Surgical technologists sterilize hospital equipment, prepare patients for surgery and hand surgeons instruments during medical procedures. Surgical technology is one of the higher paid certificate programs in the health profession. Many two- and four-year schools offer training that lasts from several months to two years. Salary data from the BLS in 2012 showed that the median income for surgical technologists was $41,790. Another good-paying medical occupation is licensed practical or vocational nursing. Training for LPNs and LVNs involves completion of a state-approved instructional program that takes about one year. After obtaining their license, practical and vocational nurses are qualified to perform basic nursing duties. The median annual salary in 2012 was $41,540, according to the BLS.