Best Certification Programs for Students

Mar 18, 2019 by

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Not every student is cut out for a four-year degree. Not only is continued education academically challenging but it can get extremely costly. And unless students major in a degree that guarantees a high-paying job, the cons sometimes outweigh the pros. In fact, nearly half of college graduates regret getting a degree. For those high school graduates unsure of whether college is right for them, these certification programs might just be the next best thing.

Massage Therapist

Holistic therapy is on the rise. And for students who enjoy natural ways of solving life’s biggest problems, helping people, and working with their hands, massage therapy is a viable career path. Most certification programs require students to complete 500 hours of study and training. Some programs even help place you in a massage position following completion. The average pay for massage therapists varies greatly, but there are several options for you to choose from. Working full-time in a high-end spa guarantees steady clients and income. Students may opt to run a private practice as well, where they visit clients in their homes. Students will need strong interpersonal and communication skills to ensure the client gets the service the want. And massage therapy is surprisingly physically intensive.

Technical and Vocational Nursing

Students who want to make it their life mission to help and save people but aren’t cut out for medical school can have a rewarding career in nursing. While registered nurses do need a certain level of college education, technical and vocational nurses can complete a certification program. This qualifies them to care for patients who are sick, injured, or disabled. Not only are these positions highly rewarding and in high-demand, but hardworking candidates are eligible for growth and advancements within the field. Students can obtain a degree in one area of study in as little as one year. Base pay starts at $40,000 a year with room for growth. Technical and vocational nurses also work closely with both registered nurses and doctors, making the hands-on experience and training truly priceless.

CDL Certification

Obtaining your CDL, or commercial driver’s license, puts you in the position for countless, high-paying jobs. Trucking schools provide all the training needed to drive a variety of equipment from school buses to eighteen wheelers. If students are lucky, they may find a CDL certification program that offers tuition reimbursement or financial assistance. When it comes to high-demand jobs, it doesn’t get much better than being a truck driver. There is a consistent need for shipping goods and products across the country. For those students who don’t want to work a traditional 9 to 5 shift and enjoy seeing the world, truck driving is the perfect career. Not to mention, it pays very well. The average truck driver makes over $65,000 per year, with ample room for advancement. Team truck drivers can bring in $70,000 or more annually, with OTR (over the road) truck drivers making upwards of $81,000 per year.

Personal Trainer

Who said that being a gym-rat couldn’t help you make a living one day? Students who love health and fitness but don’t make the final cut on draft day, can consider a lucrative career in personal training and fitness. Being a personal trainer is about a lot more than just lifting weights and looking good in a bathing suit. Students will master the science of nutrition, body composition, and how to work closely with clients. A large part of being a successful personal trainer is forming relationships with clients. Those relationships turn to referrals, which means more business for the trainer. Understanding how the human body works in terms of burning fat, building muscle, and seeing results, are all important components of being successful in the field of health and fitness. Personal training certification programs generally take a year or less to complete. Trainers can work for different gyms or even apply their knowledge in sports facilities, dance studios, and hospitals or rehabilitation facilities.

Court Reporter

There’s something exciting about being in a courtroom. But not everyone is designed to study or practice law. While paralegal positions are quite popular, they often require college credits. Becoming a court reporter, or court stenographer, gives students the opportunity to enter the courtroom without entering college. Most community colleges, online institutions, and technical schools offer certifications in court reporting. Depending on the program, students can finish in just over one year. Specified certifications, like reporting on the deaf, may take longer but may also lead to an increase in pay. The average salary for court reporting is in the upper $40,000 range and jobs are in high-demand. Court reporters rarely get bored, as they have front row seats to all the exciting courtroom action.

General Contractor

There is a constant need for buildings to be designed and built. While architecture is a highly intensive degree program, becoming a general contractor or construction manager puts students in prime position for making money in a booming economy. Students who are visual learners and great at problem solving can excel in this type of program. But this career choice isn’t for the faint of heart or the lazy. Although salary isn’t directly dependent on commission, it has a lot to do with work ethic. General contracting means working long hours and traveling to different job sites. Salary can range from as low as $30,000 per year to over three figures, depending on the company you work for. Ambitious contractors can even go into business for themselves. This career take slightly longer than some of the others on the list. Most general contractors complete an apprenticeship before branching out on their own. This can take between two and four years to complete. After this, contractors may get hired to work for the company they interned with or may decide to move on. Experience is another factor in this job, which means it may take several more years to gain a positive reputation in the field.

Being successful in today’s world isn’t defined by the degree you hold. In fact, some of the world’s most successful people and positions have nothing to do with a college education. If students aren’t college material, help them create new dreams and visions for the future. Certification programs are a great place to start and help save students time and money, without sacrificing success.

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