Guest Post by Tiiu Lutter Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the 40-hour workweek during my mind-numbing, 50-minute, 8-mile commute, surrounded by distracted drivers. How much of my life is actually spent working, and how much more is spent prepping? What’s left for my life? When I first mentioned to my family that I was writing on this topic, my millennial children reacted in horror, and almost unanimously my peers agreed that this might be a good idea, but wondered if we could actually get anything done. Here’s the thing. My children thought I was looking at expanding the workweek to fifty hours or more, and my peers thought I was thinking of shortening it! The truth of the matter is that I wasn’t thinking about either of those things. I love the idea of a 40-hour workweek, but I don’t actually think it exists in America anymore. So for me, the questions are: Does anyone actually work only forty hours in a week? How much prep time is getting burned up? Can anyone be successful working only forty hours? A brief history of the 40-hour workweek How did we end up with forty hours as the magic number, anyway? Turns out the first reference to 40 hours comes from 1817, when Robert Owen, a Scottish labor activist demanded working folks got “forty hours of work, forty hours of rest, and forty hours of recreation.” Here in the United States, the National Labor Union asked Congress in 1866 to pass a law limiting the workday to eight hours. This law did not pass, but it empowered a movement. By the early 1900s, many big companies had agreed to an eight hour day, but there was only one day of rest. In theory, this is still the case, but it is a particularly American challenge to choose work over recreation or even rest. According to a 2019 study by Ipsos for the U.S. Travel Association, Americans left behind 768 million days of vacation in 2018. Only 55 percent of us who earned vacation took it all. We have been conditioned to work as much as we can and to pull for the team. The challenge is, though, that we end up missing major events in our lives. I work with many elderly people, and not one of them says, “Gee, I wish I had worked more.” Rather, they all wish they had spent a little more time at home, at the beach, or on that trip across country. How much are you actually working? Let’s look at the way we work. There are basically three types of employment structures: Exempt Nonexempt Gig I have an exempt position, which by definition means that when my work is done, I get to go home, even if it’s only been thirty hours. On the flip side, when it’s crunch time, I work long hours because not just anyone can do my job. I never work a 30-hour week. I can honestly say that I average 47–52 hours a week, and that doesn’t include my commute, getting dressed in “office professional,” or the time spent at home prepping for meetings. I don’t know a single exempt (salaried) American who works just forty hours and takes all their vacation. I just don’t. Nonexempt workers perform jobs that many people can do within a company, and they are less specialized. They get paid hourly, and if they are required to work more than forty hours in a week, or eighty hours in two weeks, they are supposed to earn overtime. The problem is, pretty much all the hourly workers I know have second jobs. The companies they work for are adverse to overtime, so they are capped somewhere around 30–35 hours a week. That means they have a second job to help make ends meet. Both jobs put together mean about a 60-hour workweek. For them, the challenge is taking off from both jobs to have a life. The people I know in the gig economy work all the time, because when you are gigging, the attitude is that if you aren’t working, you are not working. The feeling there is you need to take every job, because this one may lead to better connections. Most of them work 50–70 hours a week just to keep their heads above water, too. The drawbacks of a 40-hour workweek So what about that 40-hour workweek? In an ideal world, how much would this leave us for living? There are 168 hours in a week. If we use forty for work and forty for sleep, that leaves us just over half of our time for the rest of life. That’s not bad! But is it accurate? It is not accurate. No one actually works a 40-hour workweek. There are additional time-sucks. For me, that means: Commuting (7 hours) Additional time working at the office (7–12 hours) Work at home prepping or finishing work (8–10 hours) Getting ready up to business professional (5 hours) Making my work list before bed (2) In reality, work fills almost eighty hours a week! No wonder we are all exhausted. Before we just accept this as the cost of life in these times, let’s consider the benefits of a true 40-hour week. If I actually worked just forty hours, I would be able to accomplish all the things I dream of doing in my downtime instead of just hoping for a 10-minute break each day. The benefits of a 40-hour workweek If I worked just 40 hours a week, I could be healthier because I could get to the gym, and I would have time to cook dinner instead of ordering out. I would be more rested because I wouldn’t be borrowing from my sleep time to finish work. More importantly, I could use my vacation time. I could go to the beach, go skiing, and I could read those incredible books on my list. Of course, skiing is expensive, so I have to squeeze in just a bit more extra work to make more money. . . You can see it’s a cycle, but one that is deeply out of balance. Workers in the past fought so hard for the right to rest and have free time, but today’s wages are stagnant, and it is very difficult to enjoy life. While we fight for social change, there are steps we can take to improve our work/life balance and get closer to those golden forty. How you can improve your work-life balance So here is my proposal: We should not be working more than fifty hours a week in total. We have to be smart as individuals and make priorities. We can work all the time to break even, or we can cut out expenses from the extra car, the house cleaner, the Starbucks drink, and the take-out dinner. We should set limits on our time working outside of work and plan with our teams to be realistic, and to ensure the right things are getting done. Work limits can actually improve productivity. Studies show that productivity decreases sharply when we work more than fifty hours. So let’s trust the research and enjoy the free time we have earned with our discipline. I think I am going to start planning my vacation right now! Tiiu Lutter, MA, writes for the insurance comparison site, ExpertInsuranceReviews.com, and is the director of development at a mental health nonprofit. She also co-owns a family counseling center.
In September 2017, Sydney Williams realized her sedentary corporate lifestyle was literally killing her. A former collegiate rower and professional skydiver, she was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes after a 12-year career in big-brand corporate marketing and public relations. “I realized that everything that I thought was a bragging point on my resume was actually teaching people how to be sick and numb, and I was a byproduct of the work I had been doing,” Williams says. “I decided I wanted to use my skills to make the world a better place. So I left my cushy agency job with a six-figure salary, platinum health benefits provided by my employer, unlimited time off, and prestigious clients to join my friend’s startup in the realm of women’s empowerment and social justice.” But while her goal of joining the startup was to find and contribute deeper meaning to the world, the stress of startup life left her even sicker and more unhappy than before. So she left. A journey to healing Four days after leaving the startup, Williams was hiking when she realized that, thanks to diabetes, she had shifted her coping mechanisms from eating and drinking her feelings to hiking her feelings. “That shift felt revolutionary,” says Williams. But even more important was her realization that she had been coping unhealthily for all of those years due to a sexual assault she had survived in college and how the trauma had manifested in her mind and body. After Williams’ epiphany on the healing that comes from reconnecting with herself and nature, she made it her mission to spread the message to others dealing with ailments of body and mind. She recalls, “In late 2018, my husband and I sold everything we owned and moved into a 1998 Chevy van so we could take this message around the country, and share the healing power of nature with as many people as possible.” Now, as an author, event planner, and speaker with her organization, Hiking My Feelings, she hosts storytelling events and hikes around the United States to encourage people to get off the couch and onto the trail. Williams believes the work she is doing can have a monumental impact on the world. “This is bigger than my story and bigger than hiking,” she explains. “The fact of the matter is, when we disconnect from our distractions and reconnect with ourselves, anything is possible. We meet folks on the road who hike their feelings, but they also bike, run, yoga, climb, fish, ride motorcycles, sail, and surf their feelings. The common throughline is when we get the devices out of our faces and get outside, tremendous healing is possible.” Williams is walking proof, as her diabetes has been in remission for over a year, and she’s healthier and happier than she’s ever been. The outdoors turned her life around, and she turned around and made it her livelihood. Aside from the nearly countless overall health benefits of spending time outdoors, nature offers unmatched opportunities for exploration, education, recreation, and leisure that can contribute to a vibrant and meaningful life. Are you sitting at a desk as you read this, looking out the windows of an office — yes, even a home office — and wishing you were outside? The fact is, like Sydney Williams, some people actually get paid to work outside. Maybe you could, too. We'll explore several outdoors and nature-based jobs from the perspectives of people who have experience doing them; the benefits, the challenges, the training required, and the best advice for job seekers; plus wage and growth statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics based on the 2018 median salary for those jobs and the growth projected by 2028. For your reference, the median annual wage for all workers in 2018 was $38,640 and the average growth rate for all occupations is 5 percent. Infographic by Venngage Read through all of the jobs we've compiled, browse the expert insight quote boxes, or click on a job category to jump straight to it: Agriculture Animals Building & Maintenance Conservation & Research Education Energy Forestry Plants Recreation Resource & Retail Safety Wellness Agriculture Agricultural and food scientists Job duties: Conduct research and experiments to improve the productivity and sustainability of field crops and farm animals; study soil composition for plant growth improvement; travel between facilities to oversee projects Median salary: $64,020 ($30.78 per hour) Job outlook: 7% growth Types of jobs: Animal scientists Food scientists and technologists Plant scientists Soil scientists Agricultural engineers Job duties: Solve problems concerning pollution and environmental issues, machine efficiency, and storage; test equipment to ensure safety and reliability; improve efficiency in automated and processes Median salary: $77,110 ($37.07 per hour) Job outlook: 5% growth Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers Job duties: Supervise crop production and ranging; maintain farm facilities and supplies; purchase and sell supplies Median salary: $67,950 ($32.67 per hour) Job outlook: -1% declineTypes of jobs: Farmers and ranchers Agricultural managers Crop farmers and managers Livestock, dairy, and poultry farmers Nursery and greenhouse managers Aquaculture farmers and managers Other agriculture-based jobs include agriculture educators, vineyard managers, and beekeepers. Animals Animal care and service workers Job duties: Attend to animals in a variety of settings, such as animal shelters, aquariums, kennels, pet stores, stables, veterinary clinics, and zoos Median salary: $23,950 ($11.51 per hour) Job outlook: 16% growth Types of jobs: Animal trainers Groomers Grooms Kennel attendants Nonfarm animal caretakers Pet sitters Zookeepers Jeff Carbridge, former dog walker and now educator on dog training at Dogowner.co.uk, got into dog walking and training because he was sick of the standard 9–5 office job. "I felt like I was accomplishing nothing, and I needed something exciting in my life," Carbridge explains. So he got a career diploma in Canine Training and Behavior Management to combine with his professional dog walking experience. "It is so rewarding to be able to help dogs as well as their owners." Veterinarians Job duties: Care for animals in clinics, hospitals, farms, labs, classrooms, zoos; advise animal owners about animal care; perform surgery; prescribe medication Median salary: $93,830 ($45.11 per hour) Job outlook: 18% growth As a small animal and exotic veterinarian Sara Ochoa, who consults for DogLab, dreamed of being a veterinarian her whole life. "During my undergraduate studies, I worked at a veterinary clinic, which solidified my choice of going to veterinary school," Ochoa explains. From there, she volunteered her time in other countries working with animals, giving her experience working as a vet even before graduating from vet school at St. George's University in Grenada, West Indies. Ochoa now practices at an animal hospital in Texas. Zoologists and wildlife biologists Job duties: Study animals and other wildlife; collect biological data and specimens for analysis; develop conservation plans; write papers and give presentations on research Median salary: $63,420 ($30.49 per hour)Job outlook: 5% growth Allison Cornell, professor and field biologist at Cedar Crest College, started college with the intent to pursue veterinary school because she loved animals. However, she discovered that the things she loved about animals — their natural behavior, their evolutionary histories, and their connectedness with their environment — weren't central to veterinary medicine. "With the help of mentors, I found my way to research," Cornell explains. "I realized I was more interested in investigating scientific questions than using existing knowledge to solve medical problems." Her expertise is in ornithology, physiology, ecology, field biology, and science education. How would you like to swim with sharks for a living? That's one component of what Toby Daly-Engel does. Daly-Engel is an assistant professor of ocean engineering and marine sciences at Florida Tech studying the molecular ecology and evolution of sharks and other marine megafauna. She had her heart set on studying sharks since she was a little girl despite growing up in upstate New York, nowhere near the ocean. After getting a bachelor's degree in biology and master's and doctorate degrees in zoology, Daly-Engel was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship in research and teaching where she spent three years testing the hypotheses she had developed around sharks on giant predatory water bugs from the mountains of the Sonora Desert. Along the way, she took advantage of all of the research opportunities she could. "I took whatever opportunities I could to move forward in my career, a lot of which did not involve shark research," Daly-Engel says. "Because of that, I have gotten to do science with mice, bugs, fish, crabs, and dolphins, all of which really helped me understand my subject and prepared me for my current job better than I would have been had I studied only one type of animal." Now, Daly-Engel encourages marine biologist hopefuls to follow their passion above all else. "First and foremost, go for what you love. Just because you want to study an animal that lots of people like — sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, etc. — doesn’t mean you, yourself can’t do it!" Other animal-based jobs include animal control workers and habitat specialists (like at zoos or Disney's Animal Kingdom). Building and Maintenance Commercial divers Job duties: Work below surface of water, using scuba gear to inspect, repair, remove, install equipment and structures; use power and hand tools, such as drills, sledgehammers, torches, and welding equipment; conduct tests or experiments, rig explosives, photograph structures or marine life Median salary: $49,140 ($23.63 per hour) Job outlook: 7% growthTypes of jobs: Offshore divers Onshore divers HAZMAT divers Scientific divers Naval divers Military and police divers Construction managers and workers Job duties: Plan, coordinate, and supervise construction projects; implement construction plans for residential and commercial properties Median salary of managers: $93,370 ($44.89 per hour) Median salary of construction workers and helpers: $34,810 ($16.74 per hour) Job outlook: 10% growth Glaziers Job duties: Install glass in windows, skylights, and other fixtures in buildings and storefronts; follow blueprints and specifications; add weather seal around pane edges Median salary: $43,550 ($20.94 per hour) Job outlook: 11% growth Line installers and repairers Job duties: Identify defective devices; inspect and test power lines; climb poles and transmission towers and use truck-mounted bucketsMedian salary: $65,880 ($31.67 per hour) Job outlook: 4% growthTypes of jobs: Electrical power-line installers and repairers Telecommunications line installers and repairers Line installers Line repairers Masonry workers Job duties: Read and follow blueprints; lay out patterns, forms, and foundations; mix and spread mortar or grout; align structures using levels Median salary: $44,810 ($21.54 per hour) Job outlook: 11% growthTypes of jobs: Brickmasons and blockmasons Cement masons and concrete finishers Stonemasons Terrazzo workers and finishers Roofers Job duties: Replace, repair, and install roofing materials on residential and commercial buildingsMedian salary: $39,970 ($19.22 per hour) Job outlook: 12% growth Milwaukee-based roofing contractor Mark Evans graduated with a bachelor's degree in marketing and worked in the corporate world for two years, but quickly grew tired of it. "I come from a blue-collar family so I was used to working outside," Evans explains. "I started to realize that working in an office just wasn't something I wanted to do for the rest of my life." Around the same time, one of Evans' high school friends reached out to him for help marketing his struggling roofing company. Evans saw an opportunity as there wasn't a lot of competition at the time, and agreed to help his friend as long as he could become co-owner of the company. He already knew how to do roofing jobs, and he was happy to utilize his marketing expertise for the benefit of the business. Evans recommends people seeking a similar career learn the trade for a few years, then start their own business as there are always people looking for roof repair and installs so there will always be a stream potential clients. But he emphasizes the continued importance of marketing in finding and maintaining a client base. "As we are well into the digital age, your company website is key," he says. "That's how you gain an edge on your competition. Other building and maintenance jobs include demolition managers, framers, and building surveyors. Conservation and Research Archaeologists Job duties: Examine, recover, and preserve artifacts from past cultures; prepare reports and present research; advise organizations on cultural impactMedian salary: $62,420 ($30.01 per hour) Job outlook: 10% growth Biological technicians Job duties: Assist biological and medical scientists in conducting lab tests and experiments Median salary: $44,500 ($21.39 per hour) Job outlook: 7% growth Environmental scientists and specialists Job duties: Collect and compile environmental data; analyze samples; develop plans to prevent, control, or fix environmental problems; provide information and guidance on possible environmental hazards Median salary: $71,130 ($34.20 per hour) Job outlook: 8% growth Job types: Climate change analysts Environmental health and safety specialists Environmental restoration planners Industrial ecologists Environmental chemists Dr. Megan Wise de Valdez, an associate professor of biology at Texas A&M-San Antonio, studies vector ecology and parasitology specifically pertaining to the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito. As a freshman in college, she took a field parasitology course which took her out into the field to study insects infected with parasites. "I loved being outdoors and doing real science," Wise says. "During all of my schooling, from undergraduate through doctorate studies, I always had an outdoor component to my research." Now, her fieldwork often takes her and her student researchers into suburbs and nearby cities in Texas to study this species in an effort to control their spread of disease. Geoscientists Job duties: Study the composition, structure, and processes of the Earth; conduct laboratory tests on samples collected in fieldwork; make geological maps and chartsMedian salary: $91,130 ($42.81 per hour) Job outlook: 6% growth Job types: Geologists Geophysicists Oceanographers Paleontologists Petroleum geologists Seismologists Rick Hunter, a paleontologist at the Museum of Ancient Life in Lehi, UT, wears many hats as a scientist, curator, and exhibit designer. As head paleontologist, his main responsibilities include directing the activities in the paleontology lab, overseeing and training the volunteer prep staff, and guiding the preparation of their current Barosaurus dinosaur project. As curator for the museum, he is responsible for the acquisition, identification, cataloging, curation, inventory, legality, and protection of the museum’s collections. And as exhibit designer, he oversees the design and maintenance of current and new exhibits, including the technical writing for museum signage. "The education never stops," Hunter says. "I do things almost every day that I have no formal training for. I have no training as a sculptor, yet I sculpt missing bones. I have no training as an artist, yet I paint. All of the skills that I have acquired over a lifetime have lead me to the positions that I now fill." To aspiring paleontologists, Hunter suggests focusing on specific goals and doing what it takes to proactively make them happen, as positions in his field are limited. Other conservation and research-based careers include cartographers, volcanologists, and nonprofit managers. Education Archivists, curators, and museum workers Job duties: Prepare and restore items in collections; oversee collections and displays; may include science, archaeology, and nature museums or other nonprofit or for-profit organizationsMedian salary: $48,400 ($23.27 per hour) Job outlook: 9% growth Meeting, convention, and event planners Job duties: Coordinate aspects of events and professional meetings, including for the outdoor industry or in outdoor settings Median salary: $49,370 ($23.74 per hour) Job outlook: 7% growth Rebecca Turk remembers the day her mom first taught her about horticulture. She was about 12 years old and helping to cultivate the mulch in her backyard. "My mom mentioned noticing how much I loved to work outside," Turk remembers, "and she wanted to make sure I knew that I could focus on that passion as a career." From that point on, she decided to major in horticulture and she never strayed from that path. After pursuing bachelor's and master's degrees in agriculture and horticulture, respectively, she worked various employments throughout academia including with the Stephen F. Austin (SFA) Mast Arboretum, the Nacogdoches Naturally environmental education program, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University. She also became active in the American Public Garden Association, an invaluable resource for meaningful connections and partnerships. Now, as the director of education and events at the 65-acre Moore Farms Botanical Garden in Lake City, SC, she embraces her leadership role and the fact that no day is like another. "I have a strong passion for public horticulture and I love that my position lets me combine both horticulture and education together," Turk explains. "This is an industry that is ever-evolving. It is significantly influenced by the interests and demands of the public as well as our fast-changing climate." Turk continually needs to be willing to adapt, to be challenged, and to look at each challenge as a new obstacle to face. Regarding events management specifically, she says developing a logistical mindset is especially crucial. Postsecondary teachers Job duties: Teach courses in a specific subject area; work with colleagues to develop curricula; stay up-to-date on innovations in their field; assess students' progress Median salary: $78,470 ($37.73 per hour)Job outlook: 11% growth Franklin Pierce University professor of biology and environmental science Rhine Singleton teaches courses in environmental science, ecology, plant biology, and forest ecology. Located in rural southwest New Hampshire, the campus includes over 1,000 acres of natural areas encompassing a variety of ecosystem types including coniferous forest, northern hardwood forest, spruce swamp, marsh, meadow, stream, and pond. "As a result of this setting," says Singleton, "my classes spend significant amounts of time in the field studying natural history and collecting data to answer ecological questions. And my students have great attitudes about learning and being outdoors during labs, even when the weather isn't pleasant." Travel beyond campus is also a major component of Singleton's job. He frequently travels to Africa, Central America, and other exotic locations to carry out field research assignments. Self-enrichment education teachers Job duties: Teach courses on self-improvement, nonvocational, and nonacademic subjectsMedian salary: $38,438 ($18.48 per hour) Cindy Olsen is a self-employed nature educator continually seeking out ways to learn more about nature and mindfulness through experts, classes, books, and research — and then sharing that knowledge with the community. She first trained to be an environmental educator on local flora and fauna and taught youth at the Sheldrake Environmental Center in Rochelle, New York. Then in 2018, she was certified as a mindful outdoor guide through the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership. She is currently in the process of becoming a certified guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy as well as a certified meditation teacher with Mindful Schools. While always a nature enthusiast, Olsen's current career is quite a departure from her previous career in international finance for film and media. "I made the decision to leave the corporate world because I saw two problems that I wanted to find a way to contribute solutions to," Olsen explains. "First, the rising levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness in our culture, and second, the threat of human impact on the environment." Olsen was inspired to become a nature educator because of this quote: "In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught." — Baba Dioum Through her nature and mindfulness education programs, she sees the meaningful impact she has in forging deep connections to self, each other, and the natural world. Other education-based jobs include podcasters, public speakers, authors, influencers, and conservation-focused lobbyists. Environmental engineers Job duties: Use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and/or chemistry to solve environmental problems; may tackle concerns about water availability and efficiency of water useMedian salary: $87,620 ($42.13 per hour) Median salary of environmental engineering technicians: $50,560 ($24.31 per hour) Job outlook: 5% growth (9% for technicians) Regional and urban planners Job duties: Develop land use plans; gather and analyze data from environmental studies; present projects to planning commissions; stay current on environmental regulations and concerns Median salary: $73,050 ($35.12 per hour) Job outlook: 11% growth Solar photovoltaic installers Job duties: Plan PV system configurations; install solar modules, panels, and support structures; connect panels to the electrical system; perform routine maintenance Median salary: $42,680 per year ($20.52 per hour)Job outlook: 63% growth Wind turbine technicians Job duties: Climb wind turbine towers to inspect or repair equipment; test and troubleshoot systems; collect data for testing or research; service underground transmission systems Median salary: $52,370 per year ($26.14 per hour)Job outlook: 57% growth For more energy-based jobs, consult Zety's list of over 150 sustainability careers. Forestry Conservation scientists and foresters Job duties: Ensure compliance with government regulations and habitat protection; establish plans for managing forest lands; work with individuals and groups to improve foresting land Median salary: $61,340 per year ($29.49 per hour)Job outlook: 3% growth Job types: Conservation land managers Range managers Soil and water conservationists Procurement foresters Urban foresters Conservation education foresters Forest and conservation workers Job duties: Measure and improve quality of forests for state or local governments or on privately-owned forest lands or nurseriesMedian salary: $27,460 ($13.20 per hour) Job outlook: -3% decline Other forestry-based jobs include trail builders, arborists, park and forest rangers, and other state or national park employees. Arborist Lisa Tadewaldt, who owns Urban Forest Pro, a tree services company based in Oregon, enjoys working outside with trees daily. "I love the sheer amount of variety we experience," she explains. "One day we might be cutting back limbs on a massive pine tree and the next day we're grinding stumps." While at times it might seem this career can be challenging, and it certainly can, Tadewaldt absolutely loves experiencing new situations, meeting community members and helping them, and being active for several hours a day. The job is physically demanding and can put your body through some wear and tear. And for safety purposes, the work you do is often limited by stormy or other adverse weather. Because of this, there are certain times of the year with a lull in project volume. But Tadewaldt says the rewards more than compensate for the challenges. She jokes that she and her employees don't need a gym membership. "Try hauling a chainsaw up a tree while you're climbing for several hours on end. That'll burn more calories than a treadmill could in a day!" If you love trees and would enjoy trimming trees and bushes professionally, an arborist job might be right for you. As is the case in landscaping and nearly all outdoor home service fields, some experience is really all you need to get your foot in the door as long as the company is bonded and insured. But the more you know, the further you'll go. Tadewaldt makes sure each member of her team is certified by the International Society of Aboriculture, which allows them the title of Certified Arborist — a designation given only to individuals who have passed exams and work towards continuing education in the field. Plants Grounds maintenance workers Job duties: Ensure the grounds of houses, businesses, and parks are attractive, orderly, and healthy Median salary: $29,400 ($14.13 per hour) Job outlook: 9% growth Landscape architects Job duties: Design parks and other outdoor spaces; prepare graphic representations of plans using CADD software; analyze environmental reports on land conditions Median salary: $68,230 ($32.80 per hour) Job outlook: 4% growth Cassy Aoyagi is a board member of the U.S. Green Building Council and president of FormLA Landscaping, an energy-conscious landscaping company based in Los Angeles. Aoyagi studied environmental horticulture in college and started a landscaping business with her husband upon graduation. Over the years, the Aoyagis have built out their landscaping business to offer comprehensive design, build, and maintenance services. Her training in environmental studies sets her apart from other industry leaders. "My Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITEs) credentials have informed and enriched my approach to the work and have opened doors to influencing our industry and community," states Aoyagi. Her advice to other landscaping professionals? "Make sure that your crews and staff are getting the accolades and opportunities they deserve," she recommends. "While they may have the best outside jobs in the world, the elements can be rough as well as the work. Make sure they understand the big picture of what their work means to the world." Other plant-focused jobs include botanists, florists, and nursery managers. Recreation Amusement and recreation attendants Job duties: Maintain and provide equipment to participants at recreational facilities; operate logistical procedures at sporting events; operate amusement concessions and rides Median salary: $22,260 ($10.70 per hour) Job outlook: 8% growth Athletes Job duties: Participate in sporting events to entertain spectators, including for live-streamed or other online contentMedian salary: $50,650 ($24.35 per hour)Job outlook: 6% growth Could you get paid to explore gorgeous coasts and unique landforms? That's what Iain Miller does. He is a full-time professional rock climber specializing in sea stack climbing. A sea stack is a steep geological landform made up of columns of rock in the sea near a coast, and Miller paddles out to these stacks to free climb. Miller, 49, has been hillwalking since he was 14 and rock climbing since his mid-20s. He's also worked at sea on different vessels such as bulk carriers, cable layers, and ferries, providing him a good mix of mountaineering and nautical skills which have led him to where he is now. Apart from being a great day out, his adventures provide endless content for YouTube and other social media channels and blogs, which is a large part of this type of independent lifestyle and employment. "When you are doing what you love doing then nothing should be a chore. Being self-employed in any profession or industry presents similar challenges to overcome, but I have found what works for me is to simply be out doing what it is I say I do — being out climbing in beautiful settings in places where few, if any, have climbed before." Coaches and scouts Job duties: Teach amateur or professional athletes Median salary: $33,780 ($16.24 per hour)Job outlook: 11% growth As a professional golf coach and the founder of Golf Insider UK, Will Shaw helps amateurs and professionals alike to improve their game. While Shaw has a deep love of the game, people skills and business know-how are also crucial for this career. "To excel as a coach, you have to spend time learning about golfing technique and coaching methods," Shaw says. "But on top of this, you have to be great at communicating with a wide range of people and to learn the basics of running your own business." According to Shaw, aspiring coaches should expect to earn less than average wage when first starting out, but can expect to build a successful coaching business within 2-3 years. The most common route for becoming a golf coach is to take up an assistant's role at a golf club, then take a three-year Professional Golfer's Association (PGA) qualification. However, Shaw says there is no legal requirement to follow this route. There are many coaching qualifications that anyone can take, such as the certificate offered by the United States Golf Teachers Federation (USGTF). Recreation workers Job duties: Help people stay active, improve fitness, and/or have fun; may be through coordinated daytime and/or overnight activities Median salary: $25,060 ($12.05 per hour)Job outlook: 8% growth As the director of Gold Arrow Camp in California's High Sierra, Andy Moeschberger is well aware of the logistical challenges to working in nature. "You can't just quickly pop into Wal-Mart if you need some eggs," Moeschberger jokes. But he says the challenges of his career as a summer camp director are massively offset by the benefits. From the picturesque setting to the positive energy of the youth to the freedom from technology attachment, summer camp really is one of the best places to be for kids and adults alike. The Moeschbergers both taught school after getting their bachelor's degrees and spent the summers working at the camp. Little by little, their responsibilities expanded until they were both working full-time at Gold Arrow Camp. He attends conferences regularly with the American Camp Association and the Western Association of Independent Camps. Moeschberger is confident about the future of employment for youth and young adults interested in becoming camp counselors: "If you're dedicated to camp and open about your desire to work in camping, you're going to find opportunities." Tour and travel guides Job duties: Plan, organize, and conduct long-distance or sightseeing tours, travel, or expeditionsMedian salary: $26,570 ($12.77 per hour)Job outlook: 7% growth Kevin Rosenburg grew up in a tough neighborhood where Boy Scouts were bullied, and his family never hiked or camped, so he never had experience in the outdoors. But when he joined the military right out of high school, he came to love carrying a 75-lb pack, wearing greasepaint on his face, sleeping out under the stars and carrying an M-16. "Eventually, I realized I could leave the M-16 behind and just hike," Rosenberg explains. After the military trained him in survival and navigation, Rosenberg became certified as a Wilderness EMT and got his guide license from New York state. Now a mountain guide, he leads individuals and groups on arctic and sub-arctic adventure travels through his business, International Adventure Guides. As a guide, Rosenburg's biggest challenge is "being found on the web amongst a sea of white-bread tours labeling themselves as adventure travel." Weather is a close second. Other recreation-focused jobs include race directors, turf managers, resort managers, and instructors for surfing, archery, skiing, and snowboarding. Resource and Retail Bicycle repairers Job duties: Repair and service bicycles Median salary: $28,960 ($13.92 per hour) Job outlook: 8% growth Fishing and hunting workers Job duties: Locate animals to catch or hunt, sort, pack, and store for food or other purposes; follow local environmental and safety regulationsMedian salary: $28,530 ($13.72 per hour) Job outlook: -2% decline Job types: Fishing boat captains Fishing deckhands Hunters Trappers Logging workers Job duties: Harvest forests to provide the raw materials for consumer goods and industrial products; follow protocols for correct machinery usage and environmental regulations Median salary: $40,650 ($19.54 per hour) Job outlook: -14% decline Photographers Job duties: Use various techniques and equipment to capture images and video of subjects in a variety of landscapes and settings; market their work and services to clients or an employer; may shoot for a travel magazine or local tourist hot spot Median salary: $34,000 ($16.35 per hour) Job outlook: -6% decline Retail sales workers Job duties: Recommend merchandise based on customer needs; promote sale and special items; process customer payments; may work in an outdoor-niche retail shop such as REI, Lands End, an outdoor gear rental shop, or a ski resort shop Median salary: $24,340 ($11.70 per hour) Job outlook: -2% decline Writers and authors Job duties: Develop written content for various types of media, including books, magazines, and other digital and print media Median salary: $62,170 ($29.89 per hour) Job outlook: 0% growth (little to no change) Steph Young is an outdoor gear blogger at CampingCooks.com. She had been making websites for clients before wondering what would happen if she made one for herself. And it’s been a grand adventure. Young still consults for a marketing agency but loves that she can focus on her interests in the outdoors through volunteering for conservation groups and creating helpful and fun camping-related content on her website, which is how she makes money as an Amazon Associate. The biggest challenge is the ever-present demand for new content and website updates. “I could see this being a chore for someone who isn’t enthusiastic about all of these things,” Young admits. “But I love blogging, camping, and experimenting with different (and sometimes strange!) devices to cook with in my outdoor adventures, so it’s something I enjoy.” Paul Ronto’s career path included several twists and turns within the outdoors industry. He’s been a whitewater guide, an elk and deer hunt guide, a gear tester, an outdoor gear copywriter, a leadership event planner, and he’s worked for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in both their outfitting and marketing departments. While he’s had his share of adventure, there were obstacles to face. “Starting a job in the outdoor industry, like guiding or gear testing, can be tough,” says Ronto. “You need a lot of experience to gain credibility, and a lot of times it’s hard to get paid to get that experience, which means doing a lot of things on your own for no return for a time.” Still, he says you can find a career that’s rewarding if you focus on your passion and your strengths. “Just beware, you may have to live in your car or on a friend’s couch at some point,” he warns. He’s also done marketing in the real estate sector, but has found his sweet spot in marketing for RunRepeat, an athletic footwear review site. In his role as CMO and content director, he manages a team of writers creating content on running and hiking. “I’ve tried to ignore my passion at times to find a career with better pay and titles, but I kept coming back to a feeling of unease,” Ronto explains. “If your passion is the outdoors, you have to follow it. You will feel an empty hole if you don’t!” Safety EMTs and paramedics Job duties: Respond to emergency calls as a result of car crashes, natural disasters, or acts of violence; perform medical services; transport patients to medical facilitiesMedian salary: $34,320 ($16.50 per hour) Job outlook: 7% growth Environmental science and protection technicians Job duties: Monitor the environment; investigate sources of pollution and contamination; may work in an office or laboratory in addition to fieldworkMedian salary: $46,170 ($22.20 per hour) Job outlook: 9% growth Firefighters Job duties: Respond to residential, commercial, or wildfires Median salary: $49,620 ($23.85 per hour) Job outlook: 5% growth First-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers Job duties: Plan, coordinate, and supervise fire fighting efforts Median salary: $76,330 ($36.70 per hour)Job outlook: 5% growth Nolan Heaps, who works for the Idaho National Laboratory Fire Department, started his firefighting career in 2009 as a senior in high school on an engine crew for the Idaho Falls Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In that role, he did a lot of mobile initial attacks on fires on the flame front, spraying water and digging line to establish a barrier between the unburned fuel and the fire. Some years, depending on the terrain, he and his crew wouldn't use the truck much at all, forming a hand crew and do a lot of burning, cutting with chain saws, and digging line. With wildland firefighting jobs, you are sent to wherever you're needed: all over the United States, Canada, and even Australia. There are multiple fire suppression jobs that fall under the umbrella of wildland firefighting: smoke jumpers, helitack, hotshots, hand crews, and engine crews. Like Heaps, people usually start off on an engine crew to get experience and some certifications and then move on to other crews such as helitack (helicopter operations) and hotshots (an elite handcrew with leadership responsibilities). In 2013, Heaps was assigned to a two-week job with the BLM's Bonneville Hotshots attacking some of the biggest wildfires in Idaho that summer. In 2017, he was hired on to a helitack crew in Swan Valley, Idaho. "Helitack was an amazing opportunity for me," Heaps says. "We would fly for up to seven hours a day from fire to fire helping crews with bucket drops, firing operations, and digging line to stop the spread of fire." The work of a wildland firefighter is just as grueling (and probably more so) than what you'd expect. You do 14–16 day operational shifts (shifts are 16+ hours long) in a row, then travel back home. You sleep on the ground wherever you are sent. For Heaps, hard work is a huge part of the appeal. He says, "It is one of the most satisfying feelings when you work that hard and can crawl into a sleeping bag at night knowing you earned that night's rest." As for the training required for the job, Heaps attended basic fire school and had other opportunities for professional development, eventually building up a strong knowledge base and skill set including the following: Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification Fire behavior Chain saw operation Cutting line to bare mineral dirt Water pump operation Technical tree felling Firing operations Commanding aircraft Commanding personnel To aspiring wildland firefighters, Heaps offers encouragement: "Don't be afraid of a challenge. It will be some of the most fun, challenging, and rewarding work you will ever do. It was a great experience for me and helped me grow as an individual." Lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers Job duties: Monitor recreational areas like pools, beaches, and ski slopes; work may be seasonalMedian salary: $22,410 ($10.77 per hour) Job outlook: 7% growth Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators Job duties: Manage a system of machines to safely and efficiently transfer or treat water or wastewater Median salary: $46,780 ($22.49 per hour) Job outlook: -5% decline Other safety-based jobs include oil and safety gas technicians, environmental health and safety officers, fire prevention specialists, and helicopter pilots. Wellness Animal-assisted therapists Job duties: Assess client challenges and needs; utilize animal-assisted therapy techniques to treat symptoms; may involve equine therapy and emotional support animals Median salary of psychologists: $79,010 ($37.99 per hour) Job outlook: 14% growth Median salary of recreation therapists: $47,680 ($22.92 per hour) Job outlook: 7% growth Licensed mental health professional Prairie Conlon, clinical director of Therapetic and CertaPet consultant, specializes in animal-assisted therapy. Many patients experience anxiety, panic attacks, depressive symptoms, and sleep difficulties. From equine therapy to working with therapy dogs, Conlon has seen significant improvements in her patients. As the founder and lead researcher of Emotional Support Animal Assisted Therapy (ESAAT), a set of techniques utilized to decrease symptoms with an Emotional Support Animal, Conlon is continually working to improve upon and teach this methodology. Conlon has undergone extensive training to hone her expertise and craft. She has a master’s degree in professional counseling, a postgraduate degree in Military Behavioral Health Counseling, an equine-assisted psychotherapist certification, and an Accelerated Resolution Therapist certificate. Conlon also trains future trauma therapists and consults for several nonprofits for veterans and first responder trauma. Fitness trainers and instructors Job duties: Lead, instruct, or motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities; may work at a spa, resort, clinic, or cruise line Median salary: $39,820 ($19.15 per hour)Job outlook: 13% growth Steve Silberberg combines recreation and fitness in his business, Fitpacking. The goal is for adventurers to get fit, lose fat, and have fun on one- or two-week group expeditions led by trip leaders certified as SOLO, Wilderness Medicine Associates, Wilderness Medicine Institute, or NOLS-certified Wilderness First Responders. Silberberg says, "I live an incredibly good and meaningful quality of life, but of course it’s no way to get rich." Still, he finds the trade-off worth it to get paid to promote fitness in the environment he loves. Your next step in career exploration Now that you've read about some of the incredible perks and real struggles to some of these careers, perhaps you've identified one or more you want to pursue. What next? Inventory your interests and strengths Take stock of the unique skills you've developed in your education and work experience thus far. Brainstorm how you could use those skills in an outdoor career. Take a personality test if you're stumped. Find a mentor Identify a few individuals who are two or more steps ahead of where you are and ask if they will mentor you as you begin exploring your options. Using LinkedIn, contact pages, or in-person events to connect, reach out to those individuals with your questions and goals. You may want to look into joining a society for outdoor professionals or another networking group within your chosen niche. Consider a career certificate Recently, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) partnered with three universities (Utah State University, University of Colorado Boulder, and Western Colorado University) to create the Outdoor Industry Business Certificate program which will be launched soon. It's definitely worth considering, especially if you'd like training on one of OIA's three pillar areas: Public policy Increasing outdoor participation Sustainable business innovation Other potential certifications worth looking into: ed2go's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate course U.S. Career Institute's Certified Personal Trainer course for passing the National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF) exam Stratford Career Institute's bicycle mechanic course for entry-level employment in a bike shop or bike department at a retail store Support outdoor businesses Whether or not you decide to take a step into the unknown terrain of a new career path, you can use your knowledge of the outdoors industry to be mindful of the people behind these jobs. As you plan your adventures beyond the office, you can use your words and your wallet to support the people and policies that keep the natural world accessible and thriving for generations to come.
Guest Post by Rada Abdo A recruiter's time is limited. They get dozens of resumes to sort through, and job candidates only have this one shot to make an impact. Recruiters generally know exactly they're looking for in a pile of resumes, which is a major factor in determining who gets selected for the next round. If you design your resume or CV well and sell your experiences and skills, you will stand out from the crowd. Read on for tips to create the resume design that will get you the results you desire. Utilize appealing design elements The idea is for the reader to quickly consume your resume. The more strategic you are about it, the better your results will be. Use an eye-catching border to grab attention To help your resume stand out in a sea of white paper, a border can be helpful. It also adds a bit of personality. A border provides a splash of excitement without distracting from the most important information. Use a flat color, muted pattern, or simple texture to keep your resume visually interesting. Pay attention to the company you are applying to and the type of vibe they give off. If you’re applying to a job at a bank, your approach may be more traditional than if you're applying to work for a creative agency. Use a simple timeline to showcase educational experience A simple yet unique way to visualize your educational experience is via a timeline. Since most people are familiar with infographics, it makes your resume easier to consume. You want to keep it to the point. Don’t make the timeline too complicated, but include relevant highlights including publications, internships, specialized courses, career certificates, and other accomplishments. Expert tip To keep your resume up-to-date and current, only include recent information. Hiring managers want to know your recent career trajectory and see your professional development. That’s why the reverse chronological format is standard today. In general, only include work experience as far back as 10 years. Anything that occurred before that is no longer useful, unless you have a particularly notable accomplishment or an experience that is incredibly relevant to the position. — Samuel Johns HR Specialist and Hiring Manager Resume Genius Use a different background color to highlight your contact information Your contact information should be the easiest to find, so put it in its own section with a different background color. When information looks inviting, this may make it more likely for the hiring manager to contact you. Capitalize on career highlights and bragging points Be intentional about the way you explain your qualifications. While design is important to incorporate, it's the words themselves that will get you picked up by a resume software system to filter relevant candidates. Plus, the right descriptions of your qualifiations can blow a hiring manager away. Expert tip When you're applying to a specific job, it's important that you stand out as a strong candidate with relevant work experience. You can make your resume look relevant by using specific keywords and phrases from the job description itself. This also helps you bypass certain Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that are programmed to look for specific terms and increases the overall match rate for your candidacy. — Ed Moss, Hiring Manager at Angel List Avoid over-explaining every detail of your experience You learn a lot in your time at a company, so it may be hard to summarize it all in your resume, but you don’t want to overwhelm the recruiter. Using a simple resume template is one way to help you hone in on the most crucial talking points. It will also be a great challenge to condense the information that you have so that it is to the point. Your core skills will be easy to find. Expert tip Display quantifiable results achieved in previous roles as well as list awards and achievements. Ensure this information is easily seen on the first page of the resume. This will allow candidates to differentiate themselves from others. It will also allow the person reviewing the resume to quickly identify that the candidate will likely a good fit for the company. — Ryan Moore, Director of Client Management at PeakSales Recruiting Include power words within your resume Using words that the company used in their job description is essential to your resume. These words are what make your resume pop. According to TheBalanceCareers, these are some of the best power words to include: Action verbs Company values Skills words Specific keywords Industry buzzwords Words such as accomplished, designed, initiated, and supervised are great to sprinkle into your resume. Write a resume introduction You can use different types of introductions for your resume based on your experience: Objective introductions are for people who do not have a lot of experience in the industry Qualification introductions list relevant soft skills and abilities Summary introductions provide a short synopsis of your experience Expert tip Tailor your resume to every new application. Read your resume as if you were the recruiter for that specific job. Then, read it again as if you were your potential superior. Then rewrite it, tailored to the recipients. Why is this important? Because every company has a different approach, different demands, and a different culture. You can't just use one resume for all job applications you send out. Instead, elaborate on relevant experience, education, and skills. Recruiters are the first party to make a selection, and they will go through resumes very quickly, reading them diagonally. So make sure relevant information stands out to make the first cut. — Iris De Geest, Content Marketer at Survey Anyplace
Guest Post by Melanie Musson After getting out of prison, it usually takes time to adjust to normal life again. It can be hard to get everything in order and find a job. You’ll also have to think about your transportation, and if you plan to drive, you’ll have to get car insurance. You might even need to look into high-risk car insurance options. While there are a lot of things to worry about, take a deep breath because the world is looking brighter for ex-cons. For some employers, there will always be a stigma attached when they hear you are a felon, but the good news is that many companies have chosen to diversify and build inclusive departments where ex-cons are welcome. Some industries are especially open, and they are great places to start your job search. Below are some tips for finding a job. Some companies are more inclusive than others, and some geographical areas are more friendly to ex-cons looking for employment. But no matter where you live, hold on to hope: persistence will pay off eventually. Apply for every job for which you qualify No matter who you are, even if you have no criminal history, if you’re looking for a job, you need to apply to as many places as possible. It’s a competitive world. While more and more companies are hiring ex-cons, a criminal record is still a bad mark on your resume, so it’s even more important that you apply everywhere you can. It can get discouraging to apply and not hear back, but you’ll increase your chances of getting an interview the more applications you fill out. Look for an apprenticeship or a job in service or labor Some jobs are closed doors to former felons, and these include most government jobs and most childcare and eldercare jobs. But many trade jobs are a good place to look into. Finding an apprenticeship or working towards a career certification as an HVAC technician, a welder, or a carpenter could be a great fit. If you land an apprenticeship, you’ll get all the training you need. Then when you’ve finished, you’ll be set up to earn a good living. If, while in prison, you learned a trade or skill, you’ve given yourself a head start. Look for jobs in your area of expertise, but as we’ll look at next, if you’re offered a job outside of your desired area, you should still consider taking it. Becoming a freelance worker is another option. There are many freelance jobs that you could make for yourself in writing, transcription, design, marketing, or even sales. Be open to taking any job opportunity It might not be your ideal job. But if you take it and do the best you can, your opportunities will only increase. When you have a job, you can continue to look for other jobs that are more suited to your desires. At least you’ll be bringing in an income while you’re looking. Additionally, showing that you can commit to a job and work hard shows potential employers that you have a good work ethic. Holding down a job gives your application a boost. The Diocese of Juliet has published an extensive list of employers who hire former felons. Since some companies automatically exclude individuals with criminal records, it’s nice to be able to rely on this list of companies where you'll have a better chance of getting hired. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit encourages companies to hire ex-cons If you're an employer reading this, be aware that the Work Opportunity Tax Credit gives an incentive to companies who hire from specified groups with barriers to employment. Ex-cons are one such group. This is a federal program, and it offers a 25 percent tax credit for the company that hires a program participant who works at least 120 hours in a year, and a 40 percent tax credit for employees working over 400 hours a year. California offers an ex-offender tax credit for companies that hire participants in the program. Employers get a 50 percent tax credit for employee participants. The credit drops by 10 percent each year after the first year. But by then, a good five-year employee will have proven their worth without the company needing an incentive. Other states with specialized programs are Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and Texas. Just because the state in which you live offers a program doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get hired, but it definitely helps. In addition to the federal program and state programs, many cities offer incentives for hiring people who are traditionally hard to place. Philadelphia, for example, has developed a Fair Chance Hiring Initiative that further incentivizes hiring former felons. Former inmates need employers willing to give them a chance And more often than not, former inmates will exceed the employer's expectations. In a report commissioned by the Society of Human Resources Management, a full 82 percent of executives said that their ex-con employees performed as well as or better than their employees without a criminal background. When a former offender makes the decision to stay out of prison and live by the law, they’re often more thankful and committed to a job when given the opportunity. They can be among the best workers an employer has, if given the chance. Don't give up If you have a criminal history, landing a job can take some time. But don’t give up. Write out your goals and take the necessary steps to meet those goals. Look for programs in your area that can help match you with an employer, and be willing to try whatever is offered to you. Proving yourself in a job will help you advance where you’re working and will look good on your resume. Asking mentors and pre-release programs in your area for advice on where to start looking for jobs is a great first step toward finding employment. In addition, the Cooperative of Felon-Friendly Employers (CoFFE) is another independent program that focuses on matching former inmates with employers. If you feel like you’re always ending up in dead ends, it may be just the resource to help you find an open door. Melanie Musson is a writer for MyCarInsurance123.com. As a fourth-generation insurance expert, she takes personal pride in helping people find insurance that gives them the protection they need for a price they can afford. Career Certificates and You: Where to Start? Learn more about career certificates by looking at the top-rated companies and their offerings. See Career Certificate Companies
Guest Post by Haley Brase After high school, it’s all downhill — well, kind of. Adulthood comes more quickly than you think, with its accompanying freedoms and responsibilities. Soon you'll be doing your own grocery shopping, cooking your own meals, and paying your own car insurance bills. To be able to afford the adult life, however, you have to learn to work like an adult. Becoming certified in something you’re interested in can help you find a career you love. It might seem like an extra hoop to jump through, but having a certificate can really make you stand out to prospective employers. So let’s take a look at what certifications are, how to choose the best ones for you, where to get them, and what kind of jobs require them. What do you want to be when you grow up? Look, we know it’s hard when you’re about to graduate and everyone keeps asking the same question: “What are you thinking about doing for work?” It’s daunting, scary, and downright not cool to be an adult sometimes. If you’re unsure about what field you want to go into, think about how you’re doing in high school: Do you have a favorite subject? In which subjects do you excel? Who do you admire? Based on your answers, you can get a good idea if you would be successful in a career related to that subject. For example, if you enjoy English class, you could be a teacher, author, journalist, etc. If you enjoy history, you could be a museum curator. If you enjoy math, check out engineering or astrophysics. And don’t forget to go on college visits or search through college programs to learn more about potential careers. If you want to find a job right after high school, start to think about what jobs are available in your area to narrow down what certifications would be essential in that field. It’s never too early to get your foot in the door — so start knocking! Why should I get certifications for a job? Being certified shows you have certain qualifications for a specific job you may be applying for. When you apply for jobs, hiring managers will notice certifications on your resume. It shows your future boss that you’re driven, take initiative, and have the skills to complete what is expected for that job. Whether you go to college or decide to search for jobs right after high school, there are certifications you can obtain before you graduate high school that will positively affect your future. While some jobs do not require certain certifications, you should still get certified just in case a particular job posting rolls around that you like. Certifications will make your application stand out when compared to other applicants who don’t have those certifications. You want to be noticed when applying for jobs — it’s good to stick out in this case. You are more likely to be brought in for an initial interview with specific credentials. Plus, if you are hired for a company that requires a certain certification, you would have already completed the process. So it wouldn’t be an additional task for you to accomplish at your new job and they wouldn’t have to worry about you receiving additional training. What certifications should I get in high school? When deciding on certifications, think about your future plans: What do I want to do after graduation? What are my interests? What do I already have experience in? Do I know what field of work I want to be in? If so, are there required certifications? Where can I get certified? If you know what you’re going to study in college or what field of work you’re going to start immediately, look up what certifications are required or offered for that job. For example, if you are going into the medical field (nurse, doctor, EMT), you should get CPR certified. Plus, if your goal is to make a lot of money (a pretty good goal, if you ask me), certifications can help you get the dream job you want. Certifications enhance your knowledge, skills, and most importantly, your marketability, which makes you more interesting to employers. Where and how do I get certified? So now that you’ve decided to get some certifications under your belt, where do you go? You have a few options. Employer If you are working in the field you’re interested in during high school, ask your employer about certifications that relate to the job. Your employer can explain what certifications would benefit you most, since they have years of experience in that field. You might even be considered for a promotion for taking the initiative to get certified in something. For example, if you're working in retail, you might ask your manager about retail-specific certifications or training required to be considered for a managerial role. You could also contact a staffing agency to learn about what certifications they notice most jobs require. You could potentially find a job while talking to an agent too — it’s a win-win situation! Local schools including community colleges or universities Your own high school may offer certain certifications, but you can also check local colleges to see what classes they have to offer. Online universities sometimes offer certifications as well, so be sure to check with them since that would mean no commuting. If you’re interested in working in education, meeting with a local teacher or professor could help you learn what certifications they earned to give you an idea of what certifications you should be looking for to thrive in that field. Online Based on your own research, you can find certification classes to enroll online. Consider reading reviews for career certification companies. Peers, teachers or college professors could suggest valid websites also. What jobs require certifications? Whether you want to be a doctor, a massage therapist, or even a firefighter, there are plenty of jobs that require certification. Here’s a list of just a few examples of well-paying jobs that require certifications: EMT Funeral director Brickmason Personal trainer Medical coder Firefighter Air traffic controller Automobile service station manager Real estate broker Margin department supervisor While you may be overwhelmed with new adult responsibilities that will start after graduating high school, you can make your future easier by becoming certified in something that will apply to your future goals or career before you graduate. Haley Brase is a writer for CarInsuranceComparison.com. She lives in Iowa with her boyfriend and loves to work with flowers when she can.
To jump straight to our growing list of career certifications to browse, click here. While many of us think of a four-year degree when it comes to college, certificate and associate's degree programs actually rival bachelor's degree programs in enrollment and awards conferred. The combined number of certificates and associate's degrees being awarded by colleges — around 2 million per year — is similar to the number of bachelor's degrees awarded, according to Georgetown University's recent report regarding the labor-market value of associate's degrees and certificate programs. And certificate holders within the fields of engineering technologies and drafting are making up to three times as much as those with only an associate degree in a similar field. Career certificates have the potential to catapult you into a new career or equip you with skills to work more competitively within your current job or industry. Read on to discover the value of career certifications and how one can benefit you. 1. Certifications can determine, guide, or supplement your chosen career Certifications can stand alone, work alongside a degree, or qualify you to start in a career by covering job-specific knowledge you didn't obtain in college. For example, to become a private investigator, you need to possess a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field. But to supplement your knowledge base and experience, Darrin Giglio, chief investigator with North American Investigations, recommends additional undergraduate coursework or certification courses. "It's desirable that you've taken courses in criminology, surveillance, law, and photography." In some cases, career certifications are a welcome alternative to a four-year degree with generally a smaller investment of money and time. Do you have a degree but want to make a career change? You can enter into some careers with zero experience by obtaining the necessary education and certifications. 2. Niche courses can aid in personal development, not just career advancement Even if you're happy where you are in your job, the added knowledge you can gain from a career development course can give you a new perspective when facing challenges. Having completed formal training, you'll better be able to come up with innovative solutions with newfound confidence. And sometimes it helps to look out-of-the-box for career development opportunities. Tech product manager Wren Ludlow believes that, in general, a certification won't make or break a hiring opportunity, but certifications can be a powerful supplement for personal development. He has found his Scrum credentials to be valuable in the workplace, and he appreciated his employer's willingness to pay for the course. However, it's the CliftonStrengths assessment that has made the biggest impact on Ludlow professionally. "The assessment has helped me to capitalize on my natural strengths and pursue where I can be most successful," he explains. "What I've discovered is that I like to achieve things and learn, but I do those things in the lens of my first two strengths: communicating and working with other people. This knowledge has helped me pursue projects and growth opportunities that play to those strengths and add a lot more fulfillment to my work." 3. Talking to pros in your industry can help you identify which certifications to pursue Are you seeking a promotion or job change? A certificate can give you the edge over the competition. But do your research before pursuing a degree and/or a certificate. In general, it won't hurt your job prospects to have additional training. However, even free certifications are an investment of time, so put your time where it will help you go the farthest. Consult coworkers to see what they have done, talk to your manager about what skills they'd like to see you gain or expand, and reach out to potential mentors who are two steps ahead of where you are now. In some cases, in addition to a certification, you need to acquire a degree and/or a certain amount of experience in your field. Here are some pro tips for seeking career certification recommendations within different industries: Finance Wealth advisor and Clear Financial Partners CEO Tim Clairmont, CFP®, explains that a combination of experience, education, and test-taking proficiency go into becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). "The CFP is the pinnacle designation for financial planners," Clairmont says. Requirements for a CFP are as follows: A bachelor's degree Five years of industry-related experience Adherence to a strict code of ethics Commitment to ongoing continuing education The completion of seven courses of post-graduate work A passing score on a comprehensive examination Clairmont stands behind the integrity of the exam, which is as close to comprehensive as possible in dealing with real-life financial situations: "The exam covers everything financial planning related: taxes, investments, annuities, life insurance, estate law, ethics, holistic financial planning, and more." Clairmont requires all of his company's advisor trainees pursue and achieve the CFP designation before they are allowed to work independently with clients. Technology Amazon Web Services One in-demand certification in the software and information technology (IT) industry is the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Developer certification. "AWS is the biggest cloud platform developers can use, which makes this certification so popular," explains Digital Software Products founder Colin Ma. Ma was studying for the AWS Developer certification and was on track to pass it when he got offered a job. "The CEO was impressed that I had cloud experience and was studying independently for the certification, and it definitely gave her additional confidence to hire me," he explains. The job was at a busy startup so he wasn't able to complete the certification there, but in addition to giving him a competitive edge in hiring, he was able to utilize his AWS expertise in his new responsibilities. Machine learning engineer Peter Song benefited similarly from his AWS expertise, helping him land his current job. "Some people undervalue certifications, saying that practical experiences are more important, and I agree," Song says. "However, if you want to have hands-on experiences, you first have to prove your knowledge to get a chance. And in addition the knowledge gained, I believe that earning career certifications can prove your passion and interest." The hiring manager told Song that his AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification greatly impacted their decision since the firm was looking for someone with AWS knowledge, which is no surprise given its increasing popularity. In addition to the Certified Solutions Architect certification, Song also recommends the AWS Certified Big Data specialty. Agile In delivering, Agile Method is rapidly rising as the norm, according to Richard Cheng, VP of Training and Chief Product Owner at Excella Training. The most widely recognized certification in the Agile field is the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) accreditation, which shows that you have a sound foundation and even a deep-dive understanding of Agile principles and the Scrum framework. Cheng explains that job listings that say "CSM certification preferred" or "CSM certification required" are increasingly common. "Any organization that is going through an Agile transformation should have a mix of Scrum teams and Kanban teams," according to Cheng. From a Kanban standpoint, the most widely recognized certification is the Kanban Management Professional 1 (KMP1). " While it doesn’t have nearly the number of certificate holders as the CSM, that base is also growing." SOLIDWORKS SolidProfessor applications engineer Patrick Ehrhardt recommends three SOLIDWORKS designations in particular for computer-aided design (CAD) drafters, technicians, and engineers, in order of difficulty to obtain: Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate (CSWA) Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP) Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert (CSWE) Ehrhardt explains that his employees who have these certifications require less time in training and have more time to do their jobs. "I hire a lot of engineering design interns and seeing a CSWA or CSWP on their resume really stands out to me," he says. "It shows that they're comfortable with the software so they can focus their time on the task instead of figuring out how to use the tool. We want them to concentrate on designing, so the less time they spend fighting against the tool, the better off we are as a company." Having obtained the first two credentials himself, Ehrhardt experiences benefits beyond the hire and beyond project competency. "Earning my CSWA and CSWP has really given me a lot of confidence in my designs and approach. I know that, in the world of solid part modeling, I could build pretty much anything I need to. And going through the process of earning these credentials has also given me a lot of respect and understanding of just how deep the software and design field goes." CompTIA Security+ Within cybersecurity, the CompTIA Security+ certification comes highly recommended by Will Ellis, IT security consultant and founder of Privacy Australia. He says professionals with this certification are often recognized as having both broad knowledge and a high skill level within the cybersecurity field. Plus, it is globally recognized and respected and is approved by the United States Department of Defense. Ellis explains, "Those who have attained this designation generally have knowledge and skills in cryptography, security infrastructure, threat management, and network access control, so there are great benefits to hiring someone with such a high degree of understanding and experience in network security." Communications and marketing Google Analytics Aaron Watters, CEO of digital marketing agency Leadhub, looks for candidates who have the Google Analytics Individual Qualification certification, which is comprised of roughly 70 questions drawn from the Google Analytics for Beginners and Advanced Google Analytics courses. The caveat to this certification is that the answers to the test can be found online. To push back against the realities of potential cheating, Watters tests interviewees on certificate-based knowledge to see if they actually know what they are talking about. He emphasizes, "If you're going to put this certification on your resumé, you better have the skills to back it up." Google Adwords Growth Marketing founder Stacy Caprio says marketing-specific certificates are crucial for digital marketers just starting their careers. "Having a certification shows you at least know enough to click the right answers on a test," she explains. "It shows you have a starting point to jump off from instead of starting to learn on the job from scratch." Caprio especially values Google Adwords for marketing professionals: "It makes a huge difference when people are looking to hire you, especially when you are younger without as many years of direct experience managing campaigns." Course Combos If you're a digital marketer, these Google certificates are crucial, as most recruiters and hiring managers actually expect to see one or both on an applicant's resume according to Flyparks online marketer Alice Bedward. "Combined, these certifications show that the candidate has some level of competency when it comes to data collection and analysis and understands search engine marketing best practice," she explains. "While it won't open up many job opportunities alone, it will fit well with other digital marketing courses and exams alongside your job training." Plus, it's free of charge and can be completed within a couple of weeks or less. Bedward also recommends the free courses offered by MOZ, SEMRush, and Hubspot. She says they are easily understandable, appreciated internationally, and can help you to stand out more in a crowded space at a junior level. SEO Kelly Diehr, PR and search engine optimization (SEO) coordinator for scavenger hunt company Let's Roam, explains that regardless of the specific course you choose, an SEO certificate is becoming vital for anyone in the marketing or public relations industry. "Platforms that were traditionally word-of-mouth have quickly become digital, and mastering that new frontier can be make or break," she says. "An SEO certification shows you are tech-savvy and can keep up with the evolving industry." Diehr recommends any SEO certificate programs that provide a knowledge base for the following skills: Keyword research Link building Landing press exposure Understanding Google ranking methods Event management Lauren Grech, CEO and cofounder of LLG Events & LLG Agency and adjunct professor at New York University, teaches in the United States' first-ever M.S. in Event Management program at New York University's Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. According to Grech, certificate coursework and training from accredited institutions are going to be increasingly important for event planning professionals as the industry continues to grow and integrate with other sectors, such as travel, hospitality, and tourism. So why is formal training essential in this field? She explains, "I have traveled all over the world — from Europe, the Middle East, and French Polynesia, to Asia and Central America — examining the global event industry from the perspective of the planner, client, venue and other vendors, uncovering fierce competition; pricing disparities amongst vendors from various professions; and no defined criteria for event execution, causing venues to consistently underperform within their events departments. This is all due to the fact that there has never been any formal, accredited training established within the wedding and event industries as they now apply to hospitality and tourism. Grech hopes to change that norm for her event management students. With formal event management training, vendors entering the industry will know how to price themselves, know how to define their value, and where to start when running an event from concept to execution. 4. Employers will often pay for career development courses Some companies have a professional development benefit built into the benefits structure. But even if that isn't standard at your place of employment, it's worth talking to an HR representative about the possibility. Put together a proposal detailing what the certification is, how much it costs, and how the skills you learn will prove to have a strong ROI for your team and for the company as a whole. Product manager Deric Lambdin has taken several courses over the span of his career from e-learning companies like Codeacademy, edX, and Linda, and in some cases, his employer has helped cover the costs. Lambdin says that through online courses, he has been exposed to new principles and has deepened his understanding of concepts surrounding his real-world experiences, enhancing his on-the-job training — and these benefits are all assets to his company. "I feel like employers are better recognizing the value of helping expand their employee's education," Lambdin explains. "Instead of being scared that employees will leave after receiving that type of education, they want to stay and apply the principles they learn within the company." 5. Not all certifying organizations are worthy of your investment When you're going to invest time and money into a certificate course, do your research on the certifying organization itself by consulting customer reviews. Reviews can alert you to red flags about a career certification company or highlight strengths that one organization has over another. Career Certification Courses If you're curious about some of the certification courses and designations available in your industry or want to consider alternate career possibilities, we've got you covered. We've divided these certifications into industry-based categories, but be aware that some certifications can be beneficial across several job types, while others are highly specific. While some designations and courses listed here are offered only by one certifying company or body, there may be similar certifications across several certifying organizations. Arts & Design Automotive Business & Finance Communications Construction & Engineering Education Emergency & Medical Services Fitness & Beauty Home Services Hospitality & Leisure Legal Outdoors & Environment Personal & Pet Production & Maker Real Estate Public Safety Tech Transportation Arts & Design Adobe Illustrator Adobe InDesign Adobe Photoshop Avid Certified Media Composer Avid Certified Mixer Board Certified Art Therapist Certified Applied Poetry Facilitator Certified Eating Disorders Creative Arts TherapistDigital Arts Certificate Digital Video Editor Marketing Design CertificateMultimedia Arts Certificate Music Therapist Registered Drama Therapist Automotive Automobile Technician Automotive Parts Specialist Certified Auto Glass Master Certified Master Dealer Diagnostician Electric Vehicle Technician Light Vehicle Diesel Engines Master Collision Repair & Refinishing Technician Rebuilder Specialist School Bus Technician Undercar Specialist: Exhaust Systems Vehicle Maintenance Management and Inspection Business & Finance Accredited Tax Preparer Associate in Personal Insurance Associate in Risk Management Bookkeepers Certification Certified Accounts Payable AssociateCertified Advertising Specialist Certified Associate in Project Management Certified Brand Manager Certified Business Intelligence Professional Certified Collegiate Retailer Certified Employee Retention Specialist Certified Event Rental Professional Certified Facility Manager Certified Financial Planner Certified Financial Risk ManagerCertified Insurance Service RepresentativesCertified International Tax Analyst Certified Investment Management AnalystCertified Manager Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor Certified Payroll Professional Certified Pension Consultant Certified Public Accountant Certified Relocation Professional Certified Risk Management ProfessionalCertified Sales Professional Chartered Financial Analyst Master Financial Planner Microsoft Excel Microsoft Outlook Microsoft PowerPoint Professional in Human ResourcesTen Key Communications & Marketing Advanced Google Analytics Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Certified Digital Radio Broadcast SpecialistCertified Level Sign Language Certified Medical Interpreter Certified Translator Google Adwords Hubspot Content MarketingNational Interpreter Certification Registered Broadcast Captioner Registered Professional Reporter Sirius Decisions Construction & Engineering Certified Composting Program Manager Certified Construction Manager Certified Design Drafter Certified Pump Installer Certified Recycling Systems ManagerCertified Well DrillerConstruction Site Safety Technician Enterprise Architect Fellow Highway Design Hydrologic Technician Master Certified Green Professional Mechanical Certified Drafter Mechatronics Certification Test Petroleum Engineering Certification Pipeline Construction Inspector Product Safety Design Engineer Education Certified Career Counselor Certified Master Resume Writer Certified Personal and Family Finance Educator Certified Professional in Learning and Performance Grant Professionals Certification Microsoft Certified Educator Nationally Certified School Psychologist School Nutrition Specialist Teaching English as a Foreign LanguageTechnology Literacy for Educators Emergency & Medical Accredited Traffic Accident Reconstructionist Board Certification in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Biomedical Electronics Technician Certification in Allergy & Immunology Certification in Anesthesiology Certification in Long Term Care Certified Dental Technician Certified Eating Disorders Registered NurseCertified Emergency Disaster Professional Certified Flight Registered Nurse Certified Genetics Counselor Certified Healthcare Billing and Management Certified Healthcare Emergency Professional Certified Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant Certified Medical Office Manager Certified Pharmacy Technician Chemotherapy Certification Correctional Behavioral Health Certification Cytotechnologist Dental Assistant Direct Support Professional EKG Technician Emergency Fire Dispatcher Emergency Medical Dispatcher Emergency Police Dispatcher GerontologyHome Care Certification Medical Assistant Medication Aide Certification MRI Technologist Nationally Certified Medical Assistant National Reflexology Certification Neonatal Intensive Care NursingOccupational Therapy Assistant Orthotic Fitter CertificationPediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist Phlebotomy Technician Phlebotomist Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Registered Sleep Technologist Certification Sartech (National Association for Search and Rescue) Sexual Assault Nurse ExaminerSterile Products (IV) Certification Technologist in Blood Banking Fitness & Beauty Aquatic Fitness Instructor Certification Certified Aesthetic Laser Operator Certified Athletic Trainer Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer Certified Personal Trainer Fitness Nutrition Specialty Certification Group Exercise Instructor Holistic Nutritionist Certification Indoor Group Cycling Certificate Kettlebell Specialty Certification MMA Conditioning Specialist Pilates Certified Teacher Registered Dance/Movement Therapist Sports Injury Specialist Water Ski Instructor/Coach Weight Management Specialist Certification Home Services Air Conditioning Installation Technician Carbon Monoxide Safety Certification Certified Carpet Master Installer Certified Flooring Installation Manager Certified Interior Designer Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler Certified Master Locksmith Certified Mold Professional Certified Satellite Installer Certified Ventilation System Inspector Certified Vinyl Installer Electrical Certification Fiber Optics Technician Gas Heat Certification Grouting and Reinforced Masonry Certification HVAC Efficiency Analyst Registered Piano Technician STAR HVAC Mastery Universal Design Certified Remodeler Wireless Systems Installer Technician Hospitality & Leisure Accredited Cruise Manager Certified Cruise Counsellor Certified Hotel Concierge Certified in Exhibition Management Certified Pool/Spa Operator Certified Restaurant Server Certified SPA Supervisor Certified Special Events Professional Certified Tour Guide Gaming and Vending Technician ServSafe Alcohol Travel Agent Executive Legal Certified Paralegal Board Certification in Criminal Trial LawBoard Certification in Family Law Trial Law Certified Legal Video Specialist Estate Planning Law Specialist Professional Legal Secretary Outdoors & Environment Board Certified Entomologist Certified Agricultural Irrigation Specialist Certified Caddie Certified Casting Instructor Certified Consulting Meteorologist Certified Crop AdviserCertified Environmental Drycleaner Certified Forester Certified Green Purchasing Professional Certified Grounds Technician Certified Irrigation ContractorCertified Master ArboristCertified Park and Recreation Professional Certified Renewable Energy Professional Energy Efficiency Management Certificate Program Erosion and Sediment Control Seasonal Equestrian Staff Certification Stable ManagerTrail Guide Instructor Personal & Pet Board Certified Autism Technician Board Certified in Animal Food Science Board Certified in Animal Genetics Certification in Cognitive Therapy Certified Addiction Specialist Certified Childcare Professional Certified Corrections Officer Certified Group Psychotherapist Certified Farrier Certified Funeral Service Practitioner Certified Labor DoulaCertified Lactation Counselor Certified Manager of Animal Resources Certified New Parent EducatorCertified Postpartum Doula Certified Professional Dog Trainer Certified Professional Pet Sitter Certified Sex TherapistChild Development Associate International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator National Certified Master Groomer Residential Child and Youth Care Professional Production & Maker CNC Milling Certification Concrete Construction Special Inspector Certified Baker Certified Decorator Certified Floral Designer Certified Food Safety ProfessionalCertified Garment Care Professional Certified Gemologist Certified in Production and Inventory Management Certified Metalworking Fluids Specialist Certified Personal Chef Certified Therapeutic Shoe Fitter Certified Watchmaker of the 21st Century Certified Welder Concrete Sawing & Drilling Operator CertificationMachiningMaster Alteration Specialist Precision Sheet Metal Operator Certification Protective Coatings Specialist Registered Jeweler Screw Machining Soldered Electrical & Electronic Assemblies Real Estate Accredited Buyer’s Representative Accredited Staging PartnerCertified New Home Sales Professional Certified Property ManagerCertified Real Estate Brokerage ManagerCertified Residential UnderwriterHousing Development Finance Professional Master in Residential MarketingMilitary Relocation Professional Mortgage Loan Officer National Apartment Leasing Professional Realtor Residential Accredited AppraiserResidential Certified Mortgage Servicer Safety Certified Fire Plan Examiner Certified Fraud Examiner Certified Information Privacy ProfessionalCertified Playground Safety Inspector Certified Portable Fire Extinguisher Technician Certified Safety Technician Certified Safety InstructorCertified Hazardous Materials Technician Certified Hazardous Materials Supervisor Certified Homeland Protection Associate Certified Stormwater Manager Infection Control Certification Criminal Intelligence Certified Analyst Fire Inspector Fire Plans Examiner Lifeguard Certification Private InvestigatorTenprint Fingerprint Certification Tech Adobe Analytics Business Practitioner Adobe Audience Manager Architect Agile Certified Product Manager Amazon Web Services DeveloperApple Certified iOS Technician AutoCAD Civil 3D Certified Professional Certified Biometrics Professional Certified Encryption Specialist Certified Ethical HackerCertified Product Manager Certified ScrumMasterCertified Telecom Professional Cisco Certified Architect Cloud Architect CompTIA Cloud+CompTIA Security+Developing SQL Data Models Digital Game Artist CertificateGIAC Advanced Smartphone Forensics Google Analytics IQ Certification IBM Certified Developer IBM Certified Solution Advisor Internet of Things Foundation Certification Junior Telecommunications Engineer Kanban Management Professional 1Linux Server Professional Certification Microsoft Networking FundamentalsOracle Cloud Specialist Oracle Database 12c EssentialsProgramming in C# Certification Red Hat Certified Architect Software Engineering Master Certification Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert Symantec Certified Specialist Video Game Design and DevelopmentWebYoda Associate WebmasterWeb Application Developer Wireshark Certified Network Analyst Transportation Aerospace/Aircraft Assembly Maintenance CertificationAircraft Dispatcher Airport Certified Security Employee Air Traffic Control Tower Operator Bicycle Technician Certified Cargo Security Professional Certified in Special Needs Transportation Certified Supply Chain Professional Certified Tour Professional Certified Travel Counselor Coastal Navigation Certificate Commercial Driver License Commercial Pilot Counter Balance Sitdown Rider Forklift Operator Safety Training Flight Engineer National Able Seaman National Radio Officer Overhead Crane Overhead Crane Operator Radio Communication Systems School Bus Endorsement Traffic Control Design Specialist Traffic Signal Technician Transportation Worker Identification Credential We intend this to be an evolving list of in-demand career certifications in the United States. Please email [email protected] for additional certification recommendations or other comments.
Many people view summer as the time to take a break from school, work, and daily routines. It’s the time where you can forget your responsibilities for a season and focus on the sun and sand. However, summer isn't always just fun and games. If you feel stuck with your job or want to get ahead in school, summer is the perfect time to do so. Whether you are a college student, entry level worker, mid-career professional, or an established expert, anyone can benefit from receiving a career certification during the summer months. We have asked experts from various backgrounds and industries why summer is the perfect time to pursue a career certification. From flexible class schedules and lower demand to increased employment security and testimonials, check out what the professionals have to say. Flexible class schedules Most career certification institutions have classes year-round with start dates happening every few weeks. If you've already done your research and know what certification you want to pursue, chances are that classes can start immediately. Since most classes are available online, you can work during the day and start classes at night. Caitlin Proctor, a resume writer and career expert at Zipjob, shares why summer is an excellent time to pursue a career certification: “Certifications are an excellent way for job seekers to learn new skills. The summer is a great opportunity for people in many professions to gain new skills and certifications due to the long days and perhaps more relaxed company policies. Summer certifications can take a matter of hours or several weeks, but can be a powerful motivation to combat otherwise lazy summer days. Find something you're excited to learn about — there's probably a class you can take to learn more! The timing is good, too, because you can finish your certifications before year-end performance reviews.” Whether you want to work full-time throughout the summer or dedicate all your time to studying, career certifications offer a flexibility that is suitable for almost anyone. Lower demand The lower demand for formal education and career certifications during summer months creates unique benefits. First, the lower number of students during the off season can lead to better deals from institutions looking to increase class sizes. Another benefit to lower demand and class sizes is the increased ability to network with teachers and fellow students. Roger Maftean, a career expert at Resumelab, describes how smaller class sizes can lead to more valuable connections: "You need to weigh your pros and cons here. Breaking into the job market from the entry-level position is a challenge for most graduates, and landing a job that you actually want will require you to put your best foot forward. So it's either sunshine and that long-awaited Europe trip or a chance to get upskilled and rise above the crowd when the time comes. There's a wide choice of summer certifications. While these might be less occupied, [students] get more undivided attention from the patrons and make it easier to initiate valuable connections." Those connections may prove to be valuable in a job market that is more competitive than ever. Rather than viewing your peers as competition, see them as friends that can put in a good word for you at any future company they work for. Employee referrals have the highest hiring conversion rate. Only 7 percent of applicants are referred by employees, yet 40 percent of all hires are a result of an employee referral. Whether you take an online certification course or an in-person class, take advantage of the resources that are available to you and make connections. Learn new skills that recruiters look for Not only are summer career certifications a great option for students, but for working professionals as well. A certification can boost marketable skills in a niche area for college students and mid-career professionals looking to make a transition. Sharvin Maisuria, Professional Faculty and Head of Career Development at MacCormac College explains the unique value certifications can provide for job seekers and professionals: “Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for both hard and soft skills when hiring. The hard skills they are looking for are technical skills of that specific job: Will they actually be able to do/complete the functions that their job requires? The soft skills are interpersonal skills, communication, the ability to work within a team, etc. Essentially, will the individual be able to fit within the culture of the company as a whole? A career certificate can help develop hard skills that recruiters are looking for because they are teaching to the specific skills needed for a particular job, almost similar to an apprenticeship.” Due to the increased usage of applicant tracking systems, candidates are constantly searching for new ways to bypass the automated systems. Throwing in cliche keywords and buzzwords will not set your resume apart. Career certifications are an excellent way to show, not tell employers about marketable skills that you possess. Show your dedication for personal improvement A career certification shows that you are willing to invest in yourself and sacrifice time and fun now, in order to become a greater asset to a company in the future. While everyone else is away for the summer partying, you’re studying and growing yourself professionally. Maciej Duszynski, a resume expert and career advice writer at Zety, wonderfully addresses how employers view candidates who have a career certification: “In today’s competitive job market, it might be everything but easy to rise above the noise. But if you leverage the summertime to secure a recognized benchmark mapped to a specific skill, you’ll enjoy a plethora of career benefits. One of the major benefits of having a career certification under your belt is that it shows employers both your dedication and your willingness to spend every ounce of your energy to grow professionally and thus bring more value to the company. As a result, a career certification launches your hireability chances into the stratosphere. Other benefits include better odds of job retention and improved career progression with an organization.” Most people are probably familiar with the famous Stanford marshmallow experiment. Children who refrained from eating a marshmallow for an extended period of time in order to receive an additional marshmallow were found to have better life outcomes in the future. Although pursuing a career certification in the summer is not exactly the marshmallow experiment, the two share some surprising similarities in the eyes of an employer. Your dedication and ability to invest in yourself will speak volumes about your professionalism and can be the deciding factor between you and another applicant. Boost employment security after college With the rise of the internet and new information technologies, change is constant. There is no guarantee that what works today will work tomorrow. Skills and practices can quickly become obsolete due to new and better processes. Career certifications are a great way to develop current skills that are in high demand. Laura Handrick, a careers and workplace analyst at FitSmallBusiness.com, shares that certifications can boost the desirability of college students: “Summer is the perfect time for students to further their education or pursue certifications that will pay off later on in their careers. There are a multitude of low-cost educational websites that offer online courses year-round. No matter what industry a student aspires to work in, it’s critical that he or she sets themselves apart. In some industries, certifications almost guarantee employment right out of college.” For most colleges and universities, prime job and internship recruiting occurs in the fall. Top companies in every industry know they need to act fast to secure the best talent for summer internships. The issue with fall recruiting however, is the difficulty that unprepared candidates face to improve their desirability in the short time period that companies are accepting applications. Students can prepare for recruiting season by obtaining a career certification in the summer to increase their job offer rates in the fall. Decide what career to pursue before investing a lot of money in college One final benefit to pursuing a career certification in the summer is that it can help solidify a student’s decision about what to study. Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that 30 percent of college students change their major at least once. These changes in major can be costly and may be one factor that explains why 60 percent of students take longer than four years to graduate college. Jeff Rose, a certified financial planner and founder of Good Financial Cents, states how a certification can help students make decisions about what major to pursue: “First, if this is the career that the student, in fact, decides to pursue after graduation, then beginning the work on the certification will give them more knowledge and experience before they have joined the workforce. This could prove helpful during the interview process, giving them an edge on other applicants. [Career certifications] could also help the student realize this isn't a career they want to pursue and prevent them from more schooling or getting a job in a field that leaves them feeling unfulfilled.” It is not uncommon for students to be so focused on completing school, that when they finally do finish, they realize how much they dislike their job. A small time and money investment in a career certification can go a long way to prevent future regret. Testimonial It is easy to read about the benefits of a career certification. But does it actually work? Beck Beach, a user experience designer and blogger who has been featured in Forbes and Business Insider, describes her experience pursuing a career certification: “During the summer, I got certified in UX from a university in a nearby city. The benefits of being certified are that I stand out from the competition, sharpened my skills, and have new network connections. It took me six months to get my certification in UX and now have no trouble finding work. I met several people in the certification program that I was able to add to my network. It was an in-person certification so that made it easier. I have taken other certifications in the past that were online, and I was still able to get people added to my LinkedIn network. I currently have over 8,000 people in my network. The reason it is easier for me to find work is because I am certified in UX design. Most people in UX design do not have any kind of certification. Having a certification helps me stand out from the crowd. Every day, I get 10 or more recruiters calling me and several emails. The summer is a great time to get certified because there were fewer students in the class and the hours were more flexible. I had university professors who were off for the summer teaching me valuable UX design skills. It was a wonderful experience that enhanced my professional career!” Give it a shot Career certifications are a great summer option due to the flexible schedules, lower demand, new skill development, testament of personal dedication, increased job security, and aid in cementing college decisions. Do your research on companies and available offerings in areas that interest you. Some institutions offer a money-back commitment. If you try the course out for a few days and decide it is not for you, you can receive a refund. Andy Cooke, Head of Online at Good e-Learning states: "The idea behind training is to not only gain a qualification but also come away with actionable knowledge. Students should always take the time to make sure a course is both accredited and well-received before making a purchase. Think of your summer training as a calculated investment, and you won’t be disappointed with the results." If you are debating whether to pursue a career certification, give it a shot. You don’t have to cancel your summer plans, but rather, have something to do during your free hours. If you are in college, the certification will only make you more desirable. If you are a working professional, a certification will give you more marketable skills that will impress your employer. At the end of the summer, you can scroll through your Hawaii photos while sitting in your new office after the big promotion.