Quick Certifications That Can Pay You Well

By: Jill Caren / Updated:

Certifications are a great way to get into some amazing jobs with little financial investment or time needed. Some jobs might require vocational or trade school training while others may just be a few weeks of online training.

This list of quick certifications that can pay well are a great first step to carving a new path.

First, let’s clear up a pretty common question!

What Is The Difference Between A Degree and Certification?

Degrees and certifications are two very different things. While both can help you get into specific careers, the requirements are very different. Let’s compare what makes each unique.


  • Acquire necessary skills and training for a specific job.
  • Shorter term to completion, some certification programs can be just a few weeks.
  • More affordable than college.


  • More generalized education that can offer you the opportunity to work in several jobs.
  • Longer time to completion. Associate degrees are typically 2-years while a Bachelors degrees take 4-years.
  • Higher cost of education.

As an example if you wanted to become a life coach, you can attend a community college for 2-years and earn an Associate’s degree in psychology. This will give you more insight into the mind and techniques used in a variety of psychology based areas. It does not just focus on life coaching as a study, but all elements of psychology.

Alternatively, you can attend a life coach certification program that will focus exclusively on the skills you would need to succeed as a life coach.

Do I Need A Certification?

Not all jobs need a certification.

Not all jobs even offer them.

But, if the job you are considering does offer a certificate program, it is well worth it to make that investment. Certificate programs are usually pretty affordable and can just be a few weeks of your time. In return, you can get higher wages and build better credibility as a true expert in your field.

How Much Will A Certification Course Cost?

This will really depend on where you get certified.

There are some online certificate courses like IAP that can be a few hundred dollars. If you go to a specific vocational or trade school you may be in the $500 and up range.

Deciding on the job or career path you want should be the first thing you think about. Then, consider how you will pay for your certification! You can also reach out to see if the classes you will be taking for your certification is eligible for any kind of financial aid. If you are currently working, you can see if your employer will cover the costs.

Now on to some of the best certification programs you can consider.

Quick Certification Programs To Consider

These certifications all pay well, offer good opportunities, and some can even allow you to be your own boss if that is something you are interested in!

Death Doula Certification

Estimated time to completion: Under 3 months
Average death doula salary: $45-$100 per hour

You may not even know this is a thing, but a death doula is an important part of a family who has a relative that is terminally ill. They will provide support in many ways including physical, mental, and spiritual. They will assist those that are dying, and their families, with all the preparations that are needed for the moment of death.

Anyone can become a death doula, even without education or certification. But, it might be helpful to take a life doula certification course to help you understand the entire job and its expectations. Death doulas are usually self-employed or might work as a contractor with another organization. Estimates place the hourly range of pay at about $45-$100 per hour.

Emergency Medical Technician Certification

Estimated time to completion: Under 6 months
Average EMT salary: $36,930

An emergency medical technician (EMT) require licensing in most states. As an EMT you will be responsible for proving care to those that are sick or injured. You will be dispatched by a 911 operator where you will assess the situation and provide needed care or call for additional assistance for more complicated scenes.

EMT level training usually includes about 150 hours of instruction and a test will need to be passed to become certified. Classes can be taken in a technical school, community college, or even a medical facility.

Flight Attendant Certification

Estimated time to completion: Under 6 months
Average flight attendant salary: $61,640

Ready to travel the world and get paid doing it? A flight attendant earns a very good wage and can travel to all parts of the globe. But, while that may sound amazing – remember you will be away from home – a LOT. But the training can take just a few weeks – sometimes up to a few months, and when completed you can test for the FAA certification you need to be an attendant.

Unlike other jobs on this list, you will be employed by an airline and advancement opportunities and benefits are part of the perks.

Life Coach Certification

Estimated time to completion: Under 1 year
Average life coach salary: $62,500

If you are interested in becoming a life coach, this is one job you can actually do without any formal certification or training. But, we do highly recommend the Certified Life Coach (CLC) training so you can show your level of professional development in the field.

This certification means you have completed an accredited course with a recognized body such as The International Coaching Federation (ICF). If you are not ready to get a full fledged formal accreditation, you can take the Life Coach certification course through the International Association of Professions Career College (IAP). It is a full course for just a couple of hundred dollars that can give you more insight into whether you will enjoy this job.

A life coach averages about $62K annually as per the International Coaching Federation. But how much you make can vary greatly based on your success with clients, marketing, and whether you work with a company or on your own. There is no reason this job cannot be a $100K career!

Visit IAP career college to learn more about their life coach certification program.

Phlebotomist Certification

Estimated time to completion: Under 1 year
Average phlebotomist salary: $37,380

Phlebotomists are skilled professionals that draw blood from patients. The blood is then most commonly tested to see if a patient is ill, but there are other reasons that blood my be needed to be drawn.

Taking an accredited course to get certified is required to become a phlebotomist. You will learn a variety of medical procedures and get a lot of practice in drawing blood so you can make a patient’s experience a great one. If becoming a phlebotomist sounds like your thing, check out or phlebotomy career guide.

Real Estate Agent Certification

Estimated time to completion: 3-6 months
Average salary: $48,000 with the opportunity to earn 6-figures

Buying and selling houses is a good career for those that are outgoing, can be creative with their marketing, and can offer exceptional customer service skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, real estate agents show an annual salary of about $48,000.

But there are plenty of agents making well over 6-figures. The area you live, your ability to market yourself well, and of course the state of the economy can really affect your income. So, if you need a stable income, real estate agent may not be a good fit.

Real estate certification requirements vary by state, but in most cases you will need to pass a licensing exam which can be pretty hard. (I know, I took one in NJ!)

Attending a local real estate school is the first step to becoming a real estate agent. Some areas may have online real estate school options as well. Once you complete the course you can take the test and then find a broker to work with.

Truck Driver Certification

Estimated time to completion: 2-6 months
Average salary: $50,000 with the opportunity to earn 6-figures

Truck drivers are in huge need right now with many companies offering huge sign-on bonuses. With an average salary of about $50,000 annually, it is a good paying job with a lot of unique opportunities. There are also many truck drivers that do make well over $100K per year.

You can work locally, cross country, or even internationally if you really want to see the world. Transporting goods is a major part of our economy, and daily lives, so truck drivers can enjoy job security. Truck drivers can deal with long stretches away from home, stressful driving conditions, and of course safety concerns.

You can learn more about how to become a truck driver here.

Getting your commercial driver’s license (CDL) can take just a few weeks, but sometimes can be up to a few months depending on the type of program you take.

So, if you are entering the workforce, or looking for a new career, – these are just a few of the options that can fast track your future. In just a year or less you can be building a new career doing something you love!

Jill Caren
Jill Caren
View all posts by Jill Caren

Jill Caren is a self-taught web developer and SEO strategist with a passion for helping kids figure out a career plan. As a "lost" teen who found her way later in life, she hopes to help other teens know the many options that are out there for them! Jill can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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