Twenty-five years ago you would have been hard-pressed to find any high school teacher who didn’t insist that going to college for a four-year degree was the only option available for a secure financial future.
However, over the past couple of decades we have learned — through the unfortunate trials of college loan debt and jobless professions — that a four-year degree doesn’t guarantee you a job when you graduate (or even years later). With a current unemployment rate of 5.6 percent for young college graduates, it’s understandable why more and more people are instead choosing to get quick certifications and degrees in skilled trade professions.
This is not only a less expensive route to landing a financially secure job, it’s also the fastest. Many people are offered full-time positions before they are even finished receiving their certification, making skilled trade labor the most ideal employment opportunity with the smoothest transition from school to job.
Let’s take a look at a few skilled trade professions that not only have a high yearly salary but take very little time for gaining certification and to begin working in.
Small Business Owner
If you’re a persistent person with great self-restraint, running your own business might be a path for you to consider. It’s a rewarding experience that’s perfect for someone who would rather not be an employee. The versatility is that you can turn almost anything into your own personal small business. Plus, the digital age e-commerce storefront options available today — combined with popular social networking — make it easier to start up your company and build a customer base. The yearly salary you achieve with your own personal business is entirely dependent on the field you go into and how much effort you apply to your company.
Information Technology (Networking/Security)
This is a booming industry that is expected to grow 28% by 2020. With an annual salary range of $49,000 – $73,000 and requiring less than a year of schooling for an entry-level position, a Networking Specialist job in the IT field makes for a financially secure and in-demand profession.
Network Specialists in the IT industry set up, maintain, and provide support for networking systems, such as local area networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN), for companies and organizations of all sizes. In addition, Network Specialists also provide security monitoring, install firewalls and routers, and support other network-related programs.
Becoming a medical assistant is a lot easier than most people realize. It takes only seven to twelve months at a trade school to receive certification or two years of college to earn an associate degree. And you can expect to begin working very soon after you graduate. Statistics show that more than 160,000 new medical assistant jobs are expected to become available by 2022, making this an in-demand profession.
Tasks in the medical assistant field consist of interacting with and caring for patients by measuring vital signs, administering injections and medications, preparing medical instruments and specimens, and recording information in patients’ files. With a salary of $30,000 – $40,000 per year for an in-demand job, a medical assistant career is another option for a financially secure profession.
Medical Coding and Billing
If you would prefer to work in a private, office-type setting (or possibly from home) without having to deal with the general public or patients, medical coding and billing could be the profession for you. After a patient sees their doctor, information about the person’s medical record needs to be submitted to the insurance companies for billing purposes. The type of data collected from the patient’s chart ranges from medical diagnoses, medications, and symptoms; each of these has a specific code associated with it that needs to be submitted to the insurance company for billing.
It only takes about six to twelve months to receive a career diploma in this field or two years to receive an associate degree. Also, with an average annual salary of around $34,000 – $57,000 and a projected growth of 21% by 2020, a job in the medical coding and billing specialist industry is a lucrative skill set that will continue to be in demand.
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) involves installing and repairing HVAC and refrigeration systems, maintaining them, and troubleshooting problems. This is a more labor-intensive skilled trade than the others previously mentioned but it’s just as rewarding, with an annual entry-level salary of around $40,000 and a projected growth in the field of 14% by 2024.
Certification can be achieved in as little as seven months (or two years for an associate degree). Most programs offer or require a paid apprenticeship or on-the-job training, making the HVAC/R field a financially secure profession that you could quickly enter.