There’s a difference between a job and a career, and if you find yourself stuck with the former, or you haven’t yet decided on the latter, this article is for you. Not all of us are lucky enough to go to college straight out of high school and immediately start our dream career.

Higher education and specialized training can be difficult for a host of reasons: personal, family, and financial obligations are just a few. Some of us just don’t want to spend a ton of time and money on a four year degree knowing it may not result in a higher paying job.

But almost all of us, eventually, want a career that is a permanent solution. So what do you do if you find yourself wanting to change careers?

Consider some of these options, all legitimate careers that you can have with less than an year of schooling or training:

1. Massage Therapist

Most massage schools take a year or less to complete, and you’ll often be making money before you’re even done with school. Massage therapy is a great career for hands-on people, and you can work in an exciting array of environments; from a day spa to a luxury resort, from a cruise ship to the locker room of an NFL team.

Bottom line: massage therapists have options. They can also make hundreds of dollars an hour. Despite what you’d think, there’s plenty of opportunity for massage therapists to advance. You could travel, work your way up the ladder at a corporate salon, or even open and run your own business.

2. Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents and brokers often work for commission, which means there’s the potential for real big money. This career is for charismatic, personable people, because in the end, you’re a salesman.

The training time varies because you basically need to pass an exam and get a state license, and there are often numerous community resources to help out with that. You can look into what options are available to you locally, and you might just be ready to take that exam in a few short weeks! You can also consider starting a career in real estate investing, which doesn’t require a realtor’s license at all.

3. Dental Assistant

Dentists study about as long as doctors do, but you can become a dental assistant in less than a year in many states. Dental assistants make higher wages than other similar assistant titles, and there is always room to advance your degree and your profession. If clean, happy teeth are your thing, or you just like to see people smile, this might be the career for you.

4. Phlebotomist

A phlebotomist is a medical professional who draws blood. Training can take as little as four months in some places, and never takes more than a year. Nurses are qualified to take blood samples, but it is only an aspect of their job, so many practices prefer to utilize a phlebotomist who is solely in charge of drawing patients’ blood.

You can work for a hospital, doctor’s office, or laboratory, among other things. A career in healthcare is ideal for someone with these qualities: compassion, leadership skills, ethical behavior, and the ability to handle high stress situations. Furthermore, being poked with a needle isn’t anyone’s favorite thing, so this job is great for people with a cheerful and comforting demeanor.

5. Veterinary Technician

Most veterinary technician degrees take two to even four years to earn, but there are a lot of condensed programs that can have you job searching in under a year. Vet techs report a high amount of job security and satisfaction, and their wages are highly competitive. Plus, you’ll get to work with animals all day long. If you’re a warm-hearted animal lover who loves to make pets and their owners’ days, it’s time to look into this option.

6. Security Guard

Security is a fairly versatile field for very versatile people. Some patrol streets, while others patrol busy areas like parks and malls. Yet others provide personal protection or oversee the safety of large events. The training required to become a security guard varies widely by area, but you can generally get through any required programs in one to six months.

7. Counseling

If you have already earned your bachelor’s degree and aren’t using it, pursuing a Master’s in Counseling can be one of the quickest ways to a new career. Did you know that there are ways to earn a Master’s in Counseling degree in only a year?

In order to be enrolled in a master’s program, you can have a bachelor’s degree in anything, you just have to meet the admissions requirements. You can study in class, through a hybrid program, or even earn your degree online, completely from the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule.

Licensed counselors work in a number of settings, so there’s probably one that’s right for you. With such a quick turnaround from beginning a program to becoming licensed and practicing, this is one of the best ways to turn a useless bachelor’s degree into a well-paying career.

Happy Hunting!

Hopefully this list will give you some insight into a new career that can be permanent and satisfying. Just remember to quit your job gracefully when the day comes to set off on your new path.

Written By
AJ Earley is a small business owner, chef, and freelance writer from Idaho. She has shifted careers several times in her life and enjoys helping others navigate the world of career change. She also loves traveling, especially when she can bring along her cat Buddha.

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