11 of the Best Job Training Programs and Tips for Finding the Right One
Updated March 10, 2023
If you want to embark on a new career, short-term job training programs can help you enter a new field with ease. Spending four years earning a bachelor's degree isn't the only way to gain the skills necessary to enter the workforce. Many job training programs can help you qualify quickly for a satisfying role with a comparable salary and benefits. In this article, we outline 11 different job training programs and offer tips to help you find the right one for you.
Related: Q&A: What Are Certificate Programs?
11 of the best job training programs
Job training programs give you hands-on experience to train you for a specific position in a short period of time. Here are 11 of the best types of job training programs that can help you quickly jumpstart your new career ranked by the salaries you may be able to expect after completing them. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the national average salary link for each job title below.
1. Certified nursing assistant training
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) work in nursing homes, hospitals, private homes, residential treatment centers, rehabilitation centers and assisted living facilities. They are in high demand due to the growing elderly population in need of medical support, as CNAs support professional nursing staff (typically registered nurses) with medical efforts. While CNAs monitor patients and their vital signs to report any changes in their health status, they are also responsible for helping patients with essential daily activities like dressing, eating and bathing.
You can complete most CNA training in four to six weeks after receiving at least 75 hours of on-site training. Organizations like the Red Cross as well as community colleges, hospitals and online schools offer CNA training programs.
Average national salary: $15.10 per hour
2. Pharmacy technician certification program
Pharmacy technicians work with licensed pharmacists to accurately and safely handle patient prescriptions and medications. Their responsibilities include counting pills, labeling bottles, mixing and compounding medications, updating patient records, distributing medication to patients, keeping inventory, processing insurance claims and maintaining supply chain management. Pharmacy technicians work in both retail and healthcare environments.
The fastest route to becoming a pharmacy technician is through a certification program. These programs typically last for two semesters or one year, and you can find them online and at local colleges. Some states require pharmacy technicians to pass an additional certification test. Another route to becoming a pharmacy technician is enrolling in a pharmacy technician associate degree program, which generally takes two years to complete.
Average national salary: $15.39 per hour
3. Cosmetology school
Licensed cosmetologists can work as hairstylists, nail technicians and skin care technicians. They often work in salons or spas and help clients address beauty needs. Through an accredited cosmetology school, you can earn your cosmetology license in nine to 10 months after completing 1,000 to 1,600 hours of practical training. Cosmetologists are trained to perform beauty maintenance tasks properly and to understand business methods and basic health and sanitization requirements. There is a wide selection of cosmetology schools located in nearly every state.
Average national salary: $16.87 per hour
4. Dental assistant certification training
Dental assistants perform a variety of clinical and administrative tasks like taking X-rays, sterilizing instruments, scheduling visits and checking in patients. While some aspiring dental assistants attend four-year college programs to establish their skills, that's not the only route you can take to become a dental assistant.
Through dental assistant training programs, you can earn one of five national certifications from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). With your secondary degree, you can enroll in a nine-month-long vocational training program or a two-year-long dental assisting program at a community college. Some programs take as little as six months.
Average national salary: $17.91 per hour
5. Emergency medical technician training course
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are the first point of contact in an urgent medical situation. EMTs provide crucial on-the-ground care to injured people or those who suddenly fall ill. It is an EMT's responsibility to ensure patients are stabilized before transporting them to hospitals for treatment from physicians and nurses. Like CNAs, EMTs have been in higher demand in recent years because of the expanding aging population who often experience falls and other emergencies.
The basic level of EMT training, which helps you earn your EMT-B certification, takes approximately six months and requires 100 to 150 hours of training, depending on the course you take. These training courses are available through community colleges and other institutions. After completing the course, EMTs take a state certification exam. Many EMTs eventually become paramedics through similar yet more arduous training programs.
Average national salary: $17.97 per hour
6. Phlebotomy technician training
Phlebotomy technicians collect blood from patients and prepare samples for testing. They often work in hospitals, clinics and diagnostic testing sites. Other phlebotomy technicians collect donated blood. They are important members of the healthcare field, as they are responsible for inserting needles into veins and calming down patients with needle anxiety.
To become a phlebotomy technician, you must have a high school degree or equivalent and enroll in a phlebotomy training program where you can get vital work experience. These programs last anywhere from a few months to a full year. From here, phlebotomy technicians can become certified through a variety of organizations, such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Average national salary: $18.02 per hour
7. Certified bookkeeper certification training
Bookkeepers are professionals who keep track of finances for different companies. They are responsible for auditing records, keeping track of receipts and purchases, managing accounts and producing reports for supervisors and managers. Also, bookkeepers are often in charge of maintaining an efficient payroll system. To become a bookkeeper, you first need a high school diploma and then two years of on-the-job experience. In the accounting field, it is common for experienced bookkeepers to train novice bookkeepers extensively.
From here, you can take the exam to become a Certified Bookkeeper (CB), a designation offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) or the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB). There are a variety of courses available online and at colleges that prepare bookkeepers for the certification exam. It is common for bookkeepers to continue pursuing professional training programs even after becoming certified, as more education can help bookkeepers become accountants or auditors.
Average national salary: $18.20 per hour
8. Tradespeople apprenticeship programs
Apprenticeship programs provide new employees with the opportunity to learn trades. Apprenticeships typically include paid on-the-job training and classroom time. Through an apprenticeship, you can become an electrician, plumber, heating and air conditioning technician, machinist, carpenter or mechanic, just to name a few options.
While training lasts anywhere from one to three years, apprentices are paid workers, and the training is typically free, depending on what organization hosts the program. Some apprenticeships are sponsored by state or local governments. You can find more information about what apprenticeships are available to you through your state's apprenticeship agency.
Average national salary: $20.14 per hour
Related: What Is On-the-Job Training?
9. Flight attendant training program
Flight attendants perform customer service duties on commercial aircraft, like serving food and drinks and providing passengers with assistance when needed. Due to the nature of the role, flight attendants, especially those who work for major airlines, can expect to have varying schedules and travel across national and international lines.
If you are searching for a career with travel benefits, training to become a flight attendant might be the right choice for you. Once flight attendants are hired, airlines typically train them through on-the-job programs that range from three to six weeks. This training typically occurs in a classroom, though you will get to take practice flights toward the end of the program.
Average national salary: $25.56 per hour
10. Commercial truck driver training
Commercial truck drivers are professionals who are licensed to transport goods across state lines in trailers or other large-capacity vehicles. To do this, truck drivers need to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL).
To earn your CDL, you will be required to pass a written exam and a road test. Training programs for truck drivers to earn their CDLs generally last anywhere from two to six weeks. This is one of the quickest professional training programs you can complete, and it can help you find a career in a short amount of time. Your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can provide you with relevant information on where to find a reputable CDL training program.
Average national salary: $60,863 per year
11. Massage therapy licensing programs
Massage therapists treat clients by using touch techniques to relieve pain, help heal injuries, loosen muscles, improve circulation and promote wellness. They also promote relaxation by showing clients how to reduce stress and muscular tension that may otherwise lead to general discomfort. Massage therapists often work in group practices, private practices, spas, fitness centers or with chiropractors.
In most states, you can become a licensed massage therapist after completing an accredited program. These licensing programs typically last about one year and entail approximately 500 hours of instruction. You can find more information about local massage therapy schools by searching online.
Average national salary: $30.07 per hour
Tips for finding the right job training program
When setting out on a new career path, it can be challenging to decide what is best for you, so it is important to pick a job training program that appeals to you and meets your needs. Here are a few factors that you should take into account to help you choose the right program:
Cost of the program
Make sure to consider how much money you are willing to invest in training for your future career. While many of the programs above are inevitably less expensive than a four-year college degree, it's still important to choose a program that you can afford or easily pay off with your new job.
Keep in mind that training could be time-consuming and keep you from earning money by working on the side at the same time. While some training is offered through paid on-the-job experience, other training involves full-time unpaid programs. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you can afford the program you choose without necessarily needing to work simultaneously to pay for it.
Length and type of program
The length of the program you choose is another important factor to consider. Completing the programs listed above can take anywhere from just two weeks to around three years. If you are currently working full time and cannot afford to take time off to complete a lengthy program, a shorter job training experience may be the right choice for you. It may also be helpful to consider whether you would prefer on-the-job training or a full-time vocational training program.
Job field and prospective salary
As with any professional move you make, you'll want to determine whether the job you're pursuing aligns with your skills, talents and interests. It's important to make sure that the time and money you invest in a job training program is worthwhile and will lead to a fruitful, long-lasting career. Therefore, consider the different responsibilities that come with each position and whether you are excited to fulfill them. This can help give you a better picture of what you would like to be doing on a day-to-day basis.
Also, consider your prospective salary to ensure that you will make enough money to support yourself and your family. Take your cost of living and savings goals into deliberation when looking at salary information.
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