4 Trades You Can Learn in Less Than a Year


When you’re trying to earn a higher salary by doing something you love, usually education is involved. However, many people don’t have the time or money to pursue a bachelor’s or even an associate’s degree. Thankfully, there are several trades you can learn in less than a year.

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Try Learning These 4 Trades

The shorter education is on the front end, the sooner you can get to work and start making money. Here are a variety of short programs you may consider:

1 – Medical Office Administrator

Medical office administrators are integral to thriving medical practices, doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals. They perform a variety of administrative tasks – like organizing files, scheduling appointments, and preparing documents – and directly assist medical staff with all front office needs. Medical office administrators also serve as liaisons between patients and their doctors – often helping compile health records and gather necessary information.

You can typically finish a medical office administrator online program in less than a year. It doesn’t usually require an internship or practicum and you’ll be ready to find work immediately after completion.

2 – Dental Hygienist

Many people are surprised to learn that you can become a dental hygienist without any sort of advanced degree in medicine. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be able to complete the remaining educational requirements in a year or so. (Without any previous credits, you’re looking at more like two or three years. So if you don’t have credits, this may not be a quick enough option for you.)

The median salary for a dental hygienist is $74,070. The top 25 percent in the field make somewhere around $88,000. Job security is excellent and benefits packages are pretty competitive.

3 – Electrician

You’ve probably never considered a career as an electrician, but why not? As an electrician, you’re responsible for installing, fixing, and maintaining the electrical wiring in homes. You’re also tasked with things like installing monitoring systems, setting up security cameras, and repairing electrical appliances.

Programs typically take four to six months, followed by an extended apprenticeship program of four to five years. The good news is that you get paid during the apprenticeship. The median salary for an electrician is right around $54,000 per year (with many making significantly more as they advance).

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4 – Paralegal or Legal Assistant

Do you like the fast-paced nature of legal work, yet don’t have any interest in going to law school and grinding through the LSAT? Don’t worry – you can still get a taste of this world by becoming a paralegal.

As a paralegal, or legal assistant, you support lawyers by taking care of responsibilities like legal research, document drafting, and other administrative tasks. Depending on the type of firm or practice you work in, there may be ample opportunities to move up and increase salary.

The median pay for a paralegal is around $47,500. While there aren’t technically any educational requirements to get started as a paralegal, you can complete a brief program to receive a certificate in the field. This will make you more competitive for job openings.

Get Your Foot in the Door

People often unknowingly attempt to substitute tangible skills, experience, and hard work with education. They assume that they can study their way to the top of the industry and “degree” their way into a successful career. But this isn’t how the world works.

In reality, a four-year degree is only a piece of paper – and an expensive piece at that! While there is a time and place for getting a four-year degree or pursuing an in-depth graduate program, it’s not right for every situation. If you’re short on time and money, you’re much better off getting a diploma or certificate that allows you to get your foot into the proverbial door. From here, you can use your work ethic, morals, skills, and willingness to make sacrifices to earn new opportunities and promotions.

It’s a tired and worn out saying, but it bears repeating: It’s not what you know, but who you know. In other words, it’s not about the letters you have after your name. In most cases, it’s about getting a start in the field, building relationships, and then parlaying those relationships into powerful new opportunities. By shortening the educational timeline and getting a diploma or certificate, you’ll find it easier to jumpstart the process and move in a positive direction.

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