Many medical students know that they want to help people, but they may need guidance in choosing a career path that best matches their interests and goals. If you are interested in the medical field, you can work in patient care, research or administrative roles. Researching different educational possibilities and the requirements and opportunities they present can help you narrow your search.
In this article, we list popular medical field majors, some of the main jobs you can do with each degree and the average salaries for each major.
What are medical field majors?
Medical field majors are technical, vocational, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs that provide a foundational understanding of the principles necessary for a career in the medical field. These programs generally include a heavy focus on math and science courses, including:
Anatomy and physiology
Different types of majors in the medical field prepare students for various career paths. For example, most vocational degrees, such as veterinary technology and nuclear medicine technology, allow you to begin working immediately after graduation. In comparison, many undergraduate majors, like pharmacy and health care administration, prepare you to enter graduate programs.
33 medical field majors and related jobs
If you’re trying to decide which major to pursue, consider this list of 33 medical majors and some of the jobs available for each one. Average salaries are calculated by averaging the Indeed salaries for each listed job. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, visit indeed.com/salaries. Note that figures from Glassdoor help supplement data from Indeed.
1. Associate degree in pharmacy technician
Students who earn an associate degree as a pharmacy technician can work in different clinical and retail pharmacy settings to assist pharmacists.
Common entry-level jobs: Pharmacy technician
Average salary: $36,463 per year
2. Associate degree in medical laboratory technology
Medical laboratory technology programs train students to collect lab specimens, operate lab equipment and work in many health care specialties, such as pediatrics and orthopedics.
Common entry-level jobs: Phlebotomist, medical laboratory technician
Average salary: $56,051 per year
3. Associate degree in respiratory therapy
Respiratory therapists often receive an associate degree through an applied respiratory therapy program, which takes about two years to complete. These programs typically offer academic instruction in areas like biology, anatomy and pharmacology.
Common entry-level jobs: Respiratory therapist
Average salary: $102,964 per year
4. Associate degree in physical therapy
A physical therapy associate degree provides general knowledge of human anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. Students may choose to become a certified physical therapy assistant through a national licensing exam or work as a physical therapy aide.
Common entry-level jobs: Physical therapy assistant, physical therapy aide
Average salary: $53,967 per year
5. Associate degree in health information management
An associate degree in health information management provides general education about protecting private health care data and regulatory compliance.
Common entry-level jobs: Patient advocate, billing and coding specialist
Average salary: $45,871 per year
6. Associate degree in medical coding
A medical coding degree teaches students to use standardized medical codes and documents to bill patients and insurance companies.
Common entry-level jobs: Medical coding specialist
Average salary: $54,731 per year
7. Associate degree in health information technology
An associate degree in health information technology allows students to work in health care facilities and practices in roles involving health care data, compliance and IT.
Common entry-level jobs: Health information manager, IT support specialist
Average salary: $65,664 per year
8. Bachelor of Science in pharmacy or pharmaceutical sciences
A bachelor’s degree in pharmacy prepares students to enter doctorate programs or work in pharmacy-related research, manufacturing and consulting roles.
Common entry-level jobs: Pharmacy specialist
Average salary: $59,572 per year
9. Bachelor of Science in health information management
Earning a bachelor’s degree in health information management provides more in-depth training for data protection and prepares students to take the Registered Health Information Administrator exam.
Common entry-level jobs: Health information technician
Average salary: $56,195 per year
10. Bachelor of Science in exercise science
Exercise science degrees incorporate basic health sciences, such as biology, chemistry and anatomy and physiology, and prepare students for careers in sports and exercise-related fields.
Common entry-level jobs: Athletic trainer, personal trainer
Average salary: $71,072 per year
11. Bachelor of Science in health sciences
A bachelor’s degree in health sciences provides the foundation for a career in health care. It typically includes basic science courses as well as opportunities for specialization in community health, health care technology or biological health sciences. This degree is also useful for students wanting to pursue a graduate degree in a related field.
Common entry-level jobs: Surgical technician, paramedic
Average salary: $78,545 per year
12. Bachelor of Science in nutrition and dietetics
A bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics prepares students to work with food and meal development, regulatory compliance in food preparation and storage and advisory positions with athletes and teams. Careers in food science typically require a state license or certification.
Common entry-level jobs: Registered dietitian, sports team nutritionist
Average salary: $74,439 per year
13. Bachelor of Arts in health care marketing
A degree in health care marketing prepares students to develop strategic marketing plans for medical devices and drugs, promote and sell new pharmaceutical products, conduct focus groups and consult on marketing issues in health care industries.
Common entry-level jobs: Health care marketing coordinator, pharmaceutical sales representative
Average salary: $72,717 per year
14. Bachelor of Science in biology
A bachelor’s degree in biology prepares students to work in health-related research and development positions. Biology is also a popular undergraduate major for students planning to go to medical school.
Common entry-level jobs: Biologist, biological technician, genetic counselor
Average salary: $60,329 per year
15. Bachelor of Science in public health
A degree in public health prepares students for careers working with the community to promote awareness of healthy habits, lower the frequency of adverse health outcomes and create public health policies. This degree also provides the foundation for entry into graduate programs.
Common entry-level jobs: Health educator
Average salary: $52,311 per year
16. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
A bachelor’s degree in nursing is a foundation for many nursing careers. After earning a bachelor’s degree, a nursing candidate needs to pass a licensing test and apply for a state license.
Common jobs: Nurse
Average salary: $103,753 per hour
Read more: Main Requirements for Pursuing a Career in Nursing
17. Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene
A bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene provides foundational knowledge for working with dental patients and performing administrative duties in dental clinics or other health care facilities.
Common entry-level jobs: Dental hygienist
Average salary: $98,286 per year
18. Bachelor of Science in nuclear medicine technology
Earning a bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology prepares students to work in various clinical settings to provide medical scans and manage nuclear medicine equipment.
Common entry-level jobs: MRI technician, X-ray technician
Average salary: $75,056 per year
19. Master of Science in clinical research
This graduate degree provides education and training for advanced research skills, including analytical and quantitative skills.
Common jobs: Clinical research coordinator
Average salary: $61,187 per year
20. Master of Science in speech-language pathology
A master’s degree in speech-language pathology prepares students for clinical or non-clinical roles related to speech and swallowing disorders.
Common jobs: Speech-language pathologist
Average salary: $117,293 per year
21. Master of Science in health care administration
A graduate degree in health care administration prepares you for jobs in health care facility administration and management.
Common jobs: Practice administrator
Average salary: $75,353 per year
22. Master of Science in public health
By pursuing this advanced public health degree, students prepare to specialize and obtain certifications in specific areas of public health.
Common jobs: Epidemiologist, substance abuse and mental health counselor
Average salary: $59,391 per year
23. Bachelor of Science in chemistry
A bachelor’s degree in chemistry prepares students for entry into graduate programs—including medical school and Ph.D. programs—and provides a foundation for many research-based health careers in medication development and disease prevention and management.
Common entry-level jobs: Chemist
Average salary: $78,680 per year
24. Master of Science in health information management
Graduate-level programs prepare students for advanced roles in data research and analysis and compliance.
Common jobs: Health care data analyst
Average salary: $75,963 per year
25. Master of Science in occupational therapy
This graduate-level degree prepares students for clinical practice with children or adults in inpatient, outpatient and in-home settings after becoming certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.
Common jobs: Occupational therapist
Average salary: $88,126 per year
26. Doctor of Physical Therapy
A Doctor of Physical Therapy degree prepares students to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal injuries and conduct research. Physical therapists must pass a national board exam to become licensed in their state.
Common jobs: Physical therapist
Average salary: $85,845 per year
Read more: How to Become a Physical Therapist
27. Master of Science in nursing administration
This graduate-level program focuses on nursing leadership roles, policy creation and implementation and collaboration with diverse teams.
Common jobs: Nurse administrator, director of nursing
Average salary: $102,823 per year
28. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Earning a master’s degree in nursing allows nurses to take on more leadership roles and patient care responsibilities.
Common jobs: Nurse practitioner, nurse researcher
Average salary: $100,154 per year
29. Doctor of Nursing Science
A doctorate in nursing prepares you for advanced patient care and research, including writing prescriptions in some states.
Common jobs: Clinical nurse specialist
Average salary: $136,367 per year
30. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
This advanced degree prepares students to provide medical care to animals.
Common jobs: Veterinarian
Average salary: $123,785 per year
Read more: How to Become a Veterinarian
31. Master of Science in health sciences
A master’s degree in health sciences prepares students for advanced patient care and to take certification exams in many specialties, such as epidemiology.
Common jobs: Physician assistant
Average salary: $120,002 per year
32. Doctor of Pharmacy
This advanced degree prepares graduates to work as pharmacists in retail stores, inpatient facilities and specialty clinics after they pass a national certification exam.
Common jobs: Pharmacist, pharmacologist
Average salary: $129,209 per year
33. Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
Obtaining a medical degree prepares students to sit for their national certification exam, pursue fellowships or residencies in their chosen specialties and begin working in patient care.
Common jobs: Family medicine physician, surgeon
Average salary: $290,926 per year