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Trade School and College Programs that Take 1 Year or Less

Which Trade School Programs Take The Least Time?

If you want to start a new career fast, you’ll need to train for it even faster. A quick way to learn a new line of work is to train at a trade school for a certificate. There, you will study only your chosen field plus any applicable courses, leaving you career-ready in weeks to months instead of years.

Below, we’ve laid out a dozen in-demand trade careers by approximate time to training completion (based on attending class full time). Though these programs are quick, you will be learning everything you need for entry-level jobs and beyond!

1 Month Programs

CDL-A Truck Driver

3-6 weeks

Professional truck drivers haul loads across the United States, or in a smaller area like a city. Truck drivers are always in-demand, and there are many specializations and endorsements you can complete to help you earn more money as a professional driver. Find local CDL-A training now.

Emergency Medical Technician

4 weeks

Save lives as an EMT by being among the first to respond to critical situations. Work at the scene or transport patients to the hospital quickly. It’s a rapidly growing field with a defined career path to paramedic. EMT programs near you.

3 Month Programs

Skincare Specialist (Esthetician)

3 months

Take care of clients’ skin through facials, treatments, peels, and other products. This cosmetology career has a projected growth rate that’s much faster than the average for all occupations, per in 2022. As you get settled in your new field, you may find you want to expand into nails or hair to increase pay and clientele. Locate an esthetics training program.


3 months

You can keep records of accounts and manage data for clients as a bookkeeper. You’ll work heavily with financial information including payroll, receipts, and invoices. Obtaining additional certifications can help you advance in the field. Read more about becoming a bookkeeper.

6 Month Programs

HVAC Technician

6 months

HVAC Technicians install and maintain heating and cooling systems in commercial, industrial, and residential settings. This career continues to grow in demand, and many technicians can go on to start their own business. Find local or online HVAC training.


7-12 months

Welders join one or more pieces of metal together through various processes. This path will allow you that career flexibility. Welders can specialize in many different fields such as pipeliners or underwater welders, and you can gain many certificates that allow you to go deeper into the field. Locate a welding program near you.

9 Month to 1 Year Programs

Medical Biller or Medical Coder

9 months

These are two separate career paths that sometimes are taught together. Medical coders translate patient diagnoses into codes using ICD-10-CM guidelines, while medical billers work with the insurance company in billing procedures. Both these careers are lucrative and are great options. Locate training for medical billing and medical coding.

Diesel Mechanic

10 months

Diesel mechanics fix and maintain diesel vehicles and engines in many different settings. Diesel mechanic training is comprehensive and can set you on the path to a great career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that diesel mechanics made an average of $53,020 in 2021. Find diesel mechanic training in your area.

Massage Therapist

10 months

Massage therapists make a direct difference in the lives of their clients every day. Massage therapists manipulate muscles and other soft tissues of the body to promote relaxation and other health reasons. You can specialize in the different modalities, or types, of massages which can increase your ability to earn more money. Find massage training near you.

Medical Assistant

10 months

Medical assistants work in doctors offices and other medical offices. They see patients first, gather information about the person, and take their vitals. Medical assistants also work on the administrative side in offices. Find a local or online medical assistant training program near you.

Surgical Technologist

12 months

Surgical technologists work in operating rooms to prepare patients for surgery and the room for surgery, sterilize equipment, and assist the doctors and nurses during operations. Find surgical technology training.

Some of the above mentioned programs can be taken all-online or part online. Learn about online training options.