Whether you’re looking to advance your career or jump into a new one entirely, this list of quick certifications that pay well will help you increase your pay grade.
Certifications are the best route for anyone who:
- Wishes to gain more skills and knowledge about their field
- Set themselves apart when aiming to land a new position (or get promoted), or
- Switch to another profession without taking another 4-year course.
You can complete many of these certifications in under two years, so the investment is well worth the effort.
25 Quick Certifications that Pay Well
The following certifications range widely between industries. I’ve categorized them into 6 of the most common industries.
Since technology evolves at such a rapid pace, it’s understandable that IT probably has the most number of quick certifications that pay well.
The following are just a tiny sample IT certifications available today:
Data Science is a field in the tech world that combines machine learning, computer science, statistics, data mining, and business analytics, among others.
Data scientists earn between $35 and $60 an hour, depending on their specialization.
Earning an average of $50/hour, Artificial Intelligence specialists may just be a subfield of computer science, but it tackles a wide range of hardware and software foundations from deep learning to data mining.
Getting to know cloud computing in-depth can get you a job that earns at least $50 an hour.
This field is in demand since more and more companies are adapting to cloud technology.
A career in web development doesn’t offer as high a salary as AI or Big Data, but it does offer stability (it has a job growth of 13% through 2028).
Web developers earn between $30 and $55 an hour, depending on specialization.
As anyone who works in IT can attest, every programming language they learn increases their pay grade significantly.
There are plenty of options, from Python to Java, C++, C#, Ruby on Rails, and more. You can learn just one at a time and still be able to negotiate better pay or have an edge over your competition.
These business certifications could be your solution for jump-starting your career or trying to bolster your credentials and experience.
The certifications and designations in the real estate industry usually involve the completion of a course (or two), passing the exam, and paying dues annually.
The length of the course and the fees depend largely on the type of certifications you decided to take.
Earning about $40 per hour, business analysts are experts in business process management, database management, and bridging the gap between IT and business using big data and analytics.
There are numerous areas to focus on in digital marketing, such as Search Engine Optimization, online advertising, email marketing, and social media marketing, among others. Fortunately, they can all be completed online.
The average digital marketer’s hourly salary is $60 per hour.
Salesforce is the world’s #1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform, so if you’re in the sales, marketing, e-commerce and IT industry, becoming an expert in Salesforce could do your career a huge advantage.
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The good news is, you don’t need to overwhelm yourself with options because Salesforce is the only focus of the certification.
Earning this certification can help in advancing your expertise in supply chain management. You can expect to earn between $50 and $65 per hour.
If you decided trade for your career path, check out these quick certifications that pay well:
Welding is one of the most rewarding and quick certifications that pay well.
It takes several months to get this certification and work in sectors like engineering and construction, but you’d have to work your way up from apprentice to a senior welder.
12. HVACR Technician
Many states require that HVACR technicians have a license before they are able to work independently and earn from $28 to $32 an hour.
An HVACR certification not only ensures you have the skills and knowledge to become an HVACR technician, it also prepares you to take all the required exams.
13. Brick mason
Becoming a brick mason doesn’t lead to the highest-paying trade jobs around. But if you’re after a quick coursework, you can earn up to $25 an hour as a mason.
With time and effort, anyone can be a carpenter. But certifications serve as a guarantee to employers that you know your stuff.
Salaries of certified carpenters range from $25 to $35, depending on the level of experience or
This in-demand job earns $30 to $38 and requires only a high school diploma and certification from a trade school.
While it isn’t the highest-paid trade around, the job outlook is definitely more positive than others on this list.
For people who would like a non-traditional job that doesn’t keep you boxed in a cubicle, these certifications could lead you to your dream job:
Firefighting isn’t just about putting out fires, but getting certifications is the easiest way to learn or improve safety knowledge, rescue skills, and medical care the right way. As a firefighter, you then get to earn from $28 to $38 an hour.
17. Flight Attendant
Flight attendant salaries are different from ordinary jobs because they use “guaranteed hours per month” (about 70 to 80 hours) with an average of $45 per hour, plus free travel, paid vacation and health insurance.
On top of flight attendant school, there are certifications that allow you to do your job more efficiently. First Aid, Certified Travel Associate (sales), dispatch, and management are useful certifications to check out.
18. Makeup Artist
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a growth in jobs in the field of beauty over the next couple of years.
As aspiring makeup artists, several types of certifications can be beneficial to your profession. It could increase your rate from the $64/hour average wage for a freelance make-up artist to about $83/hour for cinema makeup.
The job of an air traffic controller may seem simple, but coordinating the movement of aircraft is a skill that ensures the safety of thousands of people each day. It’s no wonder they’re paid a premium (sometimes about $80 an hour).
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The most up-to-date certifications for air traffic controllers are available at the Federal Aviation Administration.
Choreographers earn around $50 to $100 per hour, but those who develop their original work earn higher.
While many choreographers get to their positions by slowly rising through the ranks, certifications and formal training are also good pathways.
Medical certifications are often sought after by medical professionals eager to switch careers within the medical field or increase their pay grades. Like IT, this industry has a lot of quick certifications that pay well. Here are several examples:
Ultrasonographers or ultrasound technicians earn starting from $50 an hour. It is one of the most in-demand and quick certifications that pay well with a 15% job outlook through 2031.
The most popular certifications include The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).
22. Dental Hygienist
To assist dentists, dental hygienists require certifications (either online or offline) in order to earn $43/hour.
The career path toward a dental hygienist job is longer than other certifications on this list, but professionals who choose this career usually do so because they’re already working within a dental clinic.
A radiation therapist certification provides radiation therapists with the necessary training and knowledge they need to administer radiation therapy accurately.
It is not uncommon for experienced radiation therapists to make up to $130,000 a year (about $40 to $60 an hour).
CNA certifications are available in various institutions like local hospitals and schools (community colleges, high schools, vocational or technical schools). The courses range from several months to 2 years with fees that start at $1,000.
25. MRI technologist
The cool thing about careers that focus on one particular machine, program, or subspecialization is that the path toward that profession is more straightforward than jobs with a ton of certification options.
To become an MRI technologist and provide diagnostic imaging for patients and doctors, one has to get certified at the national level via the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT).
Cost of Quick Certifications that Pay Well
The goal is for these certifications to lead to a better-paying or high-paying job, but you have to invest money upfront first.
The certifications above cost between $1,000 and $60,000 (some higher). The good news is they don’t last for over two years, which means you can complete them quicker and for less money than you’d spend obtaining a four-year Bachelor’s degree or a significantly more expensive Master’s degree.
If you need a side gig while you’re completing any of these courses, check out these no-brainer gigs that you can squeeze into your schedule:
- Get paid to play video games
- Get paid reading books
- Get paid to watch TV
- Get paid to eat
- Get paid to drive
- Get paid to test products
Of course, these gigs cannot replace what a 9-to-5 salary provides. I recommend supplementing with these side hustles only until you achieve your original goal.