As an industry, health care keeps on growing. Demand for services of all kinds is increasing and that means medical professionals are needed to fill these positions. For women, breaking into certain medical careers can be a challenge, but the monetary benefits might make it worthwhile.
The following are the best paying clinical and non-clinical careers for women. It should be noted that the wage gap between male and female clinicians still persists.
- Gastroenterologist: This specialty sees a median salary of $357,000 for women. If you enjoy both cognitive puzzles, this is your specialty. Gastroenterologists get to work directly with patients, study pathology, and do lab work related to diseases and conditions of the digestive system and its many organs. With more recent advancements in biotechnology, you are also more likely to get a chance to work with cool new virtual devices.
- Cardiologist: Everybody loves cardiology! Although, the median salary is approximately 76% of what men in the profession make, it is a reasonable $353,000. Cardiologists are always needed, given that heart disease is the foremost cause of death in the United States.
- Oncologist: The median income for female oncologists is $330,000. Oncology can be a very rewarding career for those who can manage it. Although working with cancer patients can be heart wrenching at times, getting a chance to beat back cancer always makes it worth it; oncology is top-ranked annually as one of the most rewarding specialties.
- Anesthesiologist: At a median of salary of $350,000, this is the best-paid surgical career for women. Anesthesiology is a great choice for individuals who are secretly chemistry wizzes, enjoy collaborating with, but not necessarily being surgeons, and who are able to stay alert for long periods of time to monitor patient awareness and pain.
- Orthopedic surgeon: As of 2013, at a median income of over $400,000 annually, orthopedic surgeons are the highest paid physicians on average. Unfortunately, women in orthopedics have a median income of about $300,000—a staggering $100,000 wage gap. If you enjoy complex joint diseases or sports injuries, this specialty is yours for the taking.
- Ophthalmologist: Ophthalmologists have a median annual income of $312,800. People gravitate toward this career because of its perfected admixture of surgical skills and clinical work. If you thought the technology in other specialties was unique, wait until you see what is in store for you as an ophthalmologist.
- Pharmacist: Named the best-paying job for women in 2013 by Forbes, 52% of pharmacists are women and their earnings have 100% parity with that of men in the profession. The median yearly salary for pharmacists is $97,000. Relatively predictable hours and growing demand makes this career very attractive.
- Medical and Health Services Manager: If this term doesn’t sound familiar, you may have heard it called a health care executive or administrator. This is a good career option for people who like making an organization run more efficiently and who know a little bit of everything when it comes to health care. The median earnings in this profession are about $62,000. Women dominate this field, making up nearly three-quarters of health care administrators; however they only make 77% of what men in this field do.
- Health educator: If you like helping people understand how to be healthier, but don’t necessarily want to be a physician, this career is a good choice. Like many other non-clinical careers, health educators are predominantly women; they make around $65,000 annually. This can be a personally rewarding career as you directly support individuals in meeting their health-related goals.
Whether you are a woman considering a medical career in surgery, another clinical specialty or simply considering a career in the vast health care ecosystem, take some time to determine if one of these is right for you.
Maxime Rieman is a writer for NerdWallet, a financial literacy website that helps consumers make informed choices whether it relates to career choices or finding the best car insurance.