These Summer Courses Can Help You Get a Better School-Year Job

You need a job over the summer — and maybe during the school year, as well — but you didn’t take two semesters of ceramics to be a Sandwich Artist… right? For young students just out of high school, it can be difficult to land a job that requires specialized skills, primarily due to lack of work experience. And for those who are in such a situation, the competition for low-paying, unskilled jobs can be pretty tough.

One way to set yourself apart, and boost your earning potential over summer break, is to spend a few hundred bucks on a relatively-short training course in something that interests you — and pays well. If you play your cards right, you’ll earn back what you spent pretty quickly with the increased earning potential you’ll get from your certification. Using a fairly generous baseline of $12/hour, which is about how much you can earn after several months experience in a fast-food restaurant in a larger market, we’ll look at a few things you can do to increase your earning capacity, and maybe even have some fun, while you pursue your college degree.

Be A Yoga Instructor

Yoga has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Its low-impact poses and routines make it accessible across a wide range of ages and body types; while the more difficult techniques offer enough of a challenge to make pro athletes quake in exhaustion. Moreover, the median salary for a certified yoga instructor is around $15.00 per hour — 50 percent more than our unskilled baseline salary, and twice the minimum wage in most states. In addition, you stay in shape, meet people and can even branch off on your own to earn more money.

One area that is showing particular growth — and is a great way to get started in the field — is yoga for kids. Kids yoga requires additional certification, but the more you specialize, the more you can earn. Plus, kids and parents will not be as results-driven about their yoga instruction, so it will be more relaxed and fun for everyone. Chicago-based Global Family Yoga (GFY) offers a 95-hour certification program that can be completed through a their workshops, or for those with yoga experience, a mentored, on-line format. Global Family Yoga offers workshops outside the Chicago area and is a good general resource for those interested in yoga for kids.

Be a Personal Trainer

A personal trainer helps others in areas such as nutrition, exercise, goal setting, diets, lifestyle and more. It takes time to learn and develop the necessary education and skills needed to become a certified personal trainer. The amount of time depends on the individual’s prior experience, knowledge, and method for becoming a personal trainer.

Fitness organizations, such as the International Sports Sciences Association, offer an online personal training program for those interested in becoming a personal trainer. The program can take from four to six weeks to complete. The time frame is an estimation based on the average time taken for past enrollees. Once you have completed the online exam, it can take a few business days to receive your grade.

Personal training isn’t only about lifting weights. It has a clear business side, too, and how much money your trainer makes can vary widely. In some cases, what your trainer earns may not even have much to do with what you’re actually paying her.

According to the Salary.com, the median U.S. salary for a personal trainer is more than $50,000. As with many professions, experienced personal trainers with advanced training or certification who work with athletes or special needs populations stand to make more than a novice just starting out.

Web Analytics/SEO Specialist

A quick perusal of online jobs discloses quite a few requests for people familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), web advertising and web analytics. by far, the most widely used of these platforms is Google Analytics, along with Google AdSense and Ad Words. And guess what: Google offers a free, online certification classes for each of these in-demand skills. Once you’ve completed the curriculum, you take the Google IQ test — which costs $50 — and, BAM: tangible evidence of Google Analytics certification.

Even if you have something else going on, like another part-time job, you can work around your schedule with the flexible, asynchronous schedule that Google’s online delivery offers. Checkout Google’s FAQ site for more information.


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