For far too long, the narrative of success only coming in the form of a college degree has been told. However, as recent statistics have shown, you can earn a very respectable living and have a great career ahead of you without a university education.
Following is a list of career paths that you can pursue with just an accredited certificate program, or an apprenticeship. Be sure that any program or school that you enroll in is accredited. Accreditation is extremely important in ensuring the program’s legitimacy, and your eligibility for employment.
All of our partner schools are accredited! Plus, with the comparatively minimal student debt certificate programs can incur, they can be a great foundation for a rewarding, profitable, career ahead.
As a dental hygienist, you will perform standard cleanings of teeth and gums, examine for any conditions like gum disease or oral cancers. You will also take x-rays, apply sealants and protectants, and educate patients on preventative care. Dental hygienists work with dentists to ensure the patient has received proper care and preparation for any procedure.
Some dental hygienists are college graduates, but you can enter the profession without a college degree as well. By enrolling in a local dental hygienist certificate program, you could be career-ready in one to two years. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by the Commission of Dental Accreditation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental hygienists can anticipate a rewarding and in-demand career path. By 2030, it is predicted that demand for dental hygienists will increase 11 percent. In 2021, it was reported that dental hygienists made an average of $81,360, with the top 10 percent earning $100,200.
X-Ray technicians, or radiologic technicians, use a variety of methods to get the necessary imaging to help physicians and radiologists diagnose patients. Depending on the imaging needed, you will use different techniques like basic x-rays, MRIs, mammography, computed tomography, and fluoroscopy.
Again, some pursue higher education to become an x-ray technician, but you may also enroll in a radiologic technician certificate program to be career-ready between 6 months and a year. Programs can consist of online, classroom, and clinical training.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that x-ray technicians can anticipate an increased demand of 9 percent by 2030. The BLS also reported that in 2021, x-ray technicians made an average of $66,490, with the top 10 percent earning $94,880.
If you’re someone who is technically skilled, great at mathematics and problem solving, apt at running wires, and good with blueprints, then becoming an electrician may be a perfect career choice for you. Your responsibility as an electrician is to maintain, repair, and install electrical infrastructure, whether it’s for a large building, or a residential home.
You can earn a certificate or diploma from an accredited electrician training program. Doing so can get you on the fast track toward becoming an apprentice, typically preparing you to be career-ready in about one year.
Or, you can elect to begin in an apprenticeship right away if you take and pass your functions test. Nevertheless, you must be trained as an apprentice before advancing to journeyman or master electrician status. An apprenticeship typically lasts 4-5 years. (try some basic electrician practice tests)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that electricians will see an increased demand of 9 percent by 2030, which is as fast as the national average. In 2021, electricians averaged $63,310 per year, with the top 10 percent earning $99,800.
Plumbing is another trade that can lead to a rewarding career. Plumbers can work on commercial buildings, community piping systems, the construction of new buildings, and residential homes. Plumbers need to be able to read blueprints and follow state codes.
There are a few different paths to becoming a plumber. You can either find an accredited plumbing certificate program, or jump into an apprenticeship to receive on-the-job training. Similar to the path electricians take, you must begin as an apprentice before you can advance your career to journeyman or master plumber. A plumbing apprenticeship typically lasts about 4-5 years.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2030, demand for plumbers should increase slightly by 5 percent. The BLS also states that in 2021, plumbers averaged $63,350, with the top 10 percent earning $99,920. Read about the plumber job description and how to become one for a more in depth look.
Real Estate Agent
If you aren’t looking in the direction of skilled trades, and find that you may prefer a less technical job, you might enjoy becoming a real estate agent. Real estate is a competitive but exciting industry to enter. Your main responsibility will be to help clients buy, rent, or sell properties.
To become a real estate agent, you will first need a high school diploma, or GED equivalent. After, you simply need your real estate license, the exact process of which may vary depending on your state’s requirements. Find local real estate programs now to work toward gaining your license.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2030, there will be a slight increase in the demand for real estate agents of 4 percent. In 2021, real estate agents made an average of $61,480, with the top 10 percent earning $102,170.
If you are someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, and love being on the open road, becoming an owner-operator of your own trucking company might be ideal for you. You will own your freight delivery business, be your own boss, and work on your schedule.
To become an owner-operator, you must first earn your CDL. You can enroll in a CDL training program near you to get started. Training to get your CDL can take as few as 3-6 weeks. Most owner-operators begin as company drivers to learn the industry, gain experience, and save money to eventually own their fleet. You will need careful financial planning to track your expenses and invest in a truck when the time comes.
When you are ready to become an owner-operator, you will need to open an LLC, file for an EIN (employer identification number), a USDOT number (US Department of Transportation), an MC (motor carrier) number, and obtain the right insurance.
Working to become an owner-operator is a long commitment, but can be an extremely rewarding career path for those who have a passion for the trucking industry. Since owner-operators manage their own fleet, they tend to earn a great deal more than the average company driver. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that demand for the trucking industry is expected to increase 6 percent by 2030.
Aviation mechanics present another exciting and rewarding opportunity to those who are mechanically inclined. You will find yourself responsible for the repair, maintenance, and inspection of aircrafts, along with the adherence to aviation safety rules and regulations.
To become an aviation mechanic, you can find an aircraft maintenance program near you. While some people do break into the field with associates degrees, you can also enroll in an accredited certificate program through one of our partner schools. Certificate programs for aviation mechanics can have you career-ready in as few as 22 months.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that aviation mechanics can anticipate an in-demand career path, with an increased demand of 11 percent predicted by 2030. In addition, aviation mechanics in 2021 made an average salary of $69,470, with the top 10 percent making $98,590.
Your possibilities are not limited to lengthy university programs and racking up costly student loans. Additionally, the careers listed above are just some of the many options available to those who don’t want to attend college.
These certificate programs and apprenticeships can lead to successful and lucrative futures. Get started today by selecting the program you are interested in and exploring your schooling options!
For some further reading, be sure to check out: