Want a new career? Train for these five jobs in as little as one year.

By Yahoo! Education Staff

It’s never too early to think about what you can do to make 2011 a better year than 2010.

Ready for a new career but can’t afford to spend four years in school?

We’ve got some good news for you.

There are quite a few certificate programs that provide the training you need to start a new career without spending three or four years in school.

Check out these five careers you can train for in as little as one year.

#1 – Medical Assistant
Training Time: About 1 year

If you’re looking to make a quick career change for 2011 consider a medical assistant certificate program. These programs can teach you everything you need to start an exciting medical assisting job, including anatomy, medical terminology, laboratory techniques, and office practices. Most programs can be completed in 1 year or less.

Job Growth: The U.S. Department of Labor expects employment of medical assistants to grow 34 percent from 2008 to 2018 – that’s three times faster than the average for all occupations.

Responsibilities: Doctors and patients alike depend on medical assistants to keep things running smoothly. In addition to maintaining patient records and scheduling appointments, you might record vital signs, explain treatment procedures to parents, and even assist physicians during examinations.

Salary: The average annual salary of medical assistants is $28,300, though the highest 10 percent earn more than $39,570.

#2 – Paralegal
Training Time: About 9 months

Want to transition to a new career and already have a bachelor’s degree? You can earn a paralegal certificate in as little as 9 months, depending on the number of classes you take at a time. Paralegal training programs may cover topics like interviewing witnesses, legal research, and criminal law.

Job Growth: Being a paralegal is a smart career choice for the long haul. According to the Department of labor, many employers are hiring more paralegals to perform tasks once done by lawyers. They project a 28 percent job growth for the 2008-2018 period.

Responsibilities: Paralegals are taking on a bigger behind-the-scenes role in law than ever before. Job duties often include investigating the facts of cases, identifying appropriate laws and judicial decisions, and preparing written reports for attorneys to use in determining how a case should be handled.

Salary: Salaries of paralegals can vary greatly, depending on education and experience as well as the size and location of your employer. Keeping that in mind, the average annual salary for paralegals is $46,120, with the top 10 percent earning more than $73,450.

#3 – Dental Assistant
Training Time: About 1 year

Want to start an in-demand medical career in 2011? Choose a one-year dental assistant certificate program. Programs generally include classroom, laboratory, and preclinical instruction in dental-assisting skills and theory.

Job Growth: The Department of Labor anticipates dental assistant job prospects will be excellent, but notes that some dentists prefer to hire assistants who have completed a dental-assisting program.

Responsibilities: As a dental assistant, you’ll be essential to keeping your dental office running smoothly. Your job duties could include sterilizing instruments, working alongside dentists during procedures, and applying topical anesthetics. You might also have office duties that include scheduling appointments and billing.

Salary: Dental assistants have an average annual salary of $32,380. The highest 10 percent earned more than $46,150. Eighty-six percent of dental assistants reported receiving paid vacation, and more than half received health benefits, according to a 2008 survey conducted by the Dental Assisting National Board.

#4 – Administrative Assistant
Training Time: A few months to one year

An office administration certificate program generally covers word processing and office software, workplace communication, and office management skills. While program lengths vary, some schools offer office administration certificate programs that can be completed in a few months to 1 year.

Job Growth: As business continues to grow, so will opportunities for administrative assistants. According to the Department of Labor, secretaries and administrative assistants are expected to experience a large number of job openings.

Responsibilities: As an administrative assistant, you’ll be an information and communication manager for your office, planning and scheduling meetings and appointments; organizing paper and electronic files; managing projects; conducting research; and handling travel and guest arrangements.

Salary: Administrative assistants have an average annual salary of $29,050. The highest 10 percent earn more than $43,240. Executive administrative assistants have an average salary of $40,030, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $62,070.

#5 – Pharmacy Technician
Training Time: About 6 months

A pharmacy technician certificate program can prepare you for this in-demand job in as little as 6 months. While program length and content may vary by school, most cover medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations and techniques, and pharmacy law and ethics.

Job Growth: With the growing number of middle-aged and elderly people – who use more prescription drugs than younger people – the pharmacy technician field will see significant growth. In fact, the Department of Labor expects job growth to increase by 25 percent over the 2008-2018 timeframe.

Responsibilities: As a pharmacy technician, your duties will include receiving prescription requests, counting tablets, labeling bottles, and sometimes measuring and mixing medications for the pharmacist to check before they are given to the patient. This is an important, precise job – details are sometimes a matter of life and death.

Salary: Pharmacy technicians earn an average hourly wage of $13.32, though the highest 10 percent averaged at more than $18.98 in May 2008. Certified technicians may earn more than non-certified technicians.


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