Let’s face it, college isn’t for everyone. Those who struggled through high school may not see another four years or more of education as practical option. Some people don’t want to endure the huge expenses of attending college. Others want to get to work as soon as possible so they can start earning a living.

With the rising costs of just about everything, finding work right after high school may not be the answer to find a fulfilling, financially sustaining career. Where can someone turn when traditional college seems out of reach and a low paying post-high school job won’t pay the bills? Certificate programs are an excellent choice. By spending a little extra time gaining valuable knowledge and skills, you may be able to earn much more than a typical high school graduate.

Are you ready to learn how a certificate program can make a positive impact in your future? See how a certificate program can benefit you.

What are Certificate Programs?

Unlike a typical college baccalaureate program, certificate programs are short-term training programs geared towards adult students and high school graduates looking for a quicker way to get meaningful employment. Instead of going through all the typical general education requirements of a college degree, those in certificate programs focus on a particular career topic.

Think of it this way: If you are more interested in finding meaningful work than sitting through (and paying for) a philosophy, advanced mathematics, or sociology class, a certificate program may be right for you.

Certificate programs are offered by community colleges, career schools, some universities, and even online. Some are similar to an associate’s degree–a two year college education program–where credits can eventually be transferred to other colleges if you choose to further your education.

What kinds of jobs can you get with a certificate program? There are many different career options for those choosing to enroll in a certificate program. It can include skilled trades, medical careers, business, legal, information technology, and the sciences. Whatever your career interests, a certificate program can jumpstart you into finding meaningful work.

What are the Most Popular Certificate Programs?

You may be wondering what types of jobs you can get after completing a certificate program. There are plenty. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular programs.

Skilled Trades

Those who get certified in the skilled trades often start as an apprentice and gradually work their way up to a higher paying status. In some cases, a certification and a few years of work experience can earn you a salary comparable to many college graduates. They include:

  • Carpenter. Those who love building and working with their hands can easily get their foot in the door constructing, renovating, or remodeling homes, commercial, and industrial buildings. 
  • HVAC Mechanic. Just about every structure has some form of climate control. Installing, repairing, and maintaining these systems can be a very lucrative career.
  • Welder. Many commercial and industrial settings rely on a welder to forge metal. These include automobile, railroad, shipping containers, boating, and architectural manufactures.

Health Care

The healthcare industry is booming and qualified individuals are always in high demand. Here are some great healthcare certificate programs.

  • Occupational Therapy Aid. Occupational Therapy helps those recovering from injuries or other physical issues regain functioning in their everyday lives. While becoming an Occupational Therapist requires extensive school, an aid can make good money while helping out others.
  • Pharmacy Technician. Like it or not, our society has become reliant on medications to treat many health conditions. A Pharmacy Technician helps Pharmacists fill prescriptions and carry out administrative duties and customer service.
  • Massage Therapist. Do you have a desire to help others feel better? A massage therapist uses learned techniques to help those dealing with stress, chronic pain, and other health issues.

Information Technology

Do you like working with computers? Want to turn this interest into a lucrative career? An IT certification program can make it happen. Consider some of these certificates:

  • Computer Networking. Everyday businesses rely on computers to network with employees, customers, and partners. The need for setting up and maintaining these networks continues to grow.
  • Help Desk Professionals. Those starting out in an IT profession often choose a career working at a virtual help desk. This allows you to troubleshoot technology problems with employers or clients so their computers and networks run smoothly.
  • Information Security. We’ve all heard the news stories about security breaches caused by hackers. Even some of the biggest companies suffered major issues due to security issues. This is why companies pay big to keep their data and other information safe. 

These jobs only scratch the surface of the many opportunities gained by certificate programs. Without a doubt, you can find a well-paying job that resonates with your career goals.

What are the Benefits of Earning a Certification?

Are you thinking of putting in the time, money, and effort into getting a certification? It may be a great choice. Those who complete certification programs have several advantages over those with a high school degree or some college education. They include:

  • Being more employable. Those seeking jobs often deal with fierce competition. You want to make sure you’re viewed as an asset to a potential employer. If you completed a certificate program, employers see you have the willingness and motivation to thrive in a career.
  • Networking opportunities. Many certificate programs require some form of internship or practical experience. While you complete these requirements, you get a chance to connect and work with others in the field. These connections may help you get the foot in the door during a job search.
  • Gain experience and confidence. As you complete your certificate program, you get the opportunity to build your skills during practical experiences. As a result, you’ll feel more confident during interviews and even your first day at the job.
  • Earn more money. With your certificate, you have leverage when negotiating a salary. Employers need qualified individuals. In many cases, they are willing to pay more for those with a certificate.
  • Less debt. Sure, some certification programs are costly. Many, however, are significantly less than a typical college education. As a result, less of your paycheck will go towards student loans. Your money can focus on other areas of your life like getting a better car, owning a home, or starting a family.

Where Can I Start My Certificate Program?

Thanks to technology, finding a place to get a certificate program is easier than ever. One of the first places you may want to check out is your local community college. Local colleges may not have every option available, but the ones they offer are usually reasonably priced. In fact, you may be able to get discounts when you are in-district.

As the popularity of online higher education institutions continues to grow, you may be able to complete some or all of your certificate program online. Instead of travelling to a local college or other learning institution, you could enjoy learning in the comfort of your own home. For parents with small children or those looking to change careers without quitting their current job this can be a great option.

You’re probably wondering how much you need to pay to earn a certificate. The answer varies depending on the program you choose, how long it takes to complete, and the individual school. Some programs may only set you back a few hundred dollars. Others can cost thousands. Of course, this is an investment in your future. In some cases, financial aid or scholarships may be available. .

A better future is on the horizon. Discover how you can make your life better with a certificate program.