Health care is the industry with the fastest growth in the U.S., and wages are among the best. Surgeons and other health-care professionals rank high for the best-paying jobs, according to Forbes.com. While there will always be a demand for health care jobs, some positions are comparatively low in pay. Salaries vary based on many factors, including experience, certification, facility type and location.
Nursing, psychiatric and home health aides are among the lowest paid in the health-care industry. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median hourly wage aides is just above the current federal minimum wage. The Forbes study listed the mean annual salary for home health aides as less than $20,000 per year.
While aides rank as the lowest paying medical jobs, they have a rewarding job in many other respects. Because they assist patients with their activities of daily living, they often form close ties with their patients. They also act as the "eyes and ears" for doctors and nurses, and are the first to notice changes in patient conditions. Working as an aide is often a stepping stone to better-paying nursing jobs.
While not technically involved in health-care or patient care, hospital housekeeping staff also rank among the lowest-paying health-care workers. According to Forbes.com, maids and housekeeping staff earn an average salary of less than $20,000.
Dietary aides, who assist medical staff in planning, preparing and serving patient meals are next on the list, earning an average salary below $20,000, just above those of home health aides, nursing assistants and housekeepers. Food servers ensure that patients and nursing home residents receive nutritious meals in keeping with special diet needs.
Activity aides plan and present programs for nursing home residents, including exercises, games, outings and parties. According to Salary.com, the median salary for activity aides is in the low $20s.
Admitting clerks register new hospital and nursing home patients, ensuring contact, insurance and payment information is correct. According to Salary.com, the median salary for admitting clerks is between $20,000 and $30,000.
Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists fill prescriptions. They also answer customer questions concerning medications and assist with ordering medications and record keeping. According to Salary.com, the median salary for pharmacy technicians is about $30,000
Among other health-care professionals that deliver patient care, dental assistants receive relatively low pay. According to Salary.com, dental assistants earn a median salary just above $30,000. Their duties include assisting the dentist with office procedures, cleaning instruments and other clinical and clerical duties.