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Looking to find a job that is well paying, well respected, and requires a shorter educational commitment than the traditional four-year college degree?  Many community colleges offer certificate programs. Most certificate programs take approximately one year to complete. Once you have completed such a program, you will have intensive training and insight into what is needed to perform in certain fields. 

Here are several of several of the highest paying certificate programs for jobs in growing fields right now.  


Median salary of the job: $51,740

Paralegals do everything from draft affidavits to help with trial preparation in order to make attorneys’ lives easier. Paralegals and legal assistants are found in all types of organizations, but most work for law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies. 

Medical Assistant

Median salary of the job: $33,610

If you’re interested in being a medical assistant and performing administrative, clinical, and management roles in health care organizations, there are a lot of opportunities for you to explore. Medical assistants are needed at all points in the health care delivery system, including private practices, clinics, nursing homes, residential care facilities, and hospitals. Depending on your interests, you can be highly specialized in such positions as an X-ray tech or phlebotomist or perform general tasks and duties in a doctor’s office. 

Web Developer

Median salary of the job: $69,430

Web developers design and create websites. Some web developers work in the computer systems design and related services industry. Others are self-employed while others work in industries including publishing, management consulting, and advertising. Educational requirements for web developers vary with the setting they work in and the type of work they do. Web developers need to have knowledge of both programming and graphic design.

Fire Fighter

Median salary of the job: $50,850

Firefighters control and put out fires and respond to emergencies where life, property, or the environment is at risk. When on the scenes of fires and other emergencies, the work can be very dangerous. When not on the scene of an emergency, firefighters remain on call at fire stations, where they sleep, eat, and perform other duties during shifts that often last 24 hours. Many work more than 40 hours per week. 

Pharmacy Technician  

Median salary of the job: $33,950 

Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. Pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies, including those found in drug, general merchandise, and grocery stores, and in hospitals. Most work full time, but many work part-time. Pharmacy technicians complete a postsecondary education program in pharmacy technology. Most states regulate pharmacy technicians, which is a process that may require passing an exam or completing a formal education or training program.

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

Median salary of the job: $42,490

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join, repair, or cut metal parts and products. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers may work outdoors, often in inclement weather, or indoors, and often in a confined area. They may also work on a scaffold, high off the ground, and they occasionally must lift heavy objects and do their work in awkward positions. Most welders work full time and overtime is quite common.

Bookkeepers and Auditors

Median salary of the job: $41,230

Bookkeepers and Auditors compile and produce financial records for organizations and check financial records for accuracy. They are responsible for monitoring several aspects of a business, including cash controls and inventory. They work in offices and may often do site visits. Most of these accounting professionals need some postsecondary education and also learn specific company or industry skills while on the job. They must have basic math and computer skills, including knowledge of spreadsheets and bookkeeping software.

Computer Information Systems Support Specialists 

Median salary of the jobs: For computer network support specialists – $63,460.  For computer user support specialists – $52,270. 

Computer Information Systems support specialists provide help and advice to computer users and organizations. Most CIS specialists have full-time work schedules; however, many do not work typical 9-to-5 jobs. Because computer support is important for businesses, support services may need to be available 24 hours a day. As a result, many support specialists must work nights or weekends. The options for jobs are as broad and varied as the tasks a computer can perform. Some CIS Specialists are break/fix experts, supporting end users hardware and software issues. Others can be network and security specialists, which make sure computer networks are up and running while ensuring they are also free from outside harm. Still, other CIS specialists are programmers and coders, who compose programs and write code for what the computer will do. 

Industrial engineering technicians 

Median salary of the job: $56,550

Industrial engineering technicians assist industrial engineers in creating and implementing systems and workflows that fully integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy in order to make a product or provide a service. Most industrial engineering technicians work in manufacturing industries. Most work full time.

Teachers Assistants

Median salary of the job: $27,920

Teacher assistants work with a licensed teacher in a classroom setting to give students additional attention and provide direct instruction. Teacher assistants typically work in schools, at childcare centers, and for non-profit organizations. Some teacher assistants may work part-time. Most do not work during the summer. There is sub-specialization available in the field for those who may work with learning disabilities, physically challenged or other obstacles that can be benefited from either direct or small group instruction. 

Emergency Medical Technicians

Median salary of the job: $35,400

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics respond to emergency calls, performing medical services, and transporting patients to medical facilities. While many communities ask that firefighters also serve as EMT’s, many others recognize the two as separate positions.  Most EMTs and paramedics work full time. Their work can be physically strenuous and stressful, sometimes involving life-or-death situations. All states require EMTs to be licensed; with requirements varying by state.

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