11 Certificate Programs That Pay Well

Well-paying jobs that one get without a college degree and with a respectable certificate program.

Any high-paying job requires minimal qualifications. If you have a degree, then the chances of getting a decently paid job increase. 

But getting a degree is expensive and time-consuming, and not meant for everyone. What are the other alternatives there are out there that would give you the theoretical and practical knowledge to gain a push ahead in your career journey?

A good solution is to go for certificate programs, which are short-term training programs that give you an insight into your specified skills and validate that study too with credentials.

There are certificates for jobs in various industries, including healthcare, information technology, education, and hospitality. There are many “New-collar jobs,” that do not require high specialization but demand mid-level skills. They do not require one to be super-specialized or have an extensive work history.

The required skills can be acquired through vocational training, certificate programs or an apprenticeship. Such programs are useful for people just starting in their careers or looking for a boost in their career prospects.

Certificates allow one to gain the appropriate knowledge to keep abreast of the latest developments in their respective field. 

Professionals generally find such short-term programs useful. Management programs also can give a fillip to one’s ambitions. Accounting is one career path where such certificates come in very useful.

How do you zero in on the right certificate programs suitable to your career needs or desires? Many educational websites curate such certificate programs for you. There is even a certificate finder website. 

Other avenues are:

  • Find out from your organization if they have some affiliations with institutes that offer such programs or even if there are in-house short term programs on offer.
  • Scout your local colleges and institutes.
  • Talk to colleagues and friends if they have any referrals or recommendations.
  • Check that the certification you are going for has the appropriate government accreditation. There are many fly-by-night organizations that offer courses that have no recognition beyond their doors.

Here is a list of well-paying jobs that one get without a college degree and with a respectable certificate program.

Jobs in the Information Technology industry

Data managers

Data managers organize data using special software. They make sure it is safe and available to the required people.

Database managers can be employed in IT, retail, hospitality, healthcare, etc. Earlier, people preferred database managers to have a degree in computer programming and information management systems. But with technological progress, there are readymade software available that allow people with strong knowledge of database languages, such as Structures Query Language (SQL), to do the job

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, this job is experiencing a faster than average growth rate, with the average salary at $93,750 (2019) per year.

Wellpaying jobs with mid-level skills

Computer programmers

Some may be surprised at this inclusion. But a 4-year degree is not a necessity. Anyone who knows a variety of computer languages, including Java and C++ can make code. Many small children write and develop apps. One needs to have an inclination and interest, and certificate programs can teach the basics of the various computer languages.

Jobs are available in computer systems design companies, or they could work for software publishers or financial companies, among others.

With remote work gaining wider acceptance, programmers are in demand and freelance work more available.

While many computer programmers do have a bachelor’s degree, many have shifted to it due to their passion, experience, or doing a certificate program in specific programming languages.

According to the Department of Labour’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median pay for a computer programmer is $86,550 (2019).

Wellpaying jobs with mid-level skills

Web Designer

They design and develop websites. They handle the website’s performance, speed, and capacity. Web developers can work in any sector that needs a web presence. An associate degree or a certificate in web development is needed.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developers earn a median income of $73,760 per year.

Wellpaying jobs with mid-level skills

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

They are also known as Ultrasound technicians. They do ultrasound images for patients. Medical sonographers work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, medical centers, and laboratories.

One can get an associate degree and a one-year certificate program to find employment. There are bachelor’s degrees too that offer this specialization.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, medical sonographers earn $68,750 (2019) per year.

Wellpaying jobs with mid-level skills

Radiographers

They generally take X-rays and other diagnostic imaging on patients. They work under physicians and help physicians evaluate images. Most radiologic technicians have an associate degree in MRI or radiologic technology. These programs typically take 18 months to two years to complete. There are also certificate programs that take one to two years.

Radiology technicians earn, on average, $62,280 (2019) per year, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Wellpaying jobs with mid-level skills

Draftsman

They find employment in architectural planning and civil engineering work.

They create drawings of the structural features of buildings or maps of civil engineering projects (including public works, bridges, and roads). Most drafters have training in computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), engineering, mechanical drawing, and other design and engineering skills. This training can be from a certificate program, a two-year program, or even a four-year program.

Drafters earn a median income of $56,830 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wellpaying jobs with mid-level skills

Plumbers

They are in great demand in construction, repair and services. Many plumbers learn their work through a certificate program and/or a four- to five-year apprenticeship. Some states also require that plumbers and pipefitters be licensed.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pipefitters and plumbers earn a median income of $55,160 per year.

Wellpaying jobs with mid-level skills

Court Reporter

A court reporter transcribes the proceedings that take place in a legal court. They transcribe depositions and trials. Most court reporters work in courts or legislatures. They require a postsecondary certificate in court reporting from a community college or technical institute.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, court reporters earn a median income of $60,130 per year.

Wellpaying jobs with mid-level skills

Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Mechanic

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics (also known as service technicians) repair, inspect machinery and vehicles used in transportation, farming, construction, and more. Mostly vehicle mechanics work on apprenticeship or vocational training. There are one- to two-year certificate programs in diesel technology and heavy equipment mechanics. This is an added advantage as some of the latest machinery is very complex.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, heavy vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics earn a median income of $51,590 per year.

Wellpaying jobs with mid-level skills

Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanic and Installer

They are also known as HVACR technicians and work on heating, ventilation and cooling technologies used in offices, homes and buildings. HVACR technicians usually complete a degree or certificate program from a trade or technical school or a community college. These programs can last from six months to one year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVACR technicians earn a median income of $48,730 per year.

Wellpaying jobs with mid-level skills

Pharmacy Technician 

A pharmacy technician assists pharmacists in dispensing medicine. They are employed in drug stores/pharmacies and even pharma companies, hospitals, etc.

This being an assistant’s job, apprenticeship suffices. Many vocational/technical schools offer programs in pharmacy technology, some of which award students with a certificate after a year or less.

This average salary of a pharmacy technician is $33,950 (2019) per year, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.1

Diana Coker
Diana Coker is a staff writer at The HR Digest, based in New York. She also reports for brands like Technowize. Diana covers HR news, corporate culture, employee benefits, compensation, and leadership. She loves writing HR success stories of individuals who inspire the world. She’s keen on political science and entertains her readers by covering usual workplace tactics.

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