What Do Health Care Jobs Pay? 16 Careers in Health Care to Pursue

what do health care jobs pay

quick answer

What do health care jobs pay? Discover 16 rewarding, entry-level jobs in health care that don’t require a massive commitment of time and money.

Have you ever wondered what the highest paying job in Canada is?

Unsurprisingly, some of the highest paying jobs are in health care, including 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.

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.  

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, but generally range from $39,000 annually to six-figure-salaries. Naturally, you should expect higher-paying roles to require more advanced degrees. 

Here, we’ll explore 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

medical unit clerk salary

Average Annual Salary: $39,260 
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: $44,336
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: $46,458
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: $47,869
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 that 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: $48,771
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 of the role. A Pharmacy Technician fulfills prescriptions for the Pharmacist to verify and approve. Additionally, their core job description includes tasks such as 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

pharmacy assistant salary

Average Annual Salary: $50,710
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 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 

Qualifications for the role 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. Physical Therapist Assistant

Average Annual Salary: $51,302
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 Physical Therapist Assistant (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 course of 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. 

8. Paramedic

Average Annual Salary: $52,655
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 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.

9. Phlebotomist

Average Annual Salary: $57,225
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 the purposes of 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. 

Phlebotomist vs Medical Laboratory Assistant

Pursuing a career as a Medical Laboratory Assistant can be a perfect launchpad for a career in Phlebotomy. The key difference between the two is that Medical Laboratory Assistants do not work exclusively with blood samples, but collect other fluids such as urine or saliva.

10. Dietitian

dietitian salary

Average Annual Salary: $58,599
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 their 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.

11. Physical Therapist 

Average Annual Salary: $66,360
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.

12. X-Ray Technician

Average Annual Salary: $77,130
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 necessary in order to work in the field.

13. Respiratory Therapist 

Average Annual Salary: $80,819
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 efficacy of 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 prior to beginning work. 

14. Massage Therapist

massage therapist salary

Average Annual Salary: $82,728
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 the mobility and range of motion of patients 
  • Providing therapeutic massage by applying pressure or manipulating joints and soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.)
  • Creating a personalized treatment plan for patients to independently 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.

15. Dental Hygienist

Average Annual Salary: $93,818
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 you intend to work. 

16. Midwife

Average Annual Salary: $102,928
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 course of 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 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. 

Midwife vs Obstetrician 

While there is much crossover between roles, a Midwife differs from an Obstetrician in that a Midwife cares for relatively routine pregnancies that don’t require extensive care or special monitoring. 

In addition to providing basic care for pregnancies, Obstetricians are also trained surgeons who are able to offer emergency care and intervention, particularly for high-risk pregnancies or when there is elevated or immediate risk to a mother or baby’s health. 

How Much Are Health Care Workers Paid in Canada?

The average health care worker in Canada earns $23.11 per hour or $45,064 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 $35,000 on the low end to $100,000 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. 

What Job in Health Care Pays the Most? 

Some of the highest paying jobs in Canada include jobs in health care. But what job in health care pays the most? The highest salaries can be attributed to Surgeons and Physicians, but these roles also tend to require the longest amount of education and training — with an equally lofty price tag for tuition.

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, there are any jobs that require minimal to no experience available. 

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. 

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

Similar Blog Posts

School of Health March 16, 2023

How Much Do Pharmacy Technicians Make in Canada? [CHART]

Choosing a career comes down to passion. However, it’s important to understand your projected earnings before entering a new career path. For those interested in the health care sector, a Pharmacy Technician might be a suitable profession with optimal salaries and growth in both pay...

woman standing on a massage clinic

School of Health March 1, 2022

How to Become a Massage Therapist

To become a certified massage therapist you need to have proper education and undergo training to help develop the skills needed to practice. If you are interested in this profession, Robertson College has a massage therapy diploma program. It is a 2-year research and evidence-informed...

Woman studying medical terminology course online

School of Health November 8, 2021

Online Medical Terminology Course With Certificate

If you intend to work in a health care career, having the ability to communicate with physicians, doctors and other medical professionals is extremely important. Understanding medical terms is vital to your job performance and the well-being of patients.  Our Medical Terminology Online Course provides...

Ready to Get Started?

Once you take the first step, one of our Student Admissions Advisors will get in touch to better understand your goals for the future.

Apply Now