Get Certified, Get Hired: 7 Jobs That You Didn’t Think Require a Certification

We know that many jobs require you to have a high school or college degree. But did you know there are some jobs that require certification as well?

We’re trained to believe a college degree is necessary to advance our career opportunities. This is a commitment that can cost $85,000 just to get started in an entry-level job.

To start with a high school diploma, you’re looking at making $10,000 less per year on average. Luckily, there is a middle ground.
Some high-earning jobs allow you to get started within one to two years with less investment to get the required knowledge. Jobs that require certification allow you to specialize in specific skills and earn a good living wage.

There are many certification programs available, but some are more worth your time than others. If you’re interested in a career with less monetary investment, there are seven types of certification programs you might not know about that can move you from a job to a career.
What Are Certificate Programs?

Certificate programs are short term training programs that allow you to get started in a chosen career quickly. They can last anywhere from a couple of months to two years to complete.
These are non-degree programs, but they provide the training you need to enter a field. Some programs you’re probably familiar with, including plumbing, HVAC, and EMT training.

There are some career paths you probably haven’t considered when it comes to certification programs though. It’s important to check out a certificate program before enrolling though. Make sure the program meets industry and accreditation standards.
Jobs That Require Certification

Moving past the common vocational school training programs, you can find some certificate programs that allow you more options. Whether you want to work in an office situation, in a factory, or on the go, you can find something to fit your career desires.

  1. Personal Trainer
    If you enjoy exercise and want to work with people, a personal training program is a good fit. A certification program usually takes eight weeks to complete. You’ll learn everything you need to know to help people meet their fitness needs.
    Basic nutrition
    Basic anatomy
    Exercise techniques
    You can work in gyms or private studios as a personal trainer. You can also work out of your home. You’ll help clients create fitness programs to help them reach their goals. 
    You want to make sure any program you complete is certified by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. The average salary for a certified personal trainer is $32,000 per year.
  2. Paralegal
    Paralegals act as administrative assistants in legal offices such as a law firm. This option works well for people who enjoy legal jargon and want an office setting.
    Paralegal certification can take one-to-two months to complete. The training includes
    Legal research
    Document preparation
    Case investigation
    As a paralegal, you’ll also keep up with any client or filing deadlines. You’re also the face of the office, dealing with clients and other visitors.
    You can work in a law office, or you can work as a freelancer with this certification. The average salary for a paralegal is $50,000 per year.
  3. Court Reporter/ Stenographer
    A court reporter keeps written records of law proceedings. They usually work in courtrooms, but the stenography training allows for opportunities outside the law. 
    Stenography involves shorthand to take notes of dialogue that you later type out into full transcripts. This makes it possible to keep up with what people say without taking full notes.
    Because of the stenography training, you can also work in other communication fields. Many stenographers do caption work for broadcast and other communication fields. 
    A stenography program takes 18 months to complete. This is another certified career that allows you to do freelance work. A court reporter averages $47,000 per year. 
  4. Web Developer
    If you enjoy communicating in code and have a flair for graphic design, you could take the web development route. To get started as a web developer you can take a coding or web development certification program.
    These certification programs usually last nine weeks. You’ll learn all the basics of web design.
    Computer code
    Graphic design
    Application design
    Web layout
    A web developer designs the graphics and layout of websites. You’ll write code for the applications and monitor site capabilities, including traffic control.
    You can work for a web development firm, do freelance work, or create your own web development company. A web developer averages $65,000 per year.
  5. Clinical Documentation Specialist
    If you have a desire to work in the healthcare industry and enjoy documentation, you should consider a clinical documentation specialist program. This requires a little more time as you first need a two-year degree in health information management. You can then get a Health Information Technician Certification.
    The certification takes one year to complete. You’ll learn basic medical terminology and procedures:
    ICD-10 coding
    Health information management
    Insurance reimbursement
    As a documentation specialist, you’ll organize patient info. It’s your job to keep patient information complete and accurate. You also need to make sure the info is available for practitioners while maintaining privacy laws. 
    This certification requires a lot of training. You can learn all about clinical documentation specialists if you’re interested.
    Most clinical documentation specialists work in a physician’s office or medical facility. The average salary for this career is $70,000 per year.
  6. Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
    If the requirements for a clinical documentation specialist seems too involved, you can still take a certification program to work in the healthcare industry. Certification as a medical billing and coding specialist.
    This certification only takes one-to-two months to complete. The training includes
    Medical terminology
    Medical and insurance codes
    Insurance reimbursement
    HIPAA laws
    As a billing and coding specialist, you’ll make sure all bills and insurance claims are completed and filed accurately. This includes keeping up with changes to insurance codes and regulations. You’ll keep up with patient billing info and deadlines to file claims.
    You can work in a medical facility or for an insurance company. You can also do freelance work with this certification. A medical billing and coding specialist averages $35,000 per year.
  7. Sheet Metal Worker
    If you don’t like the idea of working in an office situation and enjoy working with your hands, you can get certified as a sheet metal worker. You can start an apprenticeship to learn, or get certification to have the training you need starting out.
    This program takes about one year to complete, though you’ll still likely start as an apprentice. You’ll learn how to construct products and parts from sheet metal. This includes
    Welding and soldering
    Reading blueprints
    Necessary tools
    This job usually takes place in factories or shops. You can work in many industries including HVAC, construction, and factory production. A sheet metal worker averages $47,000 per year.

Why Choose Certification Programs
These choices are just a small sampling of the certification programs available to get started in careers. There are many programs in medical, administrative, and vocational fields.

You can also get certification in a field you’ve already trained for to advance your career. In fact, many employers look for certifications over degrees these days to show specialized knowledge. Employment at the certification level is estimated to grow 11% through 2026.
Certification programs allow you to focus on the knowledge necessary for a specific field. This means you get more advanced knowledge in your career field.

This advanced knowledge often comes at a reduced cost compared to four-year degrees. The most expensive certification programs cost about $5,000. Compare this to the $80,000 price tag on four-year degrees and you can see why so many people choose certification.

How to Get Certified for a Job
The certification process depends on the field you plan to enter. Some require class time before sitting for a certification exam. Others allow you to study on your own and take the exam at your own pace. This also depends on whether you take an online or in-person class.

Online programs allow you to go through the class material online. You’ll complete certain tests or projects during the program to show your understanding. Once you complete the course work, you’re set to take the exam and receive your certification.

In-person classes can take longer as you meet at set times to complete the work. You’ll do the classwork and projects at these times. Once the classes end you’re able to sit for the exams.

Each certification exam will have a passing grade you must meet to get your certification. If you pass, they’ll send the certificate. If not, you must follow their rules to qualify for the exam again.

Some industries require you to complete continuing education classes to keep up with your certification. If that’s the case, you’ll have a list to choose from to meet these requirements.

Other Career Training Opportunities
Even if you’re not looking for jobs that require certification, you should always stay up-to-date with industry news and changes. You can do this with certifications, or you can find other training materials to help you advance your career.

You can look into classes and training materials from industry experts for yourself or your office. For more information about training opportunities, check out the small business training material available. 

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.