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happy certifications

It may surprise you to know that 52.3 percent of Americans are unhappy with their current jobs, or so that’s what the 2014 Job Satisfaction study conducted by the Conference Board revealed, equating to more than 80 million American workers. If you’re one of the millions feeling stuck in a job, the good news is you can make a change without altering your entire life. There are many more rewarding, better paying jobs out there that do not require an expensive four year degree and can be easily obtained through certifications.

Court Reporter

In 2012, the average annual salary for a court reporter in the U.S. was $49,000. The process for obtaining a court reporter certification varies from state to state, but all states require completion of a certification test. Courses in stenography are recommended to prepare you for the certification test but are not required. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics asserts that the field of court reporting is still a growing industry, and certification in this area is can lead to a career in judicial court reporting, or even in the television industry, where court reporters are tasked with creating closed captions.

Specialty Trade Contractor

Specialty trade contractors are usually stationed at construction sites, though many contractors work out of their own prefabrication shops. In addition to completing prefab work, a contractor’s duties include site planning and preparation for construction projects. The requirements for a contractor’s license depends on the state in which you plan to work, but the majority applicants have to pass a written construction law examination, which requires applicants to demonstrate knowledge of skills specific to their trade, as well as their knowledge of business organization. Applicants are often asked for proof of their ability to financially sustain a contracting business, as well as proof of on-site job experience. Forklift certification and experience with heavy construction equipment operation can increase chances of making the grade. Depending on the specialty, contractors can make between $35,000-$60,000 annually.

Massage Therapist

If you enjoy working with people, and providing healing through working with your hands, massage therapy is the occupation for you. As a massage therapist you would use the power of touch to relieve pain and stress, manipulate tissue and help with injury rehabilitation. The profession is in demand, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 20 percent increase in the field by 2016. Certification in massage therapy requires some education and depends on individual state standards, but when you pass the test, you’re ready to roll. The mean salary of a massage therapist is around $35,000 a year.


The death care services industry is one of the most stable fields to venture into, naturally, because we all require those services at some point. Duties include preparing the deceased for burial through embalming and cremation, as well as dressing and applying makeup for the viewing of loved ones. For certain, this will require you to get your hands dirty and it is not an occupation for those of weak stomachs. To become a certified embalmer, there’s definitely a lot to learn and you must pass the state exam, which you can study for on your own or take a course that focuses on embalming exam preparation; courses are offered through many colleges and universities. The average salary of an embalmer in 2012 was $45,000 annually.

Don’t linger in a job that doesn’t make you happy. Be one of the 47.7 percent of Americans who are satisfied with their work. A better, more fulfilling career could be just one certification away.

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