Career Options That Require Less Than a Year of School

Career options that require less than a year of school are great for those looking to start a new career to increase their income or stay-at-home parents who are ready to jump back out into the workforce. 

The best part is the less time you spend in school the quicker you’re able to start your new career. For example, in Virginia, you can obtain your real estate license for $460 and only invest 60 hours of your time on coursework.

Here are some popular career options that require less than a year of school.

Read Also: The Benefits of Going Back to College as a Parent

Graphic Designer

While there are some well-paid freelance graphic designers, if you want to start a career as a graphic designer you’re going to want to receive formal training in addition to your self-taught skills. 

This could mean completing a three-month course at a traditional educational institution or signing up for some self-paced courses that you can do online to obtain certain certifications. 

Pricing will vary depending on which route you choose. 

This guide explains how to become a graphic designer

Indeed estimates that Virginia graphic designers start off at $18.01 per hour. 

Real Estate Agent

One of the cheapest and most flexible career options that require less than a year of school in Virginia is to become a real estate agent. 

You’ll have to do a 60-hour course that can be taken online whenever is convenient for you and then you’ll take your licensing exam. 

Depending on your other commitments you could complete this process within a month and start work in the field within 2 months of starting your journey. 

Keep in mind that real estate agents make most of their money from commissions so you do need to have great people skills and sales skills to turn this into a full-time income for you. 

Indeed estimates that after your first year you can expect to make about $80,000 per year. 

Dental Assistant

You can start an entry-level career as a dental assistant in as little as 11 weeks.  

You will have to invest about $6,000, but many programs will offer payment plans and other discounts. 

According to Indeed, in your first year you’ll start off at $16.28 per hour, but with more experience and further education, you can work your way up to $26.83 per hour. 

Your schedule won’t be as flexible as it would be as a real estate agent and you have a larger upfront investment, but many dental assistants go on to become dental hygienists or even dentists. 

Massage Therapist

To become a licensed massage therapist in Virginia you must first complete 500 hours at a massage school and pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). 

It shouldn’t take more than 8 months to complete schooling and depending on the school you decide to attend you’re looking at spending $5,000 – $15000. Typically financial aid and student loans will be available. 

Indeed estimates, that recently graduated students, can start off at $38.05 per hour. 

Consider these career options that require less than a year of school

If you want to jump back into the workforce in Virginia and need career options that require less than a year of school these options are a good starting point. 

They are great options for stay-at-home parents or those who just want to change career paths. 

Have you ever switched careers? If so, tell me how your experience went in the comments. 

Career Options That Require Less Than a Year of School


  1. Catalina says:

    These are awesome options. I think that the Dental Assistant career would be perfect for my friend. And she loves the idea!

  2. Lynndee says:

    I didn’t know it requires less than a year of school to be a graphic designer. Good to know!

  3. Christy says:

    I got my ITech associate degree in two years. But after completing my 4 year degree, I wish that I would have opted for one of these career options. Due to disabilities beyond my control, I’m stuck with student loans I can’t afford. 🙁

    You could also go for a skilled trade job. They are in high demand and you don’t even need a degree.

  4. Katie C says:

    I’ve definitely thought about a few of these. I’m most interested in the graphic design, but I have zero knowledge of it so feel like I’d have to start with a super, super beginner program!

  5. Briana says:

    Great jobs too!! Most realtors around me make a ton!

  6. Tami Creates says:

    Love this post! These are all great options. I’d love to be a graphic designer.

  7. Tara Pittman says:

    This is good to know. I was shocked at the dental one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.