Quick Training Jobs that Pay Well

Jan 18, 2020

Many people want to enter the workforce as soon as possible. Some may be more interested in a trade apprenticeship, while others may want to finish college in two years or less. Learn more about career options that will allow you to start earning a decent salary relatively quickly.

Career Options for Quick Training Jobs that Pay Well

Although many career fields require applicants to have a bachelor's or graduate degree, there are many occupations that pay good salaries and require two years of training or less, or can be learned through a paid apprenticeship. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that retail sales workers who were not required to have any formal postsecondary training earned a median income of $24,340 per year in 2018. Those looking for jobs with higher salaries may want to consider the careers below; they only require on-the-job or short-term training and pay more than $45,000 per year.

Job Title Median Salary* (2018) Job Growth* (2018-2028)
Subway and Streetcar Drivers $68,170 6%
Firefighters $49,620 5%
Surgical Technologists $47,300 9%
Power Plant Operators, Distributors and Dispatchers $83,020 -6%
Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents $50,300 7%
Electricians $55,190 10%
Occupational Therapy Assistants $57,620 31%
Boilermakers $62,150 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Quick Training Jobs that Pay Well

Subway and Streetcar Drivers

Although some subway and streetcar drivers may choose to complete postsecondary training, the majority of people who work in this field enter the profession with a high school diploma or GED. After they've been hired, they learn on the job through a short-term training program. Their job involves transporting people while operating their assigned vehicle. They control the speed of the subway or streetcar, and in the event of an emergency, they help people leave the vehicle safely.


Firefighters are high school graduates who've met physical fitness requirements and completed academy training. They're also required to earn emergency medical technician certification. Within months they can qualify for their career. However, they may choose to work for a fire department that offers a 4-year apprenticeship program with on-the-job training. Firefighters are professionals who respond to emergency situations. They may provide medical care to someone who is ill, or they may be involved in taking steps to contain or extinguish a fire.

Surgical Technologists

Surgical technologists are responsible for stocking and preparing the supplies used in surgeries. They also help get patients ready for surgery and assist surgeons during a procedure. Surgical technologists can prepare for their career by earning an associate's degree, which typically takes two years, or they can complete a postsecondary certificate or diploma program.

Power Plant Operators, Distributors and Dispatchers

Once employed, power plant operators, distributors and dispatchers typically go through a training program that can take several years to complete. While vocational school training may be preferred by some employers, it is not necessarily required; those interested in this field will benefit from taking subjects like algebra and science. These professionals are involved in the production and distribution of electricity. It's their job to ensure that power systems are operating safely, that enough electricity is being produced and that the electricity is being transferred to users.

Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents

Real estate brokers and sales agents represent people who are buying or selling land, houses or other buildings. They may also help a client rent out a property or help a client locate a rental property. Real estate brokers and sales agents are required to have a high school diploma and a real estate license. This involves completing some state-approved postsecondary courses and taking a licensing exam.


Electricians ensure that electrical systems operate properly. They can be involved in wiring a new building that's being constructed or repairing existing wiring. Although it's an option to attend technical school before entering this career field, electricians typically learn their trade through an on-the-job apprenticeship program that can take between four and five years to complete. This involves taking some courses in order to qualify for their electrician's license, but they spend the majority of their time learning while working.

Occupational Therapy Assistants

Occupational therapy assistants are required to earn an associate's degree in occupational therapy and usually need to be licensed. They are involved in the treatment of patients and may help them perform exercises that have been prescribed by the supervising occupational therapist, or they may show patients how to operate equipment that can help improve their ability to function independently. It's common for occupational therapy assistants to assist with the treatment of people who have been affected by injury or a disability, and their objective is to help those patients regain or improve their ability to perform everyday physical tasks.


Containers that hold chemicals, gases or other liquids include boilers and vats. Boilermakers work with these types of containers. They may construct them or they may be involved in maintaining and repairing them. Experience and training in welding can be an asset, although boilermakers can enter apprenticeship programs in the field with a high school diploma. These 4- to 5- year programs include courses in addition to on-the-job training.

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