26 Money-Making Skills You Can Learn in Less Than a Year

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Learning a new business skill is an excellent way to break into an industry, make yourself more attractive to employers or earn more money and responsibility in your current career.

But between work, family and life, the thought of spending years in a classroom can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t have to. It’s possible to learn many in-demand skills in less than a year — some in just a few weeks or months.

Potential earning increases for adding new skills to your resume are wide-ranging, but the more skill you can bring to the table for an employer, the better your advantage over other candidates, the higher your value in your industry and the more negotiating power you’ll have when discussing your wage or salary. Enrich your career and increase your paycheck with these money-making skills and certifications.

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Project Management

Project managers oversee various projects from start to finish. Project management skills are useful in many industries, including healthcare and information technology. Udemy’s Project Management Professional Certification Program takes about 45 hours to complete and costs $109.99.

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Search Engine Marketing and Optimization

Becoming proficient in search engine optimization and search engine marketing helps you excel as a marketing professional and opens the door to opportunities in digital marketing and website development. With SEO knowledge, you can develop successful internet marketing campaigns and provide multiple industries with website content. The SEO course and certification from ClickMinded is $997 and three to six hours long.

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Video Editing and Production

Learning video editing and production can open the door to opportunities with marketing and promotional companies, or help you land entry-level work in television and video editing. Training costs and program lengths vary. For example, the New York Film Academy offers 15-week digital workshops with tuition starting at $2,000.

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App Developing and Programming

Learning how to develop apps enables you to create your own web applications from scratch. You can work as an independent contractor developing apps for companies or get a job as an app developer. You can find several free and low-cost online training opportunities — edX offers a variety of app development courses that last about six weeks. Courses are free, but you’ll have to pay to become certified.

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Translators work in private and public schools, courthouses, hospitals and conference centers. Becoming a translator might be a great opportunity if you already speak and write in another language. The University of Arizona offers an online Spanish/English Translation Certification program made up of 3 courses and lasts 16 weeks. This program costs $2,475, but there are many online courses and programs available for a variety of price ranges.

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Data Analysis

Several industries use data analytics — including travel, energy, finance, education and health — to identify patterns and trends they can leverage for growing their businesses. Online learning center General Assembly offers an accelerated one-week course and a 10-week, part-time Data Analytics course for $4,500. Upon completing the course, you might be eligible to receive credit toward an online graduate program.

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Cloud Computing

Cloud computing technology is an excellent skill to learn because it’s one of the fastest-growing businesses in the IT industry. Cloud Academy provides a wealth of ongoing training to help you learn cloud computing and prepare for Amazon Web Services certification, starting at $39 a month. The course has no end date, and you can learn as little or as much as you like.

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Computer Programming

You don’t need a four-year computer science degree to learn basic computer programming and get entry-level jobs in information technology or roles related to website or software development and database management. Complete the Penn Foster Career School’s online Computer Programming Languages Certificate program in nine months and learn programming skills as well as JavaScript, Microsoft Visual Basic and Access. The program costs between $499 and $589.

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Leadership, Mentorship and Employee Engagement

Developing strong leadership skills can help you guide a team. These skills are valuable if you are working toward becoming a manager, supervisor or director. eCornell offers a four-month Executive Leadership Cornell Certificate Program for people in executive roles that costs $4,999.

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Network Systems Administration

Network systems administration training teaches you how to install, configure and troubleshoot problems within an organization’s computer network. DeVry University offers an online undergraduate certificate in networking essentials that consists of 8 courses that take a minimum of 23 credit hours to complete. Cost per credit hour starts at $514 for new students.

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Basic and Professional Writing

Whether you’re working in healthcare, administration or business, excellent writing skills are essential for drafting emails and memos. Online writing courses help you hone these skills at little to no cost. Udemy’s Business Writing & Technical Writing Immersion course, for example, is offered to help you improve your writing skills in just a few minutes per day and costs only $89.99.

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A basic bookkeeping course teaches you how to manage a company’s financial accounts. Bookkeepers are employed in all types of industries, including healthcare, government, private businesses and retail. Penn Foster’s online bookkeeping courses take about five months, and tuition starts at $749.

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Foreign Language

Learning a second language can not only help you establish relationships with clients who don’t speak English, but also can make you a viable candidate for jobs that require international travel — from sales and business development to training and leading others on tours. You can also use this skill for call center jobs, telephone or online sales jobs and customer service jobs with employers who need bilingual employees. Check out foreign language or American Sign Language classes at a community college or online. The University of Wisconsin-Madison, for example, offers an online, four-month Business Spanish Certificate Program starting at $649.

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With photography, you can explore your creative side and find opportunities in photojournalism or studio or commercial photography. Becoming a photographer doesn’t necessarily require a degree. You can complete online classes with the New York Institute of Photography, for example, within six to 12 months, and tuition ranges from $699 to $899.

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3D, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Programming Skills

Consider a virtual reality certificate program if you want to learn basic VR programming and develop VR applications. Learning how to write VR programs opens the door to entry-level positions with software design companies. University of California San Diego offers a professional certificate in Virtual Reality (VR) App Development that includes three courses over five months for $267.30.

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Personal Trainer Certification

Becoming a certified personal trainer qualifies you to work in fitness gyms and wellness centers to help beginner and advanced fitness enthusiasts transform their bodies. You can become certified in as few as 15 weeks at the National Academy of Sports Medicine, where the cost ranges from $649 to $1,484.

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Online Marketing

Companies with websites often need people knowledgeable in online marketing to increase traffic to their sites. Learning online marketing skills can help you snag a digital marketing job. Online marketing skills are also beneficial when launching your own business. Udemy has a 30-day Online Marketing Crash Course for $19.99 that covers basic online marketing strategy, social media, blogging and more. Other online education options include eCornell, which offers a two-month, $3,699 Digital Marketing Certificate Program.

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Information Security

Information security training paves the way for a career in cybersecurity. Work with government agencies, retailers and other businesses to protect sensitive information from hackers. Boston University, for example, offers an online Information Security Graduate Certificate program, which students can complete in eight months. Tuition is about $15,160, and scholarship opportunities are available.

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Financial Planning and Advising

Certified financial planning certification is an asset if you work in banking, insurance, investing or another financial field. You must have a bachelor’s degree or higher to complete a CFP Board-Registered Program and take the CFP exam. Program schedules vary, but you can usually complete training in less than a year. For example, you can finish the CFP Certification program at Barry University in South Florida in about 10 months — it costs $6,150 for seven courses.

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Graphic Design

Graphic design training lets you express your creativity and convey messages visually. Put your skills to good use as a freelancer or work for a web design company, internet marketing company, publisher or interior design company. Udemy offers a Graphic Design Bootcamp that only requires 16 hours to complete with a certificate, and the price starts at $129.99.

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Productivity and Time Management

Learning time management skills helps you become a more efficient worker, which employers consider a strong point. When you know how to balance priorities your overall productivity improves. Learning Tree International offers a two-day, online Time Management Training course for $1,950.

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Tax Preparation

Completing a basic tax preparation class is one way to make extra money during tax season. The course can also help you gain valuable tax experience if you’re working toward becoming an accountant, certified public accountant or financial planner. The Income Tax School offers 10-week, online tax preparation courses starting at $497.

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An entrepreneurship certificate is worth the investment if you’re looking to start your own business. You’ll learn skills for successfully managing a business, handling company funds, creating a business plan and marketing a business. St. Petersburg College, for example, offers an online Business Entrepreneur Certificate program that includes 12 credit hours that can be completed in a year or less. Tuition per credit hour ranges from $111.75 to $386.90.



A notary public witnesses and records the signing of important papers like mortgage closing documents and legal affidavits. In addition to notary public service providers — like shipping service retail stores — real estate companies, banks and law firms also employ or use notaries. A notary public course takes about three to six hours to complete, and you’ll have to pass a notary exam approved by your state. In Florida, the cost of a three-hour online training is $59. Some employers cover or reimburse this cost.

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Learning how to handle a bar can help you earn extra money working at a bar, restaurant or private party. Different states will have different requirements for bartenders, but you can find a wide variety of resources for your state online. Online mixology and bartending courses are offered for every skill level, entry to advanced, and can range from free to $400. Typsy, an online platform for hospitality courses and training, offers a number of bartending courses to individual subscribers for free.



If you’re interested in legal work but don’t want to attend law school, consider a career as a paralegal and work alongside lawyers. At Blackstone Career Institute, for example, you can complete paralegal studies in as few as eight to 12 months. Tuition ranges from $1,214 to $1,442.

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Ashleigh Ray, Joel Anderson and Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.