Best 12 Cheap Short Career Certification Programs that Pay Well in Virginia (List Updated for 2024)

Best Certification Programs in Virginia

Yad Senapathy, PMP September 14, 2022

Best Certification Programs in Virginia that Pay Well

What if there was an easy way to make more money in your career in a short amount of time?

"Where do I sign up?" You'd ask. Right?

As a professional in Alexandria, you already have a unique career advantage living in such close proximity to the nation's capital. As the job market continues to rise in the metropolitan area, it's time to consider ways you can start earning more. In this article you will learn the 12 best certification programs that pay well in Virginia.

Best Certification Programs in Virginia

Whether you already have an established career and are just looking for a change or hobby, or you want to get into a lucrative line of work upon graduation, certificate programs are a great option. Every program differs in requirements, including the length of time to train, price, and testing.

Here are a few options for the best certificate programs that pay well in Virginia.

#1. Personal Trainer

Have a passion for fitness or overall health? A personal trainer certification program could be a great path to explore. Young professionals in Alexandria are always on the run, so having a personalized trainer (you) can help them stay on track.

Here are a few options for personal training certificate programs, with the most popular being: the National Academy of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Average time to complete: Six months.

Average course fee: Ranges from $489 for self-study to $1,399 for an all-inclusive program.

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $64,000.

#2. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Humans possess an intrinsic desire to help other humans out - especially in times of emergency. If that desire becomes a passion, you'd make a great EMT. To clarify: EMT training focuses on life support techniques in first-response scenarios, while paramedics deliver more advanced procedures requiring more extensive education.

You'll want to check out the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians to move forward with certification program.

Average time to complete: One to three years, depending on the course.

Average course fee: Range from $800 - $1,000.

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $45,000.

#3. Court Reporter

According to Neighborhood Scout, Alexandria is safer than 35 percent of other U.S. cities. That being said, the court system will always have a need for someone to record testimonies, depositions, legislative sessions, and more.

More exciting than your average data entry job, you'll still need quick typing skills using a stenographic machine and a keen eye for detail to succeed as a court reporter.

To obtain this certification, visit the National Court Reporters Association.

Average time to complete: Between 18 to 24 months.

Average course fee: The exam costs about $200 and membership in the association will run you about $260 per year.

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $61,000.

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#4. Tax Preparer

Taxes. Some people loathe the time of year when they have to file all of their earnings with the federal government. However, if you're interested in helping people take control of their finances and aren't afraid of crunching numbers, you might consider this certification program by taking an exam to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

For Alexandria professionals, the Virginia Board of Accountancy has more information on taking the CPA exam.

The career-boosting certification to obtain to become a CPA is through the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). There are continuing education requirements beyond this as well.

Average time to complete: A minimum of 150 college credits (including 30 hours of accounting and 25 hours of business coursework).

Average course fee: The exam costs about $200 and membership in the association will run you about $260 per year.

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $82,000.

#5. Massage Therapist

The word massage alone is enough to invoke relaxation. By using touch, a massage therapist manipulates another person's muscles and soft tissue to relieve pain, heal injuries and stress, and enhance the person's well-being. Acquiring a massage therapist certification might be a great career boost if you think you'd enjoy.

Check out this list of massage schools in Virginia to learn more information on how to obtain a certificate in this program.

Average time to complete: 500 hours and an exam.

Average course fee: Initial cost of a license is around $140.

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $45,000.

#6. Actuary

You might not have heard of an actuary before, but as you keep reading this section, you'll notice this is high on the list of certificate programs in Virginia that pay well. In short, an actuary works in conjunction with an insurance company to analyze statistics and make data-driven predictions on liability.

Exams, e-learning courses, and a proctored project assessment are all requirements of obtaining an Actuary certification through the Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA).

Average time to complete: Four to six years.

Average course fee: Varies per different exams and modules from $225 to $2,100. The full breakdown can be found here by the Society of Actuaries.

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $107,000.

Best Certificate Programs to Boost Your Career in Virginia

#7. Auto Mechanic

Everyone has been to an auto mechanic at some point in their life. From performing oil changes to inspecting, maintaining and repairing cars, this hands-on career path is something that will always be in demand.

There are plenty of specialty areas available (such as collision repair or engine machinists), which makes this certification flexible for many skill sets.

To complete this certificate program, you'll want to check out the National Institute for Automotive Service.

Average time to complete: Six months to two years.

Average course fee: According to the Imagine America Foundation, it's possible to complete an 18-week program for about $5,000. Otherwise, it'll cost you about $20,000 for traditional training.

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $42.000.

#8. Medical Transcriptionist

If you'd like to work in the medical field but don't have the time, money, or interest in the hands-on work of a doctor or nurse, you might consider a medical transcriptionist certification.

The basics of this role would be to create reports and administrative documents based off of doctors' recordings. Attention to detail is crucial as well as an understanding of medical terminology.

There are two types of credentials for medical transcriptionists: The Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) and the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS).

To complete this certificate program and learn more about the distinction between each certificate, you'll want to check out to the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity.

Average time to complete: Six months. Exam specifics: There are 130 items on the exam for RHDS certification; 120 for CHDS.

Average course fee: $280.

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $44,312.

#9. Translator/Interpreter

If you happen to speak more than one language fluently, this certificate program could be an easy way to boost your career. Thirty-two percent of people living in Alexandria speak a language other than English, so opportunities are abound. You could convert information from one language to another in a school, hospital, courtroom or business environment.

Certification for this career path is earned by passing a three hour exam through American Translators Association.

Average time to complete: About three hours to complete the exam.

Average course fee: $300 for the exam.

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $50,000.

#10. Information and Systems Security

Hackers are getting smarter and the need for tight security measures is in high demand. In fact, 2017 is cited as one of the worst years ever for data breaches and cyber attacks.

Obtaining an information security certification will prove to employers that you have the right expertise to keep their data safe. There are a number of levels and paths to take in this area. Details on all of this can be found on the International Info system Security Certification Consortium Inc (ISC)2. Website.

Average time to complete: You'll need two years of full-time experience to become a CISSP-ISSMP (Information Systems Security management Professional) through the (ISC)2 plus the exam.

Average course fee: The CISSP exam costs $699.

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $110,000.

#11. Human Resources Professional

What's the No. 1 thing that keeps a business thriving? Its employees (aka humans). A career in human resources (HR) will allow you to recruit, screen, and interview other professionals in Alexandria just like you. Other HR functions include things like: employee relations, payroll, and training - so you'd have your hands in a little of everything.

By earning a certification as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR), you'll be recognized as a credible leader in the industry. Obtain this certification through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP). Fun fact: SHRM is headquartered on Duke Street in Alexandria!

Average time to complete: Depending on your degree level, you'll have to demonstrate anywhere from three to six years in an HR role before becoming eligible for SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP credentials. The test itself is about four hours long.

Average course fee: $300 exam fee for SHRM members.

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $87,000.

#12. Project Management Professional

From the planning stages to the deliverance and follow-up, a project manager is essentially responsible for overseeing the success of a project. To be more efficient in this process, you might consider getting your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

To obtain this certification you'll want to check out the services for professionals in Alexandria from the Project Management Training Institute.

Average time to complete: PMTI offers a four day instructor-led boot camp.

Average Course fee: $1,890

Average annual salary in Alexandria: $110,000.

Boost Your Career With PMTI

Ninety-nine percent of PMTI's students pass the PMP exam - on of the many certificate programs in Virginia that pay well.

Our instructors have over 100 combined years of training and are skilled in recognizing your strengths and weaknesses for maximum.

What do you have to lose? Contact us to sign up and start earning more money today!

Article by

yad senapathy
Yad Senapathy, PMP

Yad is not just the leader of the Project Management Training Institute (PMTI). He helped to write significant portions of the project management standards worldwide. He is helping PMI right now in reviewing, directing, and leading the development of the 7th edition of the PMBOK® Guide to incorporate the most monumental changes to project management standards in 35 years. He shares his wisdom with readers via the PMTI blog.

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