Training for a High Paying Career In 6 Months Or Less
Local trade school options are wide and varied and there are many online training programs too. Here is a list of 21 careers that take you from training to working in six months or less. As little as 6 weeks for some medical career programs or long haul CDL driver. A few of these programs set you on the road to some of the highest-paying trade school jobs if you decide to continue schooling later.
- Auto Mechanic: There are a couple different paths to take when it comes to becoming an auto mechanic. You can find yourself in an apprenticeship (three to five years) where you can get a job immediately and earn as you learn, or you can go to trade or vocational school, which takes six months to two years (you’ll still have to do an apprenticeship). Once you’re a full-fledged auto mechanic, you can earn an average salary of $39K.
- Electrician: With your high school diploma or GED and an electrical apprenticeship, you will get paid as you learn the trade. Apprenticeships are usually found through unions, and you must pass a basic algebra test to even be considered. You’ll have four to five years of the apprenticeship ahead of you, but the good news is you don’t have to pay for the education: You’ll be the one earning money! The average salary you can expect to earn is $52K. However, many electricians earn much more than that.
- HVAC Tech: There are a few different options when going into HVAC. The quickest one is through a trade school, where you can get your diploma in as little as six months. You may have to do an apprenticeship, but you’ll start earning an hourly rate—it’s a pay to learn process. The median salary for HVAC techs is more than $45K annually.
- Plumbing: Many plumbers get their start with on-the-job training or an apprenticeship. It’s also an earn as you learn situation, which is a win-win. You’re getting paid to learn a trade. To start with, you’ll have to have your high school diploma or GED, and then you can enroll in an apprenticeship program. These will last four to five years, but your pay goes up in step with your experience. The average plumber earns over the $51K mark, but it’s not uncommon to make much, much more than that. Since there is such a strong need for new plumbers, there are plenty of jobs available.
- Truck Driver: Depending on where you live or what program you attend, you can get your CDL in as little as a few weeks. Each state has its own truck driving requirements, but as long as you meet them and get your license, you’re on the road to earning an average salary of $40K. Read: how to become a truck driver.
- Diesel Mechanic - Diesel mechanic maintenance training takes 6 months to a year to complete and the average pay is over $46,000 to work on trucks, buses or other diesel vehicles.
- Wind Turbine Technicians: This is one of the fastest growing careers (96 percent through 2026), and it doesn’t take too long to get your training. There are certificate programs lasting anywhere between three months to two years. Apprenticeships are also available, in which you’ll get paid as you learn this trade. You’ll earn a median annual wage of over $52K.
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA): Train in a couple months and work in doctor's offices, hospitals, athletic training facilities and more. CMAs take medical histories, record vital signs, prep patients for exams, provide treatment and procedure explanations, and assist the doctor during exam. Earn a median salary of $32K per year. Read about online CMA programs.
- Certified Coding Specialist & Medical Billing: Medical billing and medical coding are two separate careers. You can become a medical biller in less than a year, and a coder in the same amount of time. Both earn, on average, $38K per year. Find a medical billing or online certified medical coding specialist course, they're popular choices for students who want to learn online.
- Certified Cardiographic Technician: Some certificate training programs allow you to join the workforce in as little as a few weeks; alternately, some students may choose to get an associate degree, which takes two years. On-the-job training, straight after you earn your high school diploma, takes about four to six weeks. You will work as part of a medical team diagnosing heart conditions. The average salary is more than $56K.
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): With a high school diploma or GED, you are ready to start your six to 12 weeks of CNA training. Where you work will determine the type of responsibilities you’ll have. For sure, you can expect to be a nurse’s right-hand person. For your efforts, you’ll earn an average salary of close to $27K.
- EMT: You can become an emergency medical technician in less than one year, with some programs taking only a couple months to complete. After you finish your course and take the licensing exam, you can get a job saving lives. The average EMT earns more than $32K per year.
- Home Health Aide: Train on the job to become a HHA. You can work at a home health or hospice agency. Your minimum requirement is a high school diploma or GED. Everyone has to pass a competency exam, but past that, each state has its own variation of requirements. HHAs earn a median annual salary of $22K.
- Medical Transcriptionist: Some medical transcriptionist programs can be completed in six months, while others could take up to a year. You will take voice recordings and turn them into written records. Medical transcriptionists earn an average of $38K per year.
- Phlebotomist: Train in approximately four to eight months. Some people use phlebotomy as a stepping stone toward other medical careers, while many happily stay in this career forever. You need a high school diploma or GED prior to enrolling in the training program. You’ll need to get certified and licensed in accordance with what your state mandates. From there, you’ll earn a median annual salary of over $32K.
- Flight Attendant: Training takes several weeks, and some preparation can even be done online, at schools like Inflight Institute. There is a minimum age requirement; depending on the airline, it could be 18 or 21. You’ll also need a high school diploma or GED. Average entry-level salary for flight attendants is between $16K-$25K, but you can't beat all the traveling you'll get to enjoy!
- Aircraft Mechanic: Will take longer than 6 months but come on, airplane mechanic is a great career... it's worth the schooling. The average yearly salary is over $61,000, the top ten percent can earn over $90,000.
- Court Clerk: Be trained on the job as an intern. Many courts require you to have only a high school diploma or GED. You’ll have to apply to the court, go through a background check and a drug test, be interviewed, and then get hired. Once you’re hired, you’ll be trained as an intern. Be aware that this isn't the case for all court systems—some will require you to have an associate or bachelor's degree in some area of criminal justice. The average salary for court clerks is just a bit over the $39K mark.
- Security Guard: Generally speaking, you’ll receive on-the-job training through the hiring company. You’ll go through an interview process, have a background check, get hired, and receive training. Security guards earn an average salary of close to $25K.
Health and Fitness
- Massage Therapist: The average amount of training involved is between 500-600 hours, which takes several months to finish if you attend classes full time. Once you’ve completed that and gotten your state license, you’re good to go! Massage therapists bring in over $38K per year.
- Personal Trainer: If you love everything about working out, you can turn that into a career and share your love of fitness with paying clients. PT technician training programs last up to six months, and you’ll need to take a certification test after you complete your program. On average, personal trainers earn over $38K. Very successful ones can earn $72K or more.
- Pharmacy Technician: You can learn to be a pharmacy technician through on-the-job training, but you must have your high school diploma or GED first. Training should only last around 15 weeks if you choose to go the vocational school route. Each state has its own requirements when it comes to licensing, and there are continuing education credits necessary every two years. You’ll make over $30K per year as a pharmacy technician.
- Computer Technician: Computer tech’s work in a variety of industries, from small business to government. Certificate programs take less than a year to complete but you can study longer, it's up to you. A computer tech program is a great way to start off in the IT field.
- 3D Animator: You either need some killer talent with an awesome portfolio or to get an associate or bachelor’s degree. But if you’re banking on your talent to land you a job as a 3D animator, and your portfolio is ready to be shared, then you may find yourself on the receiving end of $63K+ per year. Read about different computer and IT careers.
You want it all, but you don't want to wait too long. The good news is that you simply don't have to. Step into a new career with six weeks to six months of training. Your biggest decision is figuring out which one!
- Highest Paying Jobs with Least Time in School
- 3 Months to 1 Year Medical Certificates
- Occupational Employment Statistics on BLS