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How to Get a Better Paying Job – 9 Fun Careers That Might Surprise You
Many people who graduated high school and didn’t go to college feel like they’re in dead-end jobs. Working in retail or a restaurant can pay the bills. However, these jobs don’t usually offer room to grow.
Getting a rewarding job can significantly improve your outlook on life. It is possible to be happy at work – especially if your daily work results in raises, promotions to higher positions, increased responsibility, and respect for what you do. It can feel great to be rewarded for your work and know that you’re going somewhere!
With many low-skill jobs, schedules may change from week to week, and the work itself, and even the hours that you are required to work, may not be so desirable. Additionally, health insurance may not be available. Even if insurance is offered, it may not be affordable.
The good news is that you don’t have to go to an expensive university to get paid more and have a more positive working life. There are several fun careers that you can have with an associate degree or certificate. Explore trade/technical schools…they can provide you with specialized skills for that better job in less than two years!
How To Get a Better Paying Job You Enjoy
One of the first steps in getting a better paying job is to look at technical schools.
You can get certificates and associate degrees from these schools. They offer a range of programs to help you find a job that you will enjoy. Whether you’re interested in working with your hands, computers or people, trade schools have programs available.
Technical schools can be less expensive than traditional four-year colleges when you consider that:
- Less time (2-3 years less) is required to complete your education.
- Minimal general education courses are required, as the focus is on learning specialized skills.
- Do you have children and/or a job? These schools often offer day or evening classes, so you will be able to go to school and also work or take care of the kids.
- If you do need to put your children in daycare while you go to school, the less time required at school also makes technical schools a more affordable option for you.
- Additionally, trade schools are accredited institutions and offer financial aid available to those who qualify.
Make More Money And Look Forward To Work
While you may hate the job you currently have, working in a field you are interested in can make going to work something you look forward to. Many jobs for skilled workers allow you to see that you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day.
A certificate or an associate degree can allow you to make a lot more money. People with associate degrees make around 20 percent more than people who only have a high school diploma.
Careers in the skilled trades offer room for advancement and higher pay. This is especially true for people with the formal hands-on training that a technical school provides and for those with additional industry-specific professional certifications.
Some Skilled Workers Choose to Start Their Own Businesses
Obtaining a trade-specific job may also set you up with the skills you need to start your own company. Owning and running your own business can give you freedom in many ways. Some benefits of owning your own business include:
- You can be in control and make your own decisions.
- You can make more money running your own business than you would as an employee.
- You can make a difference! You can help your clients and customers, become involved in your community, and create jobs for people where you live.
- You can have a more flexible lifestyle. Some businesses lend themselves to raising a family while still enjoying a successful career. Some business owners can even work from home. According to a survey done by American Express, the number of businesses owned by women went up by 68% from 1997 to 2014, and in 2014 more than 9.1 million women owned their own businesses in the United Sates.
The Need For Skilled Workers
You may be thinking that you need a four-year degree to get a good job. Many parents and high schools teachers stress the need to go to college. However, there are a lot of companies that need skilled workers. These are people who are good with their hands but may not have gone to a university.
The creation of new jobs and the retirement of skilled workers has led to a lot of open skilled trade positions. It is estimated that around four million jobs for skilled laborers are going unfilled. This has led many employers to hire employees that don’t have any experience as long as they have some basic training.
9 Fun Jobs That Don’t Require Four-Year Degrees
There are a lot of jobs that don’t require you to have gone to college. Many of these jobs are seeing a lot of growth. With the need for so many new people, on-the-job training is sometimes available, but education and training is preferred. Even if you don’t have prior experience, a certificate or an associate degree may be all you need to start a new, fun career.
Here are some of the fastest growing jobs that are also fun to do:
Educational Requirements: Employers prefer that automotive service technicians and mechanics complete a formal education program at a postsecondary institution. Industry certification is usually required once the person is employed.
Expected Job Growth Between 2014 and 2024: 5-8% (237,200 new job openings)
Median Wages: See the median and state wages for “Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics” at: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/49-3023.00
How to Earn More: Those who have completed formal postsecondary training programs or achieved ASE certification should enjoy the best job prospects. Those without formal automotive training or certification are likely to face strong competition for entry-level jobs.
Job Description: There are a lot of positions that someone interested in becoming an automotive technician may be able to fill. Automotive technicians may focus on basic repairs or specialize in certain parts of a vehicle, like brakes or engines.
Additional Job Duties
- Figuring out mechanical problems by running tests
- Replacing worn out or broken parts
- Handling warranty work and repairs
- Performing basic maintenance
- Explaining repairs and estimates to customers
Educational Requirements: Because HVACR systems have become increasingly complex, employers generally prefer HVAC Technician applicants with postsecondary education or those who have completed an apprenticeship. Some states and localities require technicians to be licensed.
Expected Job Growth Between 2014 and 2024: 14% (much faster than the average for all occupations) and 84,200 new job openings
Median Wages: See the median and state wages for “Refrigeration and HVAC Technicians” at: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/49-9021.01
How to Earn More: Candidates familiar with computer tablets and electronics, as well as those who have developed troubleshooting skills, will have the best job opportunities as employers continue to have difficulty finding qualified technicians to install, maintain, and repair complex new systems.
Job Description: HVAC technicians normally work on the heating and cooling systems in buildings and homes. They may also work with systems that ensure high air quality.
Additional Job Duties
- Install or replace heaters and air conditioners
- Diagnose and repair issues with HVAC systems
- Help homeowners and business owners improve energy efficiency
- Maintain HVAC systems
- Connect systems to fuel lines, water lines, coolant lines and air ducts
Computer Support Specialist
Educational Requirements: Most employers require network and computer systems administrators to have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. Others may require only a postsecondary certificate.
Expected Job Growth Between 2014 and 2024: 5-8% and 79,400 new job openings
Median Wages: See the median and state wages for “Network and Computer Systems Administrators” at: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1142.00?redir=15-1071.00
How to Earn More: Employees in this career field can usually earn more money by obtaining industry-specific professional certifications on top of their trade school certificate or associate degree. Prospects are best for candidates who are up to date on the latest technology, especially cloud computing.
Job Description: There is a wide range of computer support jobs available. Along with providing support for setting up new computers, technicians may also help people fix computer problems. These problems can be with Internet connections, hardware or software. Support technicians may help individuals or provide support for companies.
Additional Job Duties
- Testing and maintaining computers or network systems
- Running tests to determine hardware or software problems
- Providing over the phone or email support for Internet or PC problems
- Training other people on how to use computers or do particular tasks
Educational Requirements: The education and training required for fitness trainers and instructors varies by type of specialty, and employers often hire those with certification.
Expected Job Growth Between 2014 and 2024: 14% or higher and 10,400 new job openings
Median Wages: See the median and state wages for “Personal Trainers” at: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-9091.00
How to Earn More: Job prospects should be best for workers with professional certification or increased levels of formal education in health or fitness
Job Description: Personal trainers help people and groups complete strength training exercises and exercises that improve heart function. Exercises can range from yoga to weight lifting, and trainers may work with individuals at all skill levels.
Additional Job Duties
- Show people how to perform certain actions or exercises
- Help individuals perform actions in ways that will reduce their risk of injury
- Provide people with information about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Perform emergency first aid if needed
Educational Requirements: All states require barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists to be licensed. To qualify for a license, candidates are required to graduate from a state-approved barber or cosmetology program and then pass a state exam for licensure.
Expected Job Growth Between 2014 and 2024: 9-13% (faster than average) and 212,100 new job openings
Median Wages: See the median and state wages for “Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists” at: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/39-5012.00
How to Earn More: Employees in this career field take advanced courses in hairstyling or in other personal appearance services to keep up with the latest trends. Those who want to open their own business also may take courses in sales and marketing.
Job Description: While most cosmetologists give people haircuts, they may do other things as well.
Additional Job Duties:
- Drying and styling hair
- Providing recommendations based on a person’s skin or hair type
- Offering suggestions for hairstyles
- Chemically changing hair via dye or perm solutions
Educational Requirements: Massage therapists typically complete a postsecondary education program of 500 or more hours of study and experience, although standards and requirements vary by state or other jurisdictions. Most states regulate massage therapy and require massage therapists to have a license or certification.
Expected Job Growth Between 2014 and 2024: 14% or higher (much faster than average) and 49,000 new job openings
Median Wages: See the median and state wages for “Massage Therapists” at: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/31-9011.00
How to Earn More: In states that regulate massage therapy, opportunities should be available to those who complete formal programs and pass a professionally recognized exam. Because referrals are an important source of work for massage therapists, marketing and networking may help increase the number of job opportunities. Joining a professional association also can help build strong contacts and further increase the likelihood of steady work. In addition, massage therapists may be able to attract a wider variety of clients by completing education programs in multiple modalities.
Description: People who are massage therapists relieve pain and improve circulation by manipulating soft tissues and muscles of patients. Massage therapy can help to reduce the time it takes to heal from an injury, relieve stress and help people relax.
Additional Job Duties
- Work with clients to determine what massage is needed to help them
- Find points of pain and tension on a client’s body
- Keep track of a client’s progress
- Help clients improve their posture and explain the best way to strengthen and stretch their body
Educational Requirements: Most medical assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate. Others enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn through on-the-job training.
Expected Job Growth Between 2014 and 2024: 14% or higher (much faster than average) and 262,100 new job openings
Median Wages: See the median and state wages for “Medical Assistants” at: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/31-9092.00
How to Earn More: Medical assistants who earn certification and have familiarity with electronic health records (EHRs) may have better job prospects.
Job Description: The job of a medical assistant includes handling administrative tasks in medical settings. Medical assistants may work in hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices and medical facilities. What medical assistants are expected to do will depend on the setting they are working in.
Additional Job Duties
- Taking down a patient’s medical history and personal information
- Measuring patient vital signs, such as pulse or blood pressure
- Assisting doctors and nurses with physical examinations
- Administering medications according to physician instructions
- Drawing blooding
- Performing basic laboratory tests
- Removing sutures and changing dressings
Educational Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent. Most states regulate pharmacy technicians, which is a process that may require passing an exam or completing a formal education or training program.
Expected Job Growth Between 2014 and 2024: 9-13% (faster than average) and 71,600 new job openings
Median Wages: See the median and state wages for “Pharmacy Technicians” at: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-2052.00
How to Earn More: Some states and employers require pharmacy technicians to be certified. Even where it is not required, certification may make it easier to get a job. Many employers will pay for their pharmacy technicians to take the certification exam.
Job Description: Pharmacy technician jobs are both full- and part-time. People may work in hospitals, grocery stores or other medical settings filling prescriptions.
Additional Job Duties
- Collecting the information required to fill a prescription
- Packaging, labeling and measuring medications
- Organizing and helping to maintain an inventory of medications
- Pharmacy technicians at hospitals may fill a greater variety of medication orders, including ones for IVs
Educational Requirements: There are several possible paths to becoming a dental assistant. Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam. In other states, there are no formal educational requirements.
Expected Job Growth Between 2014 and 2024: 14% or higher (much faster than average) and137,500 new job openings
Median Wages: See the median and state wages for “Dental Assistants” at: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/31-9091.00
How to Earn More: Dental assistants with advanced certification or training will likely have the best job prospects.
Job Description: A dental assistant may be required to do a variety of tasks, and job duties will depend on where someone works. Most assistants will work with patients to take down information about patients and provide basic dental care.
Additional Job Duties
- Preparing dental patients for procedures
- Dealing with administrative tasks, like making appointments and taking payments
- Explaining proper oral hygiene to patients
- Assisting dentists during procedures and making sure tools are sterilized
Conclusion – Find Your Dream Career
If you’re interested in increasing your income and your level of job satisfaction, you should consider getting a certificate or an associate degree in a vocational program from a trade school or technical college.
Technical colleges often allow you to get an associate degree or certification while you work a full-time job. Obtaining an education is a key part of how to get a better job. You can complete your training in less than two years, and financial aid is available to those who qualify. (Read the next article: “How to Pay for College On a Low Income: Financial Aid Tips for Adults Going to College”).
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
- Expert says skilled labor workers are in high demand and in short supply – http://whnt.com/2016/03/27/expert-says-skilled-labor-workers-are-in-high-demand-and-in-short-supply/
- America’s Skilled Trades Dilemma: Shortages Loom As Most-In-Demand Group Of Workers Ages – http://www.forbes.com/sites/emsi/2013/03/07/americas-skilled-trades-dilemma-shortages-loom-as-most-in-demand-group-of-workers-ages/#65be36f94545
- 4 ways to increase your salary potential – http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/08/30/wall-st-cheat-sheet-4-ways-to-increase-your-salary-potential/14761891/
- Certificates: A fast track to careers – http://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2012/winter/art01.pdf – The Advantages of Owning Your Own Business – https://www.thebalance.com/the-advantages-of-owning-your-own-business-2948555
About IntelliTec Colleges
IntelliTec Colleges provide hands-on career training in Colorado and New Mexico with Associate (Occupational Studies) Degrees and Certificate programs designed to be completed in 9 to 18 months. Campus locations include Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Pueblo. IntelliTec provides a supportive learning environment with small classes sizes and caring instructors. Learn how you can improve your life with a meaningful career by requesting information at www.IntelliTec.edu or calling 1-800-748-2282. IntelliTec Colleges are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.