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10 Types of Healthcare Degrees
You Can Earn in 2 Years or Less

Healthcare is the fastest-growing career field today, with more than 2.4 million new jobs expected by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Many healthcare occupations offer stable and secure employment, ample opportunities for advancement and other employer benefits, such as a 401k plan - and you don’t necessarily need a four-year degree to get started in your healthcare career.

Here are 10 healthcare degrees you can earn in two years or less:

Team of Male and Female Healthcare Professionals in Hospital

1. Diploma in Practical Nursing (DPN)

Program lengthAs few as 12 months
Job titleLicensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Job demandProj. 6% increase from 2021-2031 (BLS)*
Average salary$51,850 per year, $24.93 per hour (BLS)*
ModalityOn-campus schooling required, some online classes incorporated
Campus availabilityAkron, OH; Birmingham, AL; Kenosha, WI; Brookfield, WI; Madison, WINashville, TN; Orlando, FL; Tampa, FL
Our degree program: Diploma in Practical Nursing

Nurses at every level are in high demand, and earning your diploma in practical nursing is the fastest way to jumpstart your nursing career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). LPNs provide basic nursing care and work closely with registered nurses (RNs) and physicians in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, doctor's offices, nursing homes, hospice and urgent care clinics.

There are several pathways to nursing career advancement through higher education. Many nurses start out as an LPN before choosing to advance their education and nursing career through an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree program.

2. Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN)

Program lengthAs few as 20 months
Job titleRegistered Nurse (RN)
Job demandProj. 6% increase from 2021-2031 (BLS)*
Average salary$82,750 per year, $39.78 per hour (BLS)*
ModalityOn-campus schooling required, some online classes incorporated
Campus availabilityAkron, OH; Birmingham, AL; Orlando, FL; Tampa, FL

You can become a registered nurse (RN) in just two years with your associate degree in nursing (ASN).

RNs are the first line of care in many healthcare settings, and they are in increasingly high demand as healthcare organizations strive to accommodate a growing patient population.

3. Physical Therapist Assistant

Program lengthAs few as 20 months
Job titlePhysical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
Job demandProj. 26% increase from 2021-2031 (BLS)*
Average salary$60,740 per year, $29.20 per hour (BLS)*
ModalityOn-campus schooling required, some online classes incorporated
Campus availabilityBrookfield, WI; Orlando, FL

Physical therapist assistant was ranked #1 on U.S. News’ list of Best Healthcare Support Jobs for 2021. 

PTAs help patients of all ages – from newborns to the elderly – improve strength and mobility through a range of therapeutic exercises and training. To become a PTA, you’ll need to earn your associate degree.

4. Dental Assisting

Program length16-20 months
Job titleDental Assistant
Job demandProj. 8% increase from 2021-2031 (BLS)*
Average salary$42,510 per year, $20.44 per hour (BLS)*
ModalityOn-campus schooling required, some online classes incorporated
Campus availabilityMinneapolis, MN

Dental assistants work closely with and under the supervision of dentists, and many are taking on a greater role in patient care as the demand for dental services expands.

Most dental assistants have an associate degree or a diploma in dental assisting, which can take between 16 and 20 months to complete. For many, this entry-level occupation provides basic dental assisting training and experience and serves as a steppingstone to more highly-skilled and higher paying jobs, such as a dental hygienist.

5. Medical Assisting

Program length10-20 months
Job titleMedical Assistant
Job demandProj. 16% increase from 2021-2031 (BLS)*
Average salary$38,190 per year, $18.36 per hour (BLS)*
ModalityOnline

Medical assistants are an important part of the healthcare team, providing support for physicians and assisting with administrative and clerical duties as needed. You can start your career as a medical assistant in as little as 10 months by earning your diploma in medical assisting, or earn your associate degree in as little as 16-20 months to pursue roles with greater responsibility.

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6. Radiology Technology

Program length24 months
Job titleRadiologic Technologist
Job demandProj. 6% increase from 2021-2031 (BLS)*
Average salary$66,490 per year, $31.97 per hour (BLS)*
ModalityOn-campus schooling required, some online classes incorporated
Campus availabilityOrlando, FL

Radiology technologists are a critical part of the medical imaging team. They work alongside doctors and nurses and help to perform X-ray exams and other diagnostic imaging procedures. With experience, radiology technologists can pursue careers in MRI and CT imaging, mammography, nuclear medicine and more.

You need to have at least an associate degree in radiologic technology to work in entry-level radiology positions at hospitals and physician offices. A bachelor’s degree in radiology is often required in order to advance to supervisory or specialized positions.

7. Surgical Technology

Program lengthAs few as 20 months
Job titleSurgical Technologist
Job demandProj. 6% increase from 2021-2031 (BLS)*
Average salary$53,590 per year, $25.77 per hour (BLS)*
ModalityOn-campus schooling required, some online classes incorporated
Campus availabilityNew Orleans, LA

Surgical technologists (STs) are members of the operating team who handle the instruments, supplies and equipment necessary during a surgical procedure.

Nurses, surgeons and patients rely on STs to ensure that the operation runs smoothly. With an associate degree in surgical technology, you can prepare to work as an ST in a hospital, outpatient care center or ambulatory surgical facility.

8. Healthcare Administration

Program lengthAs few as 16 months
Job titleMedical Secretary, Administrative Coordinator, Patient Service Rep
Job demandProj. 8% increase from 2021-2031 (BLS - Medical Secretaries)*
Average salary$39,740 per year, $19.11 per hour (BLS - Medical Secretaries)*
ModalityOnline

There are also plenty of in-demand jobs on the administrative side of healthcare. With an associate degree in healthcare administration, you can pursue opportunities as an administrative support specialist, administrative coordinator, medical secretary or patient service representative. You’ll be responsible for ensuring the day-to-day operations of an organization, which could include staffing, patient relations, scheduling or inventory control.

This degree also provides you with a foundation to continue your education if you want to enroll in an online health administration bachelor's degree later in your career, or potentially advance into a master's degree program.

9. Health Information Management

Program length20 months
Job titleHealth Information Technologists
Job demandProj. 17% increase from 2021-2031 (BLS)*
Average salary$61,410 per year, $29.53 per hour (BLS)*
ModalityOnline

Healthcare providers are charged with keeping secure electronic patient records. It’s up to specialists who can code and digitize patient records and manage the process. A career in health information management offers may unique paths in science, business and information technology. This is a versatile, growing field with many opportunities for advancement.

You can earn your associate degree in health information management in less than 2 years.

10. Medical Billing and Coding

Program lengthAs few as 20 months
Job titleMedical Records Specialist
Job demandProj. 7% increase from 2021-2031 (BLS)*
Average salary$48,310 per year, $23.23 per hour (BLS)*
ModalityOnline

As the healthcare system moves towards electronic patient records, there is a growing demand for specialists who can code and digitize patient records, as well as health information professionals to manage the entire process and check for accuracy. These individuals are known as medical coders or health information technicians.

Medical coding professionals work in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, long-term care settings, consulting firms, government agencies, health insurance companies and more. An associate degree in medical coding often serves as a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree in health information management, which allows for career advancement.

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Ready to get started in your healthcare career?

With a healthcare degree from Herzing University, you’ll graduate with the right skills and credentials for lifelong career opportunities.

Learn more about our healthcare programs

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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