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What Careers Only Require A Certificate? Your Future Success


Many people think you need to spend years in school to get a good job. But did you know that there are many high-paying jobs that you can get without dedicating years to studying a degree?

Degree programs can, of course, lead to high-paying jobs. However, a lot of those jobs require multiple degrees and several years in school. If you want to be a lawyer or a doctor, you’ll undoubtedly need to earn your degrees. But you can still work in fields like medicine and law without even having a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D.

What careers only require a certificate? Keep reading to find out more about getting a certification and which jobs can earn you a high yearly salary.

Two women doing certification program in web development

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Why Should You Get a Certificate?

Even if you already have a degree, getting a certificate can be a great addition to your CV and your skills. A certificate can be the difference between blending into a crowd of applicants and having your application stand out among the rest.

The purpose of a certification is to show that you’ve trained and studied a particular skill or trade and demonstrates that you’re able to work in that specific field.

Some people who already have a career will earn certificates to be able to grow in their fields. For example, someone who works in IT might want to get a specific certificate such as the Google’s Professional Cloud Architect certification or the Risk and Information Systems Control Certificate to keep up with changing job demands and broaden their skills.

Since certificates are usually for very specific subjects, getting certified shows that you’re highly motivated and dedicated to your field. It also shows potential employers that you possess the right skills for the job.

If you’re already secure in your job, then it shows your bosses that you’re willing to work towards your professional goals, which is an important factor when there’s a promotion on the table.

There are many reasons people get certified. Whatever your reason is for seeking certification, it will surely lead to better career options and can even open the door to a high-paying job you wouldn’t have been qualified for otherwise.

Finding The Right Certification Program

Before you jump straight into any certification program, you should do some research to make sure you’re finding one that’s right for you. Choosing the wrong program can lead to a lot of wasted time, money, and energy.

You should outline what you’re looking for in a program so you can narrow down what to look for. For example, if you plan on getting a certification while you’re already working, you need to find a program with courses that fit your schedule.

Here are a few tips to consider when searching for the right certification program:

  • Talk to your network: Chat with friends or colleagues you already know to see if they’ve done a certification program. Even if they didn’t do the same one you’re looking for, they might know a good school that offers different certifications.
  • Speak with your employer: If you’re looking to gain a certification that’s already related to your current job, consult with your boss or HR. They might have insight or even connections to programs that are available to you. If the certification is directly related to your work, they might even help you cover the cost of the program.
  • Reach out to people in the field: One of the best ways to find the right program is to ask people who are already working in the field. Reach out to HR representatives, unions, or associations to ask for program recommendations.
  • Inquire with schools in your area: The certification program you’re looking for might be right under your nose. Check with community colleges or universities nearby to see if they offer certification programs.
  • Look for online programs: If you have a busy schedule, online classes can be more flexible and you’re not tied down by your location. Check if the program is run through a reliable and accredited institution.
  • Speak to program alumni: Once you find a few programs you’re interested in, try and reach out to people who have completed the certification to get their views. They might have thoughts or insights on the program that can make or break your decision.
  • Search the certification finder: Check out the careeronestop certification finder tool to search for programs based on different occupations and industries.

10 High-Paying Jobs With Quick Certifications

Finding certifications that pay well doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little bit of research, you can discover tons of jobs that only require a certificate and have high earning potential.

To help you out on your search, we’ve compiled a brief list of 10 high-paying jobs that you can get with only a certificate as well as their median average salary as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

construction and building inspector certification training

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

1. Web Developer

Average annual salary: $73,760

Web developers are very much in demand due to an increase in tech-related jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for web developers is increasing faster than most other occupations.

A web developer’s job is to develop a website from scratch. This can include designing the look of the site, taking care of the website’s performance, speed, and capacity, and being the go-to person for all website needs.

In a certification program for this job, you’ll learn the creative and technical side of web development. In web development courses, you’ll cover topics like debugging, working with HTML and coding languages like Python and Javascript, structuring web pages, creating responsive websites, and a lot more. With this certificate, you can begin by working as a freelance web developer or go for an entry-level job with a company.

2. Court Reporter

Average annual salary: $60,130

A court reporter’s job is to transcribe legal proceedings like trials and depositions. They often work in courtrooms or for the government.

As a court reporter, you’ll need a keen eye for detail as they are expected to record everything with high accuracy. This job also requires excellent multi-tasking skills, since you’ll need to be able to listen and type simultaneously.

When studying for a certificate in court reporting, you’ll be likely to learn topics such as law, grammar, technical writing, and electronic reporting. During your certification, you’ll learn how to use different technologies and equipment related to the job, and you’ll be tested on your skills and multitasking abilities.

3. Sheet Metal Worker

Average annual salary: $50,400

As a more “hands-on” job, you’ll need to learn the skills to become a sheet metal worker through apprenticeships and technical certifications. Aside from learning the necessary skills, you’ll also have to have the physical ability to carry potentially heavy sheets of metal.

Sheet metal workers are responsible for installing thin sheets of metal, such as in an air conditioning system. They also design and maintain them according to specific requirements. This job requires precision, so taking a certification program is necessary to learn the trade.

During your certification for sheet metal workers, you’ll learn how to design with sheet metal, fitting techniques, fabrication, and also how to design using computer programs.

4. Emergency Medical Technician

Average annual salary: $35,400

You don’t need to get into med school to help save lives. Emergency medical technicians, more commonly known as EMTs, only require a certification to land a job. However, it’s important to be aware that the nature of this job is demanding and it is both physically and emotionally taxing.

EMTs have a huge responsibility on their shoulders. In this job, you’ll be the first person called in an emergency situation that requires medical attention. You’ll need to stabilize injured people or people in critical condition until you’re able to get them to the nearest hospital.

As part of your CPR certification, you’ll learn how to tend to sick or injured people, as well as skills such as CPR. Note that for more technical medical knowledge, you’ll need to do a longer certification to become a paramedic.

5. Personal Trainer

Average annual salary: $40,390

If you’re into fitness, then you might be interested in turning that into a career. Of course, you’ll need to be in good shape to be a personal trainer since you’ll have to market yourself to clients who also want to get fit. Personal trainers can work as part of a public or private gym, or they can be self-employed.

A personal trainer’s job is to work with clients in either a small group setting or one-on-one to provide instruction for exercise and fitness. Aside from being able to tailor exercises to each client, you’ll also need to be able to offer nutritional advice, and most importantly, motivation.

In a certification program to become a personal trainer, you’ll take different classes related to fitness. Expect to take classes related to health, nutrition, and exercise science. You might also take some business or marketing courses since you’ll need to learn how to build your own client base.

6. Real Estate Agent

Average annual salary: $50,730

As a real estate agent, you’ll have the capacity to earn a high annual income, sometimes in the triple digits, but you’ll have to be great at selling. That being said, it doesn’t take long to become a real estate agent. The certification for this potentially high-earning job can take as little as 4 to 6 months.

Real estate agents earn money by making a commission on the properties they sell. They’re responsible for filing paperwork, finalizing transactions, and making sure everything is up to spec.

You’ll need a license, not necessarily a certificate to become an agent. The program you’ll need to take depends on where you live as each state has its own certification guidelines. During your studies, you’ll learn things like real estate law, contracts and leases, listing and pricing, and more.

7. Optician

Average annual salary: $37,840

You can work in an eye doctor’s office without going to school for optometry. Opticians don’t always require a certificate, but many eye doctor offices will require it.

As an optician, you’ll be the one helping patients choose the right glasses and contact lenses for them. You might be the one teaching someone how to put contact lenses in for the first time. Therefore, in your courses, you’ll learn things like fitting, lens characteristics, patient assessment techniques, and even repairing eyeglasses.

Aside from these practical courses, many programs will also teach you theory classes, where you’ll learn more about ocular science and physiology.

8. Paralegal

Average annual salary: $51,740

As a paralegal, you’ll be able to work in a lawyer’s office without getting a law degree. Paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers with their paperwork. Since lawyers have so much paperwork and not enough time to handle all of it, paralegals help out with filing it all out.

As a paralegal, you’ll be helping to draft affidavits, assist in trial preparation, write letters, take notes in court, and many other tasks. As such, you’ll need to learn the ropes, which you’ll do during your certification courses.

Courses for paralegal certification include tribunal practices, research skills, studying procedures, and learning negotiating skills.

9. Construction and Building Inspector

Average annual salary: $60,710

As a construction and building inspector, you’ll be the one responsible for ensuring that a new construction is in line with all the building codes. Construction and building inspectors are the ones checking for zoning and contract specifications to make sure everything is done legally and safely.

In this position, you’ll need to know how to examine building plans and be familiar with state laws and specifications for buildings. When it comes to existing buildings, you’ll be the one inspecting them to check for code violations before it’s able to be sold.

In this certification program, you’ll take courses that are related to both business and construction. Expect to study topics such as building methods and materials, surveying plans and sites, communications, construction inspection, and more.

10. Medical Records Technician

Average annual salary: $40,350

If you’re a highly organized person and you’re interested in health, you should consider becoming a medical records technician. In this role, you’ll be the person responsible for maintaining medical files, such as doctors’ forms and notes, patient portfolios, exam results, and more.

Medical records technicians also make sure that every piece of paperwork is properly filled out before it is filed. They make sure each file is coded and classified correctly and might maintain databases. They’re also the ones who will analyze the data from the files.

To get certified in this field, you’ll need to take courses that relate to both medicine and organization. Some of the classes might cover things like medical terminology, legal issues in medicine, and managing records.

To Wrap Up

Hopefully, we’ve answered your burning question about what careers only require a certificate. The jobs mentioned here are only examples of all the different options there are with certificates.

If there’s a field you’re interested in working in that we didn’t mention, do some research and find out if you require a degree or if there’s a similar job you can do with only a certification.

At University of the People, we don’t offer certification programs, but we do offer online tuition-free distance learning so that you can earn a degree from an accredited university while studying at your own pace. A degree will surely lead to a higher-earning job, so if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, an online degree can be a worthwhile investment.