5 Paths to Enter the Medical Industry without a Doctorate

There’s a specific misconception some people have that prevents them from looking into careers in the medical industry: they think they need a doctorate. While certain positions like pharmacologists and physicians do in fact require this type of credential, there are several professional healthcare career paths to consider that don’t have this prerequisite. Whether there is only a certificate or undergraduate degree needed in order to take these roles, you won’t need to spend eight years in school to start your transition to the medical world. Start now by looking at the careers below and deciding what might suit you!

CPC — Certified Professional Coder

Medical Coding involves preparing and organizing vital medical records with the correct medical codes. While medical coding positions can be considered entry level, the Certified Professional Coder is a position that is considered higher level. A CPC qualification is something that is actually achievable without a degree, and while some people with experience in this field might choose to just take the exam directly, it can be wise to pursue classes that better prepare you for the job at hand. Online healthcare programs for medical coding associates degrees can potentially help make your resume more competitive and offer valuable knowledge needed to pass the certification exam. 

CPCO — Certified Professional Compliance Officer

There are various types of positions out there that can put you on the right track into the medical world, but what’s interesting is how they fit into other fields. For example, information technology in the world of healthcare has classes and degrees that prepare you for the basics — building up skills like information management and data governance, while increasing knowledge on compliance standards in the industry. If you work hard enough to expand and practice this knowledge, you can even use it to become certified as a CPCO. Compliance officers are the management and technical officers behind data governance, protection of privacy, and proper organization and sharing of EHRs and EMRs (Electronic Health Records and Electronic Medical Records, respectively). In addition to the certification (generally multiple, in fact), a position as a compliance officer of this variety will eventually require a bachelor’s degree — making it relatively accessible despite the fact that many of these professionals also hold an MBA or something to boot. Since it’s not generally required, all you really need is the right certifications to make yourself stand out to the company that needs you.

CPPM — Certified Physician Practice Manager

Managing a healthcare practice is challenging, yet rewarding work. If you’re interested in being a practice manager, you can start off by getting a degree in healthcare management. Skills for problem solving, business documentation, process management, monitoring compliance, and more will be put to the test if you wish to receive a certification to be a CPPM. Your ability to understand insurance, revenue cycles, data security, and healthcare workflows can open many doors to various types of healthcare establishments as a management professional — and like most managerial professions, a master’s degree (especially an MBA) is typical as a final requirement, but you can also work your way up into the position in many places. Moving up to a manager position is relatively common, especially in the more intimate and industry-specific workplaces like a healthcare practice.

Pharmacy Technician

Working in pharmaceutical environments doesn’t always require a doctorate, in fact, you can start as a pharmacy technician with just a certification, depending on your state. However, there are degrees that can better prepare you to pursue the job you want. Additionally, if you want to learn more about the pharmaceutical world and pursue a chemistry or immunology degree, you can try out for a position as a biochemist in the pharma industry. Taking on a job like this puts you in the research chair, conducting assays as well as laboratory work and experiments overseen by MDs and PhDs. If you’re looking into pharmaceutical work, starting as a technician and working up is definitely a great way to approach and then climb the medical industry ladder.

CHFP — Certified Healthcare Financial Professional

Accounting is an important part of any business, and the same is true for all healthcare establishments. You can prepare for your career in medical bookkeeping, accountant assisting, payroll supervision and more by getting an online degree in healthcare accounting. If you plan to become an accountant yourself, you will want to test for your certification in the field as a CHFP. Accountants are also typically expected to have a master’s degree in accounting, but however you go about it, just prepare yourself by learning in class and on the job, where you’ll come into contact with the accounting milieu non-stop — even before your certification.


Not having a doctorate isn’t the end of this journey. You can’t let your educational fears keep you from achieving your dream career. If you want a job in the medical industry, you have to start somewhere, and with a little education and a little work, you can start to pursue your goals.

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