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Health Science

Careers in this cluster

Cluster definition

Are science classes your favorite?
Do you enjoy helping people?
Have you served as a volunteer in a hospital?
Do you follow instructions exactly?
Can you work fast in an emergency?
Do you take good notes in class?

If you answered yes to two or more of the questions above, you might be interested in considering a career in health science.

In the Health Science cluster you would promote health and wellness or diagnose and treat injuries and disease. You could work directly with people. Or you could work in laboratories to get information used in research or diagnosis. Health service employees go to work at a variety of different sites. Some work in hospitals, offices, or laboratories. Others work on cruise ships, at sports arenas, or within communities.


Biotechnology research and development

In the Biotechnology Research and Development pathway, you would be a scientist who works in a laboratory. Through your research, you would try to discover new treatments for diseases or injuries. Or you may work to invent medical devices to help patients live fuller lives. The inventions you work on may also lead to more accurate test results.

Diagnostics services

In the Diagnostics Services pathway, you would conduct tests and do evaluations. The goal is to assist with detecting and identifying diseases and injuries. Once the diagnosis is made, the test results would be used to set up a treatment plan.

Health informatics

You would be responsible for compiling patient information and records in the Health Informatics pathway. You might also use the records to create bills for services. Included in this pathway are administrators who plan and direct the delivery of health care. You may manage hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, or departments.

Support services

Employees in the Support Services pathway provide assistance so that therapeutic services workers can do their job. You might make sure that medical machines operate. Or you might make sure that medical offices operate smoothly. Or you might be sure that patients and employees get meals that are healthy and meet diet guidelines.

Therapeutic services

In the Therapeutic Services pathway, you work directly with patients to improve their health. The contact with the patient may be limited to a visit or to contact over many months. You may provide direct care and treatment for patients. You may also give information and counseling so patients can care for themselves.

Level of education and earnings

The training and education requirements to work in the occupations included in the Health Services cluster depend on the specialty and the type of work performed. Some occupations require less than one month of on-the-job training; however, some scientists need a doctoral degree to conduct research.

The information provided in the table below, presents the level of education or training required to work in the occupations related to this cluster and the median wages for those occupations. Note that some occupations may have more than one required level because the type of work performed may vary in specific jobs.

Also, keep in mind that there are non-wage benefits that workers receive. For example, these types of benefits are health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. It is important to consider these benefits when you are looking at pay. Some benefits, such as health care, are worth a lot of money. You should carefully weigh a job that pays well but does not have many benefits against one that has good benefits and lower pay. Remember, how much an occupation pays is only one factor to consider when making career choices.

  National Annual
Median Wage
Washington Annual
Median Wage
Short-Term, On-the-Job Training (Less than One Month)
Home Health Aides$24,200 $27,690
Occupational Therapist Aides$28,160 $56,620
Orderlies$28,060 $30,940
Pharmacy Aides$26,450 $29,470
Physical Therapist Aides$26,240 $28,330
Psychiatric Aides$29,180 $31,930
Veterinary Assistants$27,540 $30,260
Moderate-Term, On-the-Job Training (One to Twelve Months)
Hearing Aid Specialists$52,770 not available
Medical Equipment Preparers$36,240 $39,990
Medical Secretaries$35,760 $41,320
Pharmacy Technicians$32,700 $42,390
Long-Term, On-the-Job Training (Over One Year)
Opticians$37,010 $43,070
Postsecondary Vocational Training (Certificate or Diploma)
Dental Assistants$38,660 $42,260
Health Information Technicians$40,350 $43,500
Licensed Practical Nurses$46,240 $55,650
Medical Assistants$33,610 $40,620
Medical Transcriptionists$34,770 $37,690
Nursing Assistants$28,540 $31,220
Ophthalmic Technicians$36,530 $43,510
Phlebotomists$34,480 $38,010
Psychiatric Technicians$32,870 $40,760
Surgical Technologists$47,300 $57,240
Associate Degree
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians$56,850 $53,810
Dental Hygienists$74,820 $92,820
Dietetic Technicians$27,140 $36,250
Medical Laboratory Technicians$52,330 $54,450
Medical Sonographers$72,510 $89,210
MRI Technologists$71,670 $92,420
Nuclear Medicine Technologists$76,820 $92,150
Occupational Therapist Assistants$60,220 $62,690
Physical Therapist Assistants$58,040 $57,430
Radiation Therapists$82,330 $99,570
Radiologic Technologists$59,520 $70,190
Registered Nurses$71,730 $79,920
Respiratory Therapists$60,280 $68,480
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians$34,420 $37,440
Bachelor's Degree
Athletic Trainers$47,510 $47,290
Biomedical Engineers$88,550 $84,530
Dietitians$60,370 $63,580
Exercise Physiologists$49,270 $47,710
Medical Laboratory Technologists$52,330 $54,450
Music Therapists$47,860 $57,460
Recreational Therapists$47,860 $57,460
Work Experience Plus a Bachelor's or Higher Degree
Health Services Administrators$99,730 $107,270
Master's Degree
Art Therapists$47,860 $57,460
Genetic Counselors$80,370 $83,350
Nurse Anesthetists$167,950 $186,000
Nurse Midwives$103,770 $101,800
Nurse Practitioners$107,030 $116,350
Occupational Therapists$84,270 $80,300
Orthotic and Prosthetic Specialists$69,120 $70,560
Physical Therapists$87,930 $86,090
Physician Assistants$108,610 $122,710
Speech Pathologists$75,920 - $77,510 $73,250 - $83,990
Professional Degree
Acupuncturists$73,960 $66,390
Allergists and Immunologists$200,890 8
Anesthesiologists8 8
Chiropractors$71,410 $63,010
Dentists$151,850 - 8 $171,430 - 8
Dermatologists$200,890 8
Family and General Practitioners$201,100 8
Internists$194,500 8
Naturopathic Physicians$73,960 $66,390
Obstetricians and Gynecologists8 8
Optometrists$111,790 $113,220
Pediatricians$170,560 $183,720
Pharmacists$126,120 $130,250
Podiatrists$129,550 $109,320
Psychiatrists8 8
Radiologists$200,890 8
Surgeons8 8
Veterinarians$93,830 $89,180
Doctoral Degree
Audiologists$75,920 - $77,510 $73,250 - $83,990
Medical Scientists$69,660 - $84,810 $78,680 - $87,790

Employment & outlook

The outlook for employment in the Health Science cluster is very good. The number of elderly people is growing and they have greater health care needs. Advances in medical technology have increased the number of people who survive serious illnesses and injuries. These patients need more intensive therapy and care. The jobs in hospitals will grow the slowest. This is the result of an increase in outpatient care and services.

Veterinary services will continue to experience growth because of increases in the number of pet owners.