The need for health care professionals has never been higher. According to The Atlantic, health care last year became the nation’s largest source for jobs for the first time in history. With demand expected to continue growing, median wages can be twice as much as those offered in other industries.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that health care employment will continue to be the fastest-growing through 2026. So we know the jobs will be there. Will there be workers to fill them?

A recent article from singled out several of the highest-paying health care professions that require only an associate degree. Here are some that ranked in the top 11:

Cardiovascular Technician

With a median annual salary of $57,380, cardiovascular technicians can afford a pretty sweet lifestyle. Cardiovascular technicians assist in diagnosing and treating diseases of the heart and blood vessels by operating cutting-edge diagnostic equipment. They compare cardiac findings to a standard to identify diseases that can then be treated.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

The median annual salary for occupational therapy assistants is $69,890. Not too shabby. PTC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program provides a great option for students seeking a career in occupational therapy. Offered at our Newberry Campus, the OTA curriculum prepares students to work closely with occupational therapists to help patients who are recuperating from brain trauma, surgery, disease, dementia or other challenges so they can regain or improve their daily living skills.

Radiologic Technologist

Radiologic technologists in South Carolina earn a median annual wage of about $49,960. The Radiologic Technology curriculum is designed to assist students in acquiring the general and technical competencies necessary to enter the radiography profession. Radiographers use state-of-the-art equipment to produce diagnostic medical images in a variety of health care settings. This requires an application of combined knowledge in anatomy, physics, clinical procedures, imaging techniques and patient care.

Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists in South Carolina earn a median salary of $53,730 but may earn as much as $65,040 annually. The registered respiratory therapist is trained to assist the medical staff with the treatment, management and care of patients with cardiopulmonary abnormalities or deficiencies. Most respiratory therapists work in hospitals. Others may work in nursing care facilities or travel to patients’ homes.

Nursing Professions

Every journey begins with a single step. Our Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program qualifies graduates for further nursing education that can lead to nurse manager and nurse practitioner career roles. Approved by the SC Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the PTC program prepares graduates to take the licensing examination to become a registered nurse. After that, they can transfer to a bachelor’s degree program at a four-year university to further their education and take their careers as far as they might imagine.