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Top 2-Year Certificate Programs That Pay Well in 2023

For many, college is not an option. While that’s a decision that might be out of your hands, you can still build a promising career without a college degree. A certification program is a leading alternative to conventional degrees, thanks to quick run times and flexibility.

Further, colleges often offer these programs to provide training and skill acquisition in specific fields. Whether you’re a college graduate or not, you can find one designed to fit your needs. Even those with a high school diploma or GED can use these programs to land an entry-level position.

If you’re ready to start your life, career, or business, read this article about the best 2-year certificate programs.

Why Are 2-Year Certificate Programs Attractive?

You’d want to try out a 2-year certificate-awarding program for several reasons. Here are some of them:

  • Generally, certificate programs are cheaper than earning degrees through college. For example, you might spend $100 per credit or $1,200 for a 12-credit course to earn a certificate. Compare that to earning a college degree while spending tens of thousands of dollars in three to four years.
  • Employers often use certificate programs to obtain direct business value from their employees. They get to influence the skills employees pick up, and how such skills contribute to the growth of their business.
  • 2-year certifications are a great way to set your career rolling and on the correct path. If you feel lost or stagnated in your chosen career path, gaining more knowledge can help you scale up or transition to better opportunities with your new-found skills.
  • These certification programs help you build your resume. When you’re resume stands out, employers know that you’re job-ready.
  • A raise at work is all the more possible with a 2-year certification program giving you the edge over your colleagues. Depending on the program and its relevance to your profession, you can get a raise or a promotion after completing the course.

Top 2-Year Certificate Programs in 2023

Pharmacy technicians working

1. Pharmacy Technician

You can enroll in a certificate program to become a pharmacy technician. It is a two-year program, but depending on the state, it’s not uncommon for students to run it in some months.

Pharmacy technicians are vital in mixing, measuring, counting, and labeling medication dosages. Also, you might be charged with communication with insurance companies to help patients navigate insurance.

Pharmacy technicians reportedly earn a median salary of $35,100. If interested in this career line, you can check for classes around your community college or vocational schools.

Massage therapy

2. Massage Therapist

Earning a certificate in massage therapy takes two years to complete, and with the median salary set at $43,620, it’s no wonder that many students are turning to it.

Massage therapists help patients by massaging their bodies with a focus on their muscles to alleviate pain, relieve stress, and boost healing.

Suppose you already have an associate or higher degree from an accredited college or university. In that case, you are eligible for a three-semester (one-year) post-degree certificate program in massage therapy. Otherwise, the main programs run for two years.

Architectural engineers

3. Architectural and Civil Drafter

Architectural and Civil Drafters certification programs are mostly run for two years. Architectural and civil drafters are part of the team raising complex buildings, such as skyscrapers and offices.

After earning this certification, you can work with Architects that formulate drawings about the specifics of their projects. You’ll also learn how to use sketches and calculations created by engineering technicians and scientists.

Depending on your core interests, the program helps you better concentrate on specific materials used for some buildings, including steel, timber, or concrete. If you are more of a civil Drafter, there’s more focus on constructing pipelines, highways, sewer and water systems, bridges, etc.

Medical secretary

4. Medical Secretary

While the timeline for this certificate program varies, the maximum is two years, especially for a more experienced level. Medical secretaries manage a doctor’s office and have other duties, such as organizing meetings with patients and scheduling appointments. They ensure the office is organized and well-run.

While a certificate in this career isn’t necessary, the market is generally competitive, meaning such a program gives you an edge. You’ll learn everything about managing a medical office.

Wind turbine technician

5. Wind Turbine Technician

It takes two years to complete this certificate program, and experts generally earn a median salary of around $56,230. Wind turbine technicians work in wind turbines, replacing parts and fixing damaged areas.

With the risks involved, it’s essential to be sharp on the job, mainly because wind turbines run on electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic parts. You can find this program nationwide with only a handful of states that don’t offer them.

Male Plumber's Hand Repairing Sink Pipe
Male Plumber’s Hand Repairing Sink Pipe Leakage With Adjustable Wrench

6. Plumbing Certificate

After getting your high school diploma or a GED, attending a plumbing trade school is a solid option and takes around two years to complete. It’s a service the society needs and often goes beyond a few bust pipes to building plans and other parts that involve water.

You’ll ultimately need a license, especially to become a Master Plumber. However, self-employment opportunities in this field are widespread. Generally, you can expect a median pay above $50,000 per year.

Aircraft mechanic

7. Aircraft Mechanic

To become an aircraft mechanic, you must attend an FAA-accredited certification program where you will learn how to maintain aircraft-related equipment. The programs focus on engine repair, hydraulic systems, power supplies, testing equipment, brakes, landing gears, etc.

Several essential spaces need the expertise of an aircraft mechanic, including repair shops and airport hangers. Generally, the job is physically demanding and comes with risks, including loud noises and operating at high heights.

Apprenticeship after the certificate program is almost always necessary. According to the BLS, aircraft mechanics can expect an average annual salary of about $60,000.


A two-year certificate program in any discipline discussed here gives you a career-boosting experience. Employers want you to add value to their business or organization.

With these certifications, you’ll have access to quality learning modules that go beyond the basics or background of the program. Thankfully, two years isn’t such a long time, and you get to spend less to learn more.

Now that you know this, you can take advantage of the vast opportunities these certificate programs allow. Ensure you run appropriate checks, read reviews, and appreciate the benefits of the programs before enrolling.


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