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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

3 Medical Careers That Pay Off (and You Can Learn in Under 2 Years)

November 28, 2018

When most people consider pursuing a medical career, they think it takes several years of school before they can start working. That’s not always the case. In fact, there are medical careers that offer decent pay and often take less than 2 years of college to earn an associate’s degree.

Respiratory Therapy program 150Respiratory Therapists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for respiratory therapists was $59,710 in May 2017, and they estimate that between 2016 and 2026, employment for Respiratory Therapists will grow 23 percent [Source: BLS – Respiratory Therapists 11.28.2018].

Earn an Associate of Science Degree in Respiratory Therapy in as Few as 19 Months

SJVC offers a Respiratory Therapy program that can be completed in approximately 19 months. The accelerated pace of the program helps graduates get started on their career in under 2 years. Learn more about SJVC’s Respiratory Therapy program.

Dental Hygiene program 150Dental Hygienists

The median salary for Dental Hygienists — at $74,070 in May 2017 [Source: BLS – Dental Hygienists 11.28.2018] — is a great benefit to those who work in this career. Employment for Dental Hygienists is expected to grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations [Source: BLS – Dental Hygienists 11.28.2018].

Earn an Associate of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene in as Few as 16 Months

In SJVC’s Dental Hygiene program, students can earn their associate’s degree and be out working at a dental practice in as few as 16 months.

Students in the Dental Hygiene program must take licensure exams in order to be registered to practice as a dental hygienist in California. View licensure exam pass rates for SJVC graduating classes from 2015 to 2018. Find out more about SJVC’s Dental Hygiene program.


Surgical technology program 150Surgical Technologists

Between 2016 and 2026, employment of Surgical Technologists is projected to grow 12 percent, and in a May 2017 report, Surgical Technologists were earning a median salary of $46,310 [Source: BLS – Surgical Technologists 11.28.2018].

Earn an Associate of Science Degree in Surgical Technology in as Few as 15 Months

Students can train in the program from start to finish and be out working in operating rooms in under 2 years. Learn more about SJVC’s Surgical Technology program.

While it may take doctors 10+ years to earn their full credentials, Respiratory Therapists, Dental Hygienists and Surgical Technologists can train for and start their careers in under 2 years. These medical and dental careers are worth looking into, and SJVC is here to answer any questions you have about our programs. Request information or give us a call at 866-544-7898.


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