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Health and Medicine

Most of Cleveland's health care jobs do not require a bachelor's degree
Cleveland ranks eighth in nation in health care jobs requiring either a two-year degree or a high school diploma

Many health care jobs in Northeast Ohio do not need college degrees.
Courtesy of Katrin Morenz
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Northeast Ohio is abundant in health care jobs and a significant share do not require a college degree. For Ohio Public Radio, WCPN's Brian Bull has more.


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Nationally, nearly half of the total healthcare workforce in the 100 largest American metropolitan areas are employed as nurses, support technicians, psychiatric and home health aides. For many of those roles, a two-year associate’s degree or high school diploma will suffice.

In the Greater Cleveland area, that number’s slightly higher, ranking the city eighth among the largest U.S. metros, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution. Likewise, more than half the healthcare jobs in Akron also are open to people without a bachelor’s degree.

The study shows that within the ranks of those lacking a four-year degree, there is quite a bit of variation in wages.

RNs and diagnostic technicians usually have associate degrees, and can earn roughly between $52,000 and $60,000. By comparison, personal care aides and others with just a high school diploma earn between $21,000 and $25,000 a year.

Another downside to the lower-end jobs is that wages are going in the wrong direction, down nearly 14 percent since 2000.

The Brookings Institution’s Martha Ross says wages for such workers are going down because the economy is increasingly rewarding skills and the trend reflects a decreased demand for lower-educated health care workers. But she says those individuals should not be dismissed.

The Brookings Institution ranks McAllen, Texas, first in the nation, with 72 percent of health care workers there minus a bachelor’s degree.

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