The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Making enough to live on doesn’t have to mean at least four years of college and additional specialization. It’s possible to get your training to enter the trades in as little as a year once you have your high school diploma or your GED. Not everyone can thrive in a classroom setting, but nearly everyone can find rewarding work at a good-paying job with the right preparation.
If you enjoy being outdoors, enjoy problem-solving and like helping people, getting your HVAC technician training can be done in less than a year. There are apprenticeship programs available as well. Finally, you will need your state licensure.
Once trained and fully licensed, you may choose to work for yourself or work for a larger HVAC company. Your regular workplace may be a vehicle in which you can store your gear and the parts necessary to do your job. Be aware that HVAC work includes working with chemicals, natural gas, and possibly with heating oil. However, with the right training program, you will be able to manage all of these with the knowledge you need to stay safe.
As of September 2021, the national average hourly wage for an HVAC technician was over $23.00 per hour.
If you love the outdoors in any season, landscape design could be an excellent career choice. You will also need people skills to work with the clients who hire you to improve their yards. Landscape designers assist with layout and with putting the right plant in the right spot, but you will also need to build expertise on factors such as drainage and soil quality.
Computer skills are also in high demand. You will do a lot of your design work on software specific to landscaping. You will also need to learn to put together budgets, estimates, and invoices. A certified landscape designer will need a Bachelor’s degree, but a great deal of your learning will be hands-on. If you find a classroom stifling, this program may give you the fresh air you need. As an entry-level professional, you may need to serve as an intern with a larger firm.
Fully certified and trained, you can earn nearly $70,000 a year in landscape design. As your regional knowledge grows, your salary will expand. The national average as of September 2021 was just under $55,000 per year.
If nursing interests you but you don’t have four years to earn your college degree, it’s a good idea to consider getting your certified nursing assistant training, or CNA, and ultimately your LPN, or licensed practical nursing certificate. As an LPN, you can work in a
- nursing home or long-term care facility
- residential home for the elderly or disabled
In these settings, you can administer medications, provide direct patient care, and monitor vitals. As a healthcare professional, you may either work as a supervisor in a nursing home or as an assistant to a doctor in a clinic. In a hospital, your supervisors may be RNs or doctors. An LPN can be fully trained in one year and earn an average of $25.00 per hour, which can go up as you build skills and experience. This is a growing career path.
If you are willing to learn everything there is to know about swimming pools, being a pool technician might be the right path for you. You will need to learn how to work with water, electricity, combustibles and eventually learn how to do pool heater repairs in Orlando. Small engine skills are also needed, as is a particular level of physical fitness.
Once you have your pool repair skills in place, you may work for a pool maintenance company, as an installer, or even for an apartment complex or condo home owner’s association. This certification will give you a lot of flexibility, and you can expect to earn up to $19.00 per hour.
Once you have your GED or your high school diploma, you can take your knack for fixing things to a higher degree. Depending on the engines that interest you, you can specialize in a variety of vehicles, fuels, and engine sizes.
Most mechanic training courses can be completed in a year, though specialized training as you move into one line of vehicles may be needed as well. Computer skills will be necessary, as will dexterity, strength, and an eye on safety. The average gross salary for a mechanic in the United States as of October 2021 is over $21.00 per hour.