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How to Get Career Training in Eighteen Months or Less

Sometimes a little career training goes a long way. For example, while you may earn a medical assistant’s certificate within a year, the emotional rewards and strong job security of medical assisting can last a lifetime. The comfortable salary doesn’t hurt either. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the highest ten percent of wage-and-salary medical assistants earned a median annual paycheck of over $36,840 in 2006. If medical assisting isn’t your style, you can choose from many other jobs with short training periods, including real estate agent, massage therapist, and wedding planner. Let’s examine four careers that usually require eighteen months or less of schooling.

Medical Assistant
The BLS reports that in 2006, the healthcare industry employed fourteen million workers. Medical assistants should have especially strong career prospects. In fact, between the years 2006 and 2016, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow by an astounding thirty-five percent–significantly higher than the average for all industries.

While formal schooling may not be required for all medical assisting jobs, most employers seek to hire well-qualified, educated medical assistants. If you wish to train in medical assisting, you should investigate accredited one-year certificate programs at technical schools and community colleges. Your medical assisting classes can help you learn many valuable skills, including:

Besides the educational benefits, your medical assisting program can help match you with possible employers. Make sure to use your school’s job center to secure an internship with a local hospital or private doctor’s clinic. Not only may an internship allow you to garner valuable on-the-job experience, it can help you decide whether a career in medical assisting would fit your personality.

Massage Therapist
Massage therapy can be a fulfilling career. Besides the emotional satisfaction of easing your clients’ aches and pains, you can make a healthy salary: the BLS states that in 2006, the middle fifty percent of massage therapists earned between $10.98 and $22.44 per hour. Since massage therapists often interact with their clients in close physical situations, therapists should have strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to gain people’s trust. A knack for building relationships is especially important for self-employed massage therapists, as freelance massage therapists’ incomes depend on an established group of faithful customers.

While some massage therapy programs only last six months, others can take two years to finish. Also, licensing requirements for massage therapists vary from state to state. To meet certification standards in your locale, you should first attend an accredited massage therapy school, where you can study:

In addition to formal classes, numerous massage programs offer supervised student clinics, where students can gain hands-on experience with a wide spectrum of clients. After graduating from school, many students take the exam offered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). This test awards students the credential “Nationally Certified in Massage and Bodywork” (NCTMB), which is needed to practice massage in many states.

Real Estate Agent
The BLS reports that real estate brokers and sales agents hold around 564,000 jobs nationwide. Why are careers in real estate so popular? First of all, salaried real estate agents earn great wages. In 2006, the median yearly pay for real estate agents was roughly $40,000. Also, a real estate program may be completed in a short period of time–six to eight weeks, in some cases. Not only can your real-estate training prepare you for your state’s licensing exam, you might also learn about:

While earning your real-estate license may be easy, you should expect stiff job competition, as real estate careers are booming in popularity. Some agents decide to earn bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees in real estate to improve their chances of attracting clients. Other real estate agents rely on their business savvy, friendly personalities, and community connections to set themselves apart from the pack.

Wedding Planner
Also known as bridal consultants, wedding planners have the important task of overseeing all aspects of weddings, from flower arrangements and receptions to music and photography. Although no statewide legal regulations exist for wedding planners, most wedding planners have formal training. Generally, diploma programs for wedding planners last between six months and a year. If you attend wedding planner’s school, your coursework may teach you about:

So what should you do after graduation? Since wedding planning can be a cutthroat trade, you might seek out an assistantship with a well-established wedding planner. An apprenticeship with a seasoned planner can teach you how to run a successful business, and it could also help you forge relationships with potential clients.

If your packed schedule does not allow you to attend an on-campus program, you should investigate online schooling. Even traditionally hands-on programs, such as massage therapy, may be partially completed via the Internet. Besides providing scheduling flexibility, online coursework can also help you cut down on gas expenses and university parking fees.

Publish date: March 8, 2008