10 Quick Certifications that Lead to High-Paying Jobs
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You can complete many certification programs in a year or less, making them a more cost-effective approach to gaining knowledge and skills than going to trade school or earning a college degree. The right certification program can increase your earning potential, get you working sooner, improve your credibility, and provide a competitive advantage in your field.
10 Certifications that Pay Well
Look through some of the following quick certification programs that pay well.
- Phlebotomist Certification Programs
- Medical Assistant Certification Programs
- Certified Nurse Assistant Certification Programs
- Medical Coder or Biller Certification Programs
- Flight Attendant Certification Programs
- Welder Certification Programs
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Programs
- Emergency Medical Technician Certification Programs
- Physical Therapist Aide Certification Programs
- Air Traffic Controller Certification Programs
Why Get a Certification?
As many take less than a year to complete, getting quick certifications is a great way to increase your wages and stand out from the crowd. Gaining more skills and knowledge about your field and industry can set you apart when applying for a new job or promotion.
Whether you take them online, through the local community college, or in trade school, quick certifications that pay well are a great way to differentiate yourself, especially in a crowded industry.
How Much Do Certifications Cost?
The cost of certifications varies widely, depending on where you get them and in what industry. Some can be free, and the majority are less than $1,000, while some can cost $10,000 or more.
Once you decide which certifications you're interested in, look at a few top programs to see how much they cost. Some employers will fund your trade school or certification program, which means you won't have out-of-pocket costs.
How Long Do Certifications Take?
The vast majority of certifications are quick, taking less than a year to complete. The time depends on the industry and tasks required to complete the certification.
Phlebotomist Certification Programs
Time to complete: Less than 1 year
Average salary: $37,280
Phlebotomists earn quick certifications that pay well and take less than a year to complete. The program teaches anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology through classroom sessions and work in the lab to learn the proper way to identify, label, and keep track of blood samples taken from patients.
Medical Assistant Certification Programs
Time to complete: 1 year
Average salary: $36,930
Certifications to become a medical assistant take about a year to complete. Students will learn about anatomy and medical terminology in the classroom to understand how to code health records and patient information. They will also work in the lab to learn how to take patient vitals and understand medical charts and diagnoses.
Certified Nurse Assistant Certification Programs
Time to complete: Up to 12 weeks
Average salary: $32,050
Certified nurse assistants (CNA) can complete a quick certification in about 12 weeks. Students will learn how to perform CPR and first aid, how to take vitals, anatomy, patient safety, and how to work best with patient populations. These classroom skills will then be tested in a hands-on setting, working with patients to complete the program and gain training hours that may be required to get licensed.
Check out our list of the best CNA programs.
Medical Coder or Biller Certification Programs
Time to complete: minimum of 6 months
Average salary: $48,270
Medical coder or billing specialists can get certified in a number of American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)-approved coding programs, which take at least six months to complete.
Medical coders will learn about human anatomy and medical terminology and how to properly code using ICD and CPT diagnostics. You can also take the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) test if you have at least six months of hands-on experience and a high school diploma or GED.
Learn more about medical coder certifications and classes.
Flight Attendant Certification Programs
Time to complete: Up to six weeks
Average salary: $59,150
To become a flight attendant, the quick certification process takes up to six weeks to complete. Flight attendants must be Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified and have at least a high school diploma and prior customer service experience.
Airlines provide training at their flight training center, where students learn about emergency procedures, company operations, flight duties, and federal regulations. The employer may require additional certifications.
Welder Certification Programs
Time to complete: up to 2 years
Average salary: $46,690
To become a certified welder, you are not required to complete prior schooling past a high school diploma or GED. Instead, you pay to take hands-on tests through the American Welding Society (AWS) that show your skills gained through a program or on-the-job training.
Vocational programs take up to two years to complete and can help welders become certified in multiple types of welding simultaneously.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Programs
Time to complete: up to 1 year
Average salary: $36,450
Becoming a pharmacy technician only requires a high school diploma and on-the-job training in most states. However, you can get quick certifications in less than a year. Programs that last two years lead to an associate degree.
Pharmacy techs learn ethics, laws, record keeping, how to properly dispense medication, along with the medication dosage, names, and usage. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) offers over 300 specialized quick certifications that take 15 weeks or less to complete.
Emergency Medical Technician Certification Programs
Time to complete: less than six months
Average salary: $40,370
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) typically require hands-on training that gains training hours to become certified. EMT programs teach students about life-saving techniques, medical terminology, and human anatomy.
Hand-on training includes learning how to administer medication, insert IVs, and monitor devices, like pacemakers. Once EMTs complete training, they must pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam.
Physical Therapist Aide Certification Programs
Time to complete: up to 2 years
Average salary: $49,750
To become a physical therapist aide (PTA), you must complete the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) approved program. There are over 300 programs to choose from, and they can last up to two years. PTAs will learn about anatomy, kinesiology, and physiology, with skills tested on the job through clinical rotations.
In states where licensing is required, PTAs wishing to become physical therapy assistants will have to pass the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy exam. Check out our list of the best physical therapist assistant programs in the country.
Air Traffic Controller Certification Programs
Time to complete: up to 4 years
Average salary: $127,440
Air traffic controllers are required to have at least three years of progressive work experience, a bachelor's degree, or a combination of both. An alternative solution is completing an Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program, which is approved by the FAA.
The program teaches aviation administration and how to properly control air traffic. After graduating from the program, air traffic controllers can skip the Air Traffic Basics course that occurs during the first five weeks of FAA Academy training.
Other Short Programs that Lead to High-Paying Jobs
Trade schools and earning your associate degree are other quick ways to boost your employability and pay. In two years or less, you can graduate or get certified in any number of high-paying fields and industries. Many also come with apprenticeships, which provide on-the-job training with pay.
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