Local trade school options are many and varied, and there are dozens of online training programs too. Here is a list of 24 careers that take you from training to working in about 6 months or less.
Some of these courses even take just as few as 6 weeks, like certain medical career programs or long haul CDL driver! A few of these programs can set you on the road to some of the highest-paying trade school careers.
Find a trade school or college near you now.
- HVAC Technician: There are a few different options for going into HVAC. The quickest training program for HVAC technicians is a certificate program. These are common at a trade school, where you can become career-ready in as few as 6 months. The average pay in 2019 was $51,420*. Find a local HVAC school now.
- Truck Driver: Depending on the program you attend, you can get your CDL in as few as 6 weeks. In 2019, CDL-A drivers earned an average pay of $46,850*. Find a truck driving school near you.
- Auto Mechanic: Go to trade or vocational school, and you can be career-ready in as few as 9 months. The average pay for auto mechanics in 2019 was $44,890*. Find a local auto mechanic school.
- Electrician: A training program at a trade school takes as few as 10 months. The average electrician salary in 2019 was $60,370*. Many electricians earn even more than that. Find electrician training near you.
- Plumbing: Some programs, such as the Porter and Chester plumbing course, are longer but can still have you career-ready in approximately 6-12 months. Plumbers earned an average of $59,800* in 2019, but it’s not uncommon to earn much more than that.
- Diesel Mechanic: Diesel mechanic maintenance training takes as few as 6 months to a year to complete. The average diesel mechanic pay in 2019 was $49,150 to work on trucks, buses or other diesel vehicles*. Find a diesel mechanic school near you.
- Wind Turbine Technicians: This is one of the fastest growing careers (61% through 2029), and it doesn’t take too long to get your training. There are certificate programs lasting anywhere between three months to two years. The 2019 average annual wage was $56,700*.
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA): Train in as few as 2 months for this essential job and work in doctors' offices, hospitals, and more. CMAs take medical histories, record vital signs, prep patients for exams, provide treatment and procedure explanations, and assist the doctor during exams. CMA average pay in 2019 was $35,720*. Read about 6 week online CMA programs.
- Certified Coding Specialist & Medical Billing: Medical billing and medical coding are two separate careers. You can become a medical biller in in less than a year, and a coder in the same amount of time. Both earn, on average, $44,010 per year*. Find a medical billing or online medical coding course now.
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): With a high school diploma or GED, you are ready to start your 6-12 weeks of CNA training. In 2019, nursing assistants earned an average pay of $30,720*.
- EMT: You can become an emergency medical technician in as few as 6 weeks of training. In 2019, the average annual pay for an EMT was $38,830*.
- 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; further requirements differ by state. in 2019, HHAs earned an average annual pay of $25,330*.
- Medical Transcriptionist: Some medical transcriptionist programs can be completed in as few as 6 months, while others could take up to a year. You will take voice recordings and turn them into written records. In 2019, medical transcriptionists earned an average annual pay of $35,210*.
- Phlebotomist: Train in approximately 4-8 months. Some people use phlebotomy as a stepping stone toward other medical careers, while many stay in this career forever. You’ll need to get certified and licensed in accordance with state mandates. In 2019, phlebotomists earned an average annual salary of $36,480*.
- Certified Cardiographic Technician: Some certificate training programs allow you to join the workforce in as few as several weeks; alternately, some students may choose to get an associate degree, which takes two years. The average salary is $59,600*.
Read about medical and healthcare careers.
- 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. In 2019, the average annual pay for flight attendants was $56,230*, and you can't beat all the traveling you'll get to enjoy!
- Aircraft Mechanic: This 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 $67,110, and the top ten percent earn $101,070 or more*.
- Court Clerk: Be trained on the job as an intern. Many courts require you to have only a high school diploma or GED. 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. In 2019, the average annual salary for court clerks was $42,030*.
- 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 $33,030*.
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! In 2019, massage therapists brought in an average annual pay of $47,180*.
- 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 training programs last up to 6 months, and you’ll need to take a certification test after you complete your program. On average, personal trainers earn $45,110*. Very successful ones can earn much more.
- Pharmacy Technician: Training should only last approximately 15 weeks if you choose to go to a vocational school. The average annual pharmacy technician pay was $35,250 per year in 2019*. Find a pharmacy technician school now.
- Computer Technician: Computer techs 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 a strong portfolio or to get an associate or bachelor’s degree. In 2019, 3D animators had an average annual pay of $84,780*.
Read about different computer and IT careers.
- Highest Paying Jobs with Least Time in School
- 3 Months to 1 Year Medical Certificates
- Fast Trade School Programs
*All pay statistics based on 2019 information provided by Bureau of Labor Statistics.