Short Training Program, Lucrative Career: 3 Top Options

Conventional wisdom used to assert that making a lot of money requires a college degree. However, there are many options that require short formal training programs yet lead to rewarding careers with generous salaries.

Food Service

Many positions in the food service industry require no education, license or certification at all. You may be able to start as a server, barback or prep chef after a brief orientation from the manager. However, moving up the career ladder on hustle alone can be challenging.

It may be better to earn a food and beverage certification, which can help you advance to a career as a bartender, caterer or restaurant manager. Certification gives you the flexibility to earn promotions, switch to a more profitable upscale location, or launch your own food business.

Real Estate

Becoming a real estate professional typically involves completing lessons, which can often be done online, then passing an exam. Specifics vary by state, but you can likely earn your license in less than a year.

Once licensed, you may represent buyers and sellers as a sales agent or you may manage commercial or residential property. After some experience, further education and additional licensing, you may become a broker who oversees other agents. Depending on location, average annual salaries range from around $40,000 to more than $100,000.

Personal Trainer

If you have an interest in fitness, nutrition and helping others stay healthy, you may be just months away from a career as a personal trainer. Certification programs vary in length and cost, but start at three months and under $1,000. Most require that you also pass an exam given by one of several nationally accredited certifying agencies.

You may start at a gym or strike out on your own immediately. Either way, the key to career success is building a loyal clientele who keep coming back and referring their friends to you.