10 Quick Certifications That Pay Well

quick certifications that pay well

If you want to get paid well for your time and expertise, the right certifications can help you land a high-paying job. 

But, before you decide that you don’t have time for a lengthy program, there’s good news. It might not take long to obtain a certification that may help you start to rake in the big bucks. 

In fact, you might be able to tackle a fast certification in just a couple of months. With the right knowledge under your belt, you can set yourself up for a bigger paycheck. 

In This Article

Fast Certifications With Great Pay

There are many options to choose from if you are looking for a fast certification that opens the door to a great-paying job. In order of highest to lowest maximum earning potential, here are the top quick certifications.

1. Makeup Artist

Makeup artists have skills that are needed across a range of industries. A few include the motion picture industry, performance art settings and personal care services. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the compensation for makeup artists varies by industry. Those in the personal care industry earn an average of $53,560 annually, while the median annual wage for a professional in the motion picture industry is $111,950.

However, at a top-end wage of $157,680, makeup artists have the highest earning potential of any of the options on this list.

Depending on your state, you may or may not need a license to be a makeup artist. Either way, it can be helpful to take a certification course. 

One option to get certified is through the Art Institute of Makeup. This institute offers classes that cost $100 to $500, depending on the skillset. 

  • Salary range: $38,010 to $157,680
  • Certification length: Two weeks to eight months 
  • Certification cost: $100 to $3,000

Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes395091.htm

2. Choreographers 

Choreographers create original dance routines for a variety of purposes. As a choreographer, you may even direct live shows. 

A choreographer’s typical career path is that of a dancer that rises to the next level. But, it is possible to obtain this skill through a certification course. 

It’s even possible to obtain an advanced degree in the art form. That said, you don’t need to get a master’s degree to become a great choreographer. 

On average, choreographers earn $43,680 per year. Top earners in this profession earn upwards of $101,250 per year. 

If you love dancing, this career path offers a fun way to stay active while earning a living. 

  • Salary range: $21,1880 to $101,250
  • Certification length: One hour to 200 hours
  • Certification cost: $200 to $50,000+ 

Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes272032.htm

3. Cardiovascular Tech

This is one of the top non-art-related options if you are looking for a quick certification that pays well. 

As a cardiovascular technologist or technician, you’ll work under the direction of a cardiologist or physician to run tests on specialized machines. These tests aim to look for heart problems in patients. 

The supervising doctor will make ultimate determinations. But, as a cardiovascular technologist or technician, you’ll learn how to use an electrocardiogram (EGK) machine and stress test. You’ll also learn how to interpret the results. 

In order to enter the field, you’ll need an associate’s degree or a certification. This means that you can skip over a lengthy degree program and jump straight into the job with a one-year certification program. 

If you want to go this route, be sure to enroll in a program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)

Choosing not to enroll in an accredited program means that you could be wasting your time on a course that won’t lead to a job in the field. 

Once you are certified, you can jump into a field that has a median annual salary of $59,100. With time and experience, you could push your earnings to the top tier of $96,790. 

  • Salary range: $30,140 to $96,790
  • Certification length: One to four years
  • Certification cost: $5,747 to $50,000+

Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292031.htm#ind

4. Radiologic Tech

As a radiologic technologist or technician, you’ll take X-rays and CAT scans or administer certain materials into the patient’s bloodstream. 

In terms of jobs in the medical field, this one offers excellent pay. Better yet, you won’t have to commit to multiple years of schooling. 

If you are taking a certification in this field, make sure to go through a reputable institution. Otherwise, you might struggle to land a job post-completion. 

Once you receive your certification, you may enter the field at the median annual salary mark of $61,900. However, the earning potential for radiologic technologists and technicians can be much higher.

  • Salary range: $42,180 to $92,660
  • Certification length: One to two years
  • Certification cost: $4,000 to $20,000+

Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292034.htm

5. Photographer

A great photographer has a knack for capturing beautiful images. If you love taking pictures, a career in photography might be a great option for you. 

It probably goes without saying that to be a great photographer, you’ll need to take great pictures. Most photographers won’t need an official certification on their resume. Instead, their portfolio speaks for itself. 

But how can you improve your skills? The answer is to take a course. You can find photography courses offered at almost every educational level. 

Whether you want to keep it short and stick to a quick certificate or stretch out your education into a full-fledged degree program, you’ll find many opportunities to learn. 

The median annual wage for photographers is $41,280. But, if you reach the top end of the salary spectrum, you could make $86,850 per year. 

  • Salary range: $22,410 to $86,850
  • Certification length: Six weeks to four years 
  • Certification cost: $500 to $50,000+

Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes274021.htm

6. Flight Attendant

Traveling might be your favorite pastime. So, what if you could combine your love of travel with a fun career? That might be just what happens if you pursue a career as a flight attendant. 

If you’ve been a passenger on a plane, you probably understand the basics of being a flight attendant. But, there are a lot of tasks behind the scenes that you likely don’t know about. 

With that, you’ll need to obtain a certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before applying to be a flight attendant. 

As a flight attendant, you’ll be able to travel to faraway destinations. That said, a regularly changing schedule can be a challenge for some people. Before you jump in, make sure you can handle an inconsistent schedule. 

Those who make it as a flight attendant could earn the median annual salary of $59,050. However, if you are just starting out, you might make closer to $30,930. 

Nevertheless, this lower wage might be worth it since there are plenty of perks for those who love seeing new places. 

  • Salary range: $30,930 to $84,790
  • Certification length: Three to six weeks
  • Certification cost: $3,500 to $5,000

Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes532031.htm

7. Hearing Aid Specialist

As a hearing aid specialist, you’ll help evaluate the hearing abilities of different patients. Through multiple tests, you can pinpoint exactly how much their hearing has declined. 

After an evaluation, you can recommend an ideal hearing aid. Plus, you’ll be able to help the patient fit the device to their ear. 

The median annual salary for a hearing aid specialist is $52,630. Fortunately, there is plenty of room for salary growth. The top earners make $81,170 per year. 

Thanks to its reasonable certification length, this can be a great option if you are looking for a job that lets you help people while making decent money.

  • Salary range: $29,960 to $81,170
  • Certification length: Three to six months
  • Certification cost: $105+

Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292092.htm

8. HVACR Tech

An HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) certification opens the door to a field with a median annual wage of $50,590. 

When you are on the job, you can expect to clean furnaces, cut pipes, install electrical systems and maintain air conditioning and heating systems.

You’ll need to pass a licensing exam in many states after you complete a class. Depending on the level you want to pursue, you could complete an HVACR course in six months to two years. 

Keep in mind that this is a job that requires specific skills. Even with a certification, you may need to work as an apprentice for a while to hone your skills. 

Once you refine your skills, you’ll be in high demand and could earn up to $80,000 annually. After all, every home has an HVAC system and needs a competent professional to help at some point. 

  • Salary range: $31,910 to $80,820
  • Certification length: Six to 12 months
  • Certification cost: $1,200 to $15,000

Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes499021.htm

9. Massage Therapist

Massage therapy doesn’t require extensive education or a lengthy college degree. However, you will need to complete a massage therapist course. 

Typically, these programs require between 500 to 1,000 hours of study. Plus, you’ll need to have at least a high school diploma to get started. 

If you enjoy helping others feel better through massage, this is a viable certification option. You’ll learn about anatomy, physiology and more throughout the certification program. 

Since the requirements for massage therapists vary by state, it is critical that you research your local regulations. Make sure to sign up for a legitimate course that will lead to a certificate and then a job.

For licensed massage therapists, the median annual wage is $43,620. That said, it is possible to earn just shy of $80,000 annually. 

  • Salary range: $22,580 to $79,150
  • Certification length: 500 to 1,000+ hours 
  • Certification cost: $900 to $15,000+

Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes319011.htm

10. Solar Photovoltaic Installers

The use of solar energy is on the rise. As a result, there is an increasing demand for solar photovoltaic installers.

Those with previous construction experience can jump into learning the ins and outs online. If you don’t have construction experience, you’ll likely need to pursue a more in-depth course at a trade school or community college. 

You can start applying for jobs early thanks to the knowledge that you can complete a fast certification. Many employers will provide additional training as you move forward. 

If you decide to get into this field, the median annual wage for a solar photovoltaic installer is $46,470. As you gain experience, that wage can move into the $60,000 range. 

  • Salary range: $32,590 to $64,600
  • Certification length: Six weeks to two months
  • Certification cost: $100 to $1,500+

Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes472231.htm


If you aren’t sure which certification is right for you, these frequently asked questions might be able to help.

How much does it cost to get a certification?

The cost of a certification varies dramatically based on the certification you are seeking. Some certifications are free, while others can cost thousands of dollars. 

That said, it will typically cost a few hundred dollars. 

When choosing a certification program, what should I keep in mind?

Before you commit to a particular certification, make sure that the offering is respected in the industry. You want to choose a program that will open doors in terms of job opportunities.

Also, if you are paying for a certification, you want to confirm that this particular choice is worth the financial investment.

Where can I get a certification?

You can obtain many types of certifications online. For example, you can pursue technical certifications through Coursera. Countless other sites offer certification courses as well. 

In some fields, you may need to pursue an in-person certification course. 

How much time does it take to get a certification?

The amount of time it takes to get a certification varies. In some cases, it may take just a few hours. With other certificates, it may take months.

It is important to do your research ahead of time to confirm that you have the appropriate amount of time to commit to any program you sign up for. 


A quick certification could lead to a higher-paying career path. Although you might need to invest time or money upfront, the decision to pursue a certification could pay off in the long run. 

Evaluate all of your options before moving forward in any particular direction. While making more money is always a plus, you want to make sure that you can see yourself enjoying the work opportunities a certification could bring.

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