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Training for Essential Jobs

Training for Essential Jobs

In times of emergency, certain industries may temporarily be shut down, while frontline careers are labeled as essential.

Emergency and medical professionals considered essential because they provide life-saving measures right when needed. But there are also many essential workers from a variety of industries essential to our modern lives.

Essential careers require skilled trade expertise and provide urgent care and support to others.

Read through our sampling of core careers that let you assist others in times of need. By training for an essential role, you could be career-ready—and stay fundamental to America’s workforce—in less than 10 months.

Essential Careers

Medical and Emergency

Dental assistant

  • Time to train: as few as 10 months

Even in a time of emergency, people will need help, sometimes urgently, with their teeth. Dental assistants aid dentists with patients’ oral emergencies, tool sterilization, x-rays, and scheduling. Find a local dental assisting program.


  • Time to train: as few as 4 months

Doctors and hospitals rely on blood tests for preventative and diagnostic care. Phlebotomists are necessary to perform the blood draws from the patient, label the samples, and help donors at blood drives. Find your local phlebotomy program.

Veterinary assistant

  • Time to train: as few as 7 months

Veterinarians remain in service as essential, and assistants are their right-hands, in good times and bad. Vet assistants care for the animals, clean and disinfect exam rooms, and give medications to recovering pets. Find a veterinary assistant school.

Medical billing and coding

  • Time to train: as few as 10 months

Billers and coders working behind the scenes allow the medical community to function just as much as doctors and nurses do. Medical billers and coders assign codes to medical diagnoses and bill insurance companies, keeping the system running. Find a medical billing school or online medical coding program.

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

  • Time to train: as few as 4 months

It’s difficult to imagine any time when emergency medical services, including first responders, EMTs, and paramedics, would not be needed. EMTs provide first aid and life-support care to patients onsite or en route to a facility. Find an EMT training program.

Police officer

  • Time to train: as few as 10 months

Public officials, such as law enforcement, paralegals, firefighters, and other criminal justice professionals, are never out of service. Police officers respond to calls from hurt or endangered people, ticket violators, and patrol their areas. Find criminal justice training near you.

Skilled Trades


  • Time to train: as few as 6 months

Many plumbers are on-call, helping others prevent or recover from damage. Residential communities depend on plumbers for gas and water, and pipefitters serve many industries with repairs and installations for chemical and gas lines. Find a plumbing training program.


  • Time to train: as few as 10 months

Having electricity is required to maintain our modern standard or living. Electricians fix and install wiring and equipment. Like most of the skilled trade careers, electricians may say they are just doing their jobs, but their work can turn the most troubled callers into grateful customers. Find your electrician class today.

HVAC technician

  • Time to train: as few as 6 months

Another important part of modern life is indoor heating a cooling. These systems not only keep us comfortable, but protect us from dangerous temperatures. Because of this, some HVAC technicians are on-call, and, therefore, considered essential. Find HVAC training locally and online.

CDL-A truck driver

  • Time to train: as few as 3-6 weeks

Truck drivers transport all our essentials, from medical supplies to food. Truckers are essential to the supply chain and the economy. Because of this, there will always be a demand from truck drivers. Find a CDL Class A training program near you.

Forklift operator

  • Time to train: as few as 1-2 days

Forklift operators help fellow warehouse associates, such as sorters and packers, fulfill customer and client orders. Many times, these drivers are transporting palleted food, water, and other vital supplies to the docks for trucks to pick up. Other times, they move around the floor, managing inventory retrieval and placement. Find out about online and in-person forklift training.

Diesel mechanic

  • Time to train: as few as 10 months

Diesel mechanics service diesel engines on buses, semi trucks, and passenger vehicles. These workers are essential to keeping transportation and logistics systems running smoothly in difficult times. Find a local mechanic training program.


Culinary arts

  • Time to train: less than 10 months

Restaurants and all the various food service professionals are essential to life. Besides dining establishments, hospitals and kitchens need cooks and chefs to feed people. Find culinary training courses.

Custodial and building cleaners

  • Time to train: on-the-job training

Without these essential service providers, natural disasters and medical situations could easily get out of hand. Janitorial staff members keep building occupants safer by addressing and preventing health issues.


Computer Support Specialist

  • Time to train: as few as 18 months

With our lives becoming more virtual, nearly every business and organization requires technology assistance in some form. Information technology (IT) support specialists solve computer and network problems for others, from small user headaches to major device crashes. Find an IT training program.

Find online business training programs for accountants, financial managers, and loan officers here.

Online Training for Essential Careers

In tough times, essential careers may be only ones physically allowed to go to work. However, many people have switched to remote work at home, and even other companies have found they can shift their practices and offer services digitally, allowing them to stay open. Learn about online programs now.

So if you find your interests and personal abilities don’t match up with this list, explore other options that let you remain flexible in your career.

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