tasks like preparing exam rooms and taking patient vitals upon arrival. 

Typically, a post-secondary diploma or certificate, which you can generally complete in one year, is required for the role. 

3. Nursing Assistant 

Average Annual Salary: $48,531
Education Required: Secondary School Diploma (Required); Post-Secondary Diploma or Certificate (Preferred)
Average Time to Complete: 12 Months

Also known as a Health Care Assistant, a Nursing Assistant is responsible for the basic care of patients. Core responsibilities of this entry-level health care job include:

  • Responding to patient calls to assess the needs of the patient, escalating to Nurses or doctors as needed 
  • Administering medications to patients 
  • Serving meals to patients 
  • Taking and monitoring vital signs 
  • Preparing patients for lab work 
  • Supporting patients with limited mobility

Becoming a Nursing Assistant can be an incredibly rewarding health care job that enables hands-on work with patients. While a secondary school diploma is typically the minimum education required for the role, a post-secondary diploma is often preferred by some medical facilities and can give candidates a competitive edge in a crowded field. 

4. Health Care Aide

Average Annual Salary: $51,368
Education Required: Post-Secondary Diploma or Certificate
Average Time to Complete: 6 Months 

Similar to a Nursing Assistant, a Health Care Aide supports nurses and doctors by providing hands-on patient support and care, including: 

  • Serving patient meals 
  • Taking and monitoring vital signs 
  • Supporting patients with limited mobility 
  • Providing hygienic care including bathing and dressing
  • Assisting in sample collection for diagnostic testing (blood, urine, etc.) 
  • Maintaining a tidy and sterile environment for the patient 

Health Care Aides are sought-after roles in both hospitals and long-term care facilities where patients might suffer from chronic illness. Essential skills Aides should have include strong interpersonal skills, excellent written and verbal communication skills, basic clerical skills, foundational knowledge of basic grooming, and knowledge of best practices in sanitizing medical equipment. 

A post-secondary diploma or certificate is generally required for the role and can be completed in as little as six months. 

5. Pharmacy Technician

Average Annual Salary: $52,266
Education Required: Post-Secondary Diploma or Certificate
Average Time to Complete: 1-3 Years

A Pharmacy Technician supports the work of a Pharmacist by completing much of the technical work required for the role. A Pharmacy Technician fulfills prescriptions for the Pharmacist to verify and approve. Additionally, Pharmacy Technician duties include counting pills, measuring liquids, mixing solutions, and inventory management. They are also responsible for:

  • Entering data manually into the pharmacy’s electronic files, such as a patient’s prescription details and medical history 
  • Completing prescription orders for the Pharmacist to approve 
  • Inventorying medication supply
  • Providing medical device use instructions for patients 

Pharmacy Technician roles are in demand at hospitals or retail pharmacies, and the education and training required can vary by province or territory. For example, completion of a two- or three-year pharmaceutical program at the College of Pharmacists is required in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

In Alberta, a diploma or certificate from a program recognized by the Alberta College of Pharmacy is required. Be sure to understand the individual needs and requirements of the province in which you intend to work before setting out to start your education or training. Pharmacy Technician salaries also vary by province.

6. Pharmacy Assistant

Illustration describing a pharmacy assistant role

Average Annual Salary: $53,739
Education Required: Secondary School Diploma (Required); Post-Secondary Diploma or Certificate (Preferred)
Average Time to Complete: 7 Months 

A Pharmacy Assistant is responsible for administrative duties such as customer service, data entry, and restocking supplies. The role is similar to the role of a Pharmacy Technician, but the primary difference between the two is that a Technician is focused on supporting the Pharmacist, whereas an Assistant is focused on supporting customers. Additionally, a Pharmacy Assistant is responsible for:

  • Fielding customer service calls and inquiries 
  • Entering patient information into electronic databases 
  • Preparing insurance claims
  • Processing prescription payment 
  • Ordering supplies based on predetermined inventory 
  • Assisting in packaging and labeling of prescription medications 

Pharmacy Assistant qualifications are unique to individual provinces and territories — and can further vary depending on whether you want to work in a hospital, retail pharmacy, or long-term care facility. In general, hospitals tend to require more advanced credentials, such as a post-secondary certificate or diploma program, which you can complete in just seven months.

7. Phlebotomist

Average Annual Salary: $57,142
Education Required: Post-Secondary Certification
Average Time to Complete: 6 Months or Less 

What is a Phlebotomist, you may wonder? A Phlebotomist is a job in health care specifically trained to collect blood samples from patients for medical testing. The core responsibilities of a Phlebotomist include:

  • Sanitizing and maintaining medical equipment 
  • Confirming a patient’s identity and verifying basic information
  • Drawing blood and performing transfusions 
  • Maintaining a sterile environment for patients
  • Organizing collected blood samples, including labeling, storing, and tracking 
  • Monitoring and assisting patients experiencing lightheadedness, needle anxiety, or any other adverse effects 

Phlebotomists are typically employed by blood donation centers, diagnostic labs, hospitals, private clinics, and other medical facilities. To become a Phlebotomist, candidates must complete a college or post-secondary program in Medical Laboratory Science. Additional licensing or certification from regulating authorities — such as the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science — may also be a requirement in some provinces. 

8. Physical Therapist Assistant

Average Annual Salary: $57,451
Education Required: Post-Secondary Diploma or Certificate
Average Time to Complete: 2 Years 

A Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) provides patient care under the direct supervision of a Physical Therapist (PT) by implementing treatment plans designed by a licensed PT. Additional responsibilities of a PTA include:

  • Lifting and supporting the patients as needed 
  • Educating patients on proper stretching, posture, and corrective exercises
  • Measuring for and applying assistive canes, walking aids, and braces
  • Observing patients during therapy sessions to monitor performance
  • Documenting patient progress during the treatment plan
  • Completing administrative tasks such as managing inventory and ordering supplies

PTAs are commonly employed by hospitals, schools, long-term care facilities, and private clinics. Required training and certification generally includes a post-secondary diploma in related coursework, which can be completed in two years. An additional two years of practical training in the field is also generally required.

9. Dietitian

Illustration describing the role of a dietitian

Average Annual Salary: $63,556
Education Required: University Degree or Post-Secondary Diploma
Average Time to Complete: 5 Years

Also known as a Nutritionist, Dietitians are specialized roles that consult with patients to understand their health goals. For example, imagine a patient was prescribed medication for a disease that causes adverse side effects. A Nutritionist can work with the patient to adjust their diet to help reduce the negative effects of the new medication. So what does a Dietitian do, exactly? Core responsibilities include: 

  • Assessing the overall health of patients and identifying nutritional gaps 
  • Developing and implementing unique diet plans for patients based on individual needs and goals
  • Consulting with patients and educating organizations on nutritional best practices
  • Advising government agencies and organizations on policy recommendations relating to nutrition

Dietitians typically work in private clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and consulting firms. To become a Dietitian, candidates must complete a university degree or post-secondary program accredited by the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP). Additionally, they must complete practical training and secure their licensing through the provincial regulatory agency. 

10. Paramedic

Average Annual Salary: $66,254
Education Required: College or Post-Secondary Paramedical Training Program
Average Time to Complete: 1-3 Years

The primary role of a Paramedic is to assess a medical emergency and provide urgent care to a patient before being transported to a hospital’s emergency room. Typically, Paramedic services are required in the event of a sudden illness or a significant, sustained injury. Core responsibilities of a Paramedic include: 

  • Assessing the scope of care required in a medical emergency (sustained injury or sudden illness) 
  • Applying emergency services with the assistance of portable medical devices such as defibrillators, caring for wounds, and providing oxygen
  • Stabilizing a patient’s vitals (if required) and transporting them to the hospital for additional care
  • Documenting and recording the nature of any sustained injuries or medical incident

Hospitals, private ambulance companies, government agencies, and other private care facilities typically employ Paramedics. To become a Paramedic, certification from a one-to three-year recognized training program is required, plus professional licensing, which is required across all provinces of Canada.

11. X-Ray Technician

Average Annual Salary: $83,941
Education Required: Post-Secondary Diploma in Radiography or Radiological Technology
Average Time to Complete Training: 2-3 Years

The primary role of an X-Ray Technician is to operate a hospital or medical facility’s X-ray equipment and diagnostic imaging technology. Radiologists will then use that imaging to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions, injuries, and illnesses. In addition to X-ray technology, the X-Ray Technician is also responsible for operating:

  • Radiographic technology 
  • Fluoroscopic equipment 
  • CT scans
  • Mammography

Beyond the required post-secondary education in radiography, certified licensing from your province or territory’s regulatory body is also a job requirement.

12. Massage Therapist

Illustrating describing the role of a massage therapist

Average Annual Salary: $87,974
Education Required: Post-Secondary Diploma or Certificate
Average Time to Complete Training: 3 Years

With an increased focus on wellness in recent years, demand for massage therapy has grown as well. Massage therapy is often prescribed by doctors to help patients treat stress and ease physical tension. Massage Therapists are most often employed by private health clinics, long-term care facilities, and rehabilitation centers. Massage Therapists are responsible for:

  • Assessing patient mobility and range of motion 
  • Providing therapeutic massage by applying pressure or manipulating joints and soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.)
  • Creating a personalized treatment plan for patients to execute at home through stretching and gentle motion 
  • Documenting and maintaining client records related to their personalized therapy

In addition to completing an accredited program, massage therapy is also regulated in some provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and British Columbia, and further licensing issued by a regulatory body is required to practice in those locations.

13. Respiratory Therapist 

Average Annual Salary: $88,760
Education Required: Post-Secondary Degree in Respiratory Therapy
Average Time to Complete Training: 3 Years 

What does a Respiratory Therapist do? Respiratory Therapists work with patients experiencing breathing issues — both chronic and acute — to assess their condition and provide a customized treatment plan to help strengthen the patient’s airway. 

A Respiratory Therapist’s core responsibilities include:

  • Observing and assessing the state of a patient’s breathing capacity
  • Conducting diagnostic tests to better understand the source of a patient’s breathing difficulty 
  • Creating a personalized treatment plan with other Doctors and medical staff
  • Educating patients on how to use at-home breathing machines and portable technology 
  • Documenting a patient’s progress between treatment sessions to assess the efficacy of the treatment plan 

To become a Respiratory Therapist, a candidate must complete a post-secondary program specific to respiratory therapy, though some programs do require a Bachelor’s or even a Master’s Degree in the field. In addition, a period of clinical training in the field is further required, as is passing a written exam and securing a province-specific license before beginning work. 

14. Physical Therapist 

Average Annual Salary: $93,510
Education Required: Master’s Degree in Physiotherapy
Average Time to Complete Training: 2-3 Years

Also referred to as a Physiotherapist, a Physical Therapist (PT) is responsible for working with patients to improve their mobility as a result of an injury, illness, or natural course of aging. Additionally, a PT’s core responsibilities include: 

  • Assessing the extent or limitations of a patient’s mobility 
  • Discussing a patient’s individual goals or challenges 
  • Determining a personalized treatment plan 
  • Observing and evaluating a patient’s progress toward their goals

To become a Physical Therapist, you must:

  1. Earn a Master’s Degree in Physiotherapy. 
  2. Register as a PT in the province or territory in which you intend to work.
  3. Pass the National Physiotherapy Competency Examination.
  4. Secure a license to practice from your location’s regulating authority.



15. Dental Hygienist

Average Annual Salary: $99,242
Education Required: Post-Secondary Diploma in Dental Hygiene
Average Time to Complete Training: 2 Years

A Dental Hygienist is responsible for cleaning a patient’s teeth to help prevent cavities and assessing a patient’s mouth for latent oral health issues. Additional responsibilities include:

  • Performing routine teeth cleanings 
  • Examining gums for signs of disease 
  • Assessing and documenting a patient’s general oral health 
  • Operating dental X-ray machines
  • Applying fluoride treatments as needed 
  • Educating patients on dental hygiene and care at home
  • Maintaining sterile tools and exam room 

In addition to completing a college, university, or post-secondary training program, Dental Hygienists must also pass the National Dental Hygiene Certification Exam and secure licensing from the regulatory body of the province in which they intend to work. 

16. Midwife

Average Annual Salary: $112,245
Education Required: Degree in Midwifery or Equivalent Program
Average Time to Complete Training: 3-4 Years

A Midwife is a medical professional trained to care for pregnant women from the early weeks after conception to six weeks postpartum. A Midwife’s primary responsibilities are:

  • Routinely examining pregnant women to monitor the health of the mother and fetus during the pregnancy
  • Conducting ultrasounds and routine blood work to screen the pregnancy for any abnormalities
  • Providing support and coaching for the expectant parents during birth 
  • Educating new parents on the basic care of an infant, including bathing, lactation, and feeding

To become a Midwife, you must complete a university degree in midwifery or a related post-secondary program. Additionally, a period of hands-on, practical training in the field is required. As a regulated field, the final step to practice as a Midwife is to secure your licensing, which varies by province or territory. 

How To Get a Job in Health Care With No Experience

Entry-level jobs in health care can offer valuable, hands-on experience without requiring extensive education, training, or prior experience. If you’re looking to get a start in the health care industry, many jobs require minimal to no experience. 

Here’s how to start or switch careers to get a job in health care with no experience: 

  1. Complete secondary school. Most employers expect to see that, at minimum, you’ve secured a secondary school diploma, G.E.D., or equivalent.
  2. Enroll in a Post-Secondary program. Post-secondary programs offer valuable training in specialized fields, and programs can typically be completed in three years or less.
  3. Gain preliminary experience. Many post-secondary programs include practical training, which can be a valuable asset to include on your resume. Additionally, internships and unpaid volunteer opportunities are worth exploring if you’re building your resume from scratch.
  4. Build your network. Reach out to recruiters on LinkedIn, attend networking events, or utilize your school’s career support team to establish relationships in your field of study.
  5. Polish your resume. Many entry-level jobs in health care are lucrative for a wide pool of applicants, so you’ll want to create a resume that gets noticed.
  6. Apply. When it comes to a job description’s list of qualifications, don’t worry about checking every box. Just be sure to find ways to demonstrate why the experience you do have can help fill any potential gaps. 

Is Health Care a Good Career Path? Pros and Cons

Embarking on a career in health care presents a myriad of opportunities and challenges. From the impact you can have on people’s lives to the variety and learning opportunities available, health care can be a rewarding journey.

But like any path, it comes with its own set of challenges as well. Beyond what health care jobs pay, here’s an overview of the pros and cons you might encounter entering this dynamic field.


Many factors make a career in health care worth it, like:

  • Fulfilling work: Whether it’s diagnosing illnesses, providing treatment, or offering emotional support, the sense of fulfillment derived from helping patients can be incredibly rewarding.
  • Job stability: The demand for health care services is consistently high, providing job security even in uncertain economic times.
  • Diverse career options: The health care industry offers a wide range of career paths and specialties, catering to various interests and skills.
  • Continuous learning and growth: From staying updated on medical advancements to pursuing advanced degrees or certificates, health care professionals are always encouraged to grow and improve.
  • Financial rewards: While the journey to become a health care professional may involve significant investment in education and training, the payoff in competitive salaries and benefits can be substantial.


On the other hand, health care isn’t without its challenges. While every health care career path or medical setting will be different, here are some general difficulties you may encounter in the field:

  • High stress levels: High-pressure environments, long hours, and life-and-death situations can cause intense stress and even burnout without proper support.
  • Demanding education and training: Some health care career paths require years of rigorous training and a demanding curriculum to enter the field. You may have to gain experience through internships or residencies or pass difficult licensure exams.
  • Emotional toll: Regularly witnessing suffering, death, and traumatic events can take a toll on your mental health or lead to compassion fatigue.
  • Work-life balance challenges: Some health care positions may require irregular hours, including overnight shifts, weekends, and holidays, which can disrupt your work-life balance. 
  • Bureaucratic and administrative burdens: Health care professionals sometimes have to navigate complex systems like insurance processes, documentation requirements, and regulatory compliance, which can detract from time spent on patient care.

Health Care Job Outlook

The job outlook for health care in Canada is robust, with the sector standing as the second-largest employer in the Canadian economy. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for health care professionals has more than doubled. With a shortage of health care workers and an increasing aging population, health care employment in Canada is expected to remain strong in the coming years.

Health Care Job Salaries

So what do health care jobs pay? Health care jobs that require no experience include anything from administrative roles to hands-on positions working with patients. Annual salaries for these roles can vary dramatically depending on province or territory, and you should expect higher-paying roles to require more advanced degrees. 

The average health care worker in Canada earns $46.10 per hour or $89,895 annually. Naturally, compensation varies dramatically depending on whether the job is an entry-level position or a more experienced mid- to senior-level role, ranging from $52,156 on the low end to $148,794 on the high end. It’s important to note that annual salaries or hourly wages for entry-level health care jobs may also differ by province or territory.

Graph showing the range of salaries for health care professionals.

Health Care Job and Education Requirements

From degrees to specialized training programs, understanding the educational pathways and experience requirements of health care jobs is essential for aspiring professionals. Depending on what career path you take, the requirements may differ from entry-level to advanced degrees and training.


Education requirements will vary depending on the specific health care job you pursue. While health care careers are often associated with lengthy educational paths, plenty of health care jobs require only a post-secondary diploma or certificate that can be obtained in a year or two.

  • Secondary School Diploma: Entry-level positions like Medical Assistants and other administrative roles may only require graduation from secondary school. 
  • Post-Secondary Diploma or Certificate: This level of education can be completed by attending a short-term program at a community college or technical institute. It’ll typically focus on the specific career you’re pursuing, like a Pharmacy Technician or X-Ray Technician.
  • Post-Secondary Degree: An Associate or Bachelor’s Degree may be required for health care positions in nursing or respiratory therapy.
  • Master’s Degree: Advanced post-graduate degrees are usually required for more advanced positions like Nurse Practitioners, Physicians, and other specialists.

Professional Experience

Beyond educational programs, some health care positions may require additional experience. This could include:

  • Clinical experience: Many health care jobs require clinical experience through internships, practicums, or clinical rotations during educational programs.
  • Internships or residencies: Certain health care professions, like Physicians or Pharmacists, typically require the completion of an internship or residency after obtaining their degree. This provides hands-on training under the supervision of experienced professionals.
  • Volunteer work: While not always required, volunteer work in hospitals, clinics, or nursing homes can give you a competitive edge in the field. 
  • Research experience: Some health care careers in specialized fields or focusing on research may require this type of experience. This could involve conducting clinical trials, participating in research projects, or publishing scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. 

Graphic listing technical and soft skills often required in health care jobs.


The specific skills required will depend on the health care path you choose, but here are some general hard and soft skills you may need to be successful in the field.

Technical skills: 

  • Medical knowledge: Understanding medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, and pathology relevant to your specific health care profession is essential.
  • Clinical skills: Proficiency in tasks like administering medication, conducting physical assessments, or operating medical equipment may be required.
  • Technical proficiency: You may need to be able to use health care technology and software systems like electronic health records (EHR), medical imaging, or laboratory analysis.
  • Diagnostic skills: You should have the capacity to interpret medical tests, diagnostic imaging, and laboratory results to assist in patient diagnosis and treatment planning.
  • Treatment skills: You may need to be competent in delivering medical treatments, therapies, and interventions according to established protocols and standards of care.

Soft skills:

  • Communication: Effective written and verbal communication skills are essential to convey information clearly to patients, families, and colleagues.
  • Empathy: Health care professionals need to demonstrate compassion and provide emotional support to patients during challenging situations.
  • Teamwork: Collaboration within multidisciplinary health care teams is critical for effective patient care.
  • Problem-solving: Critical thinking skills are necessary to assess complex health care issues and develop practical solutions to improve patient care outcomes.
  • Time management: Health care professionals often have to juggle a variety of tasks and workloads while still maintaining safety standards.
  • Attention to detail: Meticulous attention to detail helps with tasks like documenting patient information accurately, adhering to protocols and procedures, and catching issues before they become a larger problem.
  • Ethics and integrity: Maintaining patient confidentiality and upholding ethical standards of conduct requires a commitment to principles and professionalism.


Which Health Career Is the Best? 

The best health career will depend on your interests, skills, and goals. The best health career for someone aligns with their passion, offers opportunities for personal and professional growth, and allows them to make a meaningful impact on others’ lives.

What Health Career Path Makes the Most Money a Year?

The highest paying jobs in health care include roles as a Family Physician (median salary: $250,000) or an Orthopaedic Surgeon (median salary: $335,000). Those careers, however, require an average of eight years of education, followed by an additional five years of medical residency — a massive commitment of time and money.

What Is the Hardest Health Care Job?

The hardest health care job is subjective and can vary depending on personal weaknesses, preferences, and workplace environment. However, roles like Emergency Room Physicians, Critical Care Nurses, or Surgeons often face high-stress situations, long hours, and intense pressure, making them challenging occupations in the heath care field.

Start Your Health Care Career With Robertson College

So, is health care a good career path? While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, the health care field offers a variety of fulfilling opportunities for those passionate about making a difference in people’s lives. 

If you’re considering a career in health care, keep in mind that a post-secondary diploma or certificate can open a lot of doors without the intense job or education requirements typically associated with health care jobs.

Ready to start one of the many rewarding careers in health care? Explore our in-demand School of Health programs now.

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