As an employee-rights lawyer representing workers across Florida and Georgia, I am sometimes asked a question that goes like this: “You’ve represented thousands of employees. What jobs have you seen that pay great, don’t take forever to prepare for, and that people really love doing?”
Not asking much, is it?
Believe it or not, there are four careers I’ve noticed that meet these criteria. So for everyone who’s looking for a fairly quick entree into a high-paying job – or has friends or family who are – here’s my “secret” list:
- Barber. A successful barber in a high-volume shop can make $75,000 to $100,000 or more. Barbering is fast-paced, very social and open equally to both men and women. If you’re thinking of a barber shop being an old-school small, smoke-filled storefront, think again. Modern barber shops are sleek, well-designed and often feature large flat-screen TVs or music. Picture “sports bar/restaurant without the alcohol.” A good barber with an established clientele can serve 25 customers a day. To become a licensed barber in the State of Florida you must attend a Florida barbering school and successfully complete a minimum of 1,200 hours of barber training. In Georgia, to be a Master Barber you must have 1500 hours of instruction or 3000 hours in an apprenticeship. I’ve met as many female barbers as male, so it’s open to everyone.
- Paralegal. The median annual salary for paralegals in 2015 was $48,000, with some earning $75,000 to $100,000 – putting them well into the salary range even for some lawyers. Neither Florida nor Georgia require paralegals to have any specific education or training. (Florida offers a certification for paralegals, which requires at least an A.A. degree, but these degrees are offered online by many institutions and can be completed on a self-paced schedule.) The key skill I look for in a paralegal isn’t certification but people skills. My own paralegal isn’t certified – and actually began in my firm as a file clerk – but she was very personable, organized and could track deadlines. Those are the qualities of a great paralegal, so we taught her the basics ourselves over several weeks. She is excellent with clients, helps them understand the legal process, and often fields phone calls when I’m out of the office. She’s spectacular. (Another one of our paralegals, a male, was hired to be a receptionist, not a paralegal, but he also had a great personality and is super organized. We trained him from scratch as well. He’s also spectacular.) If you’re organized and people-oriented, you can do this job.
- Court Reporter. The median salary for court reporters is $53,000, with top reporters earning as much as $90,000 a year. Court reporting training programs can be completed in as little as 17 months. Court reporters are high-speed transcriptionists, using specialized machines to take down testimony before and during trials. These jobs offer tremendous flexibility in hours and workloads, are fun, and offer a front-row seat to intense and interesting court proceedings. In many regions there is a dramatic shortage of court reporters. You can work for a court reporting agency or on your own. The product you create – transcripts of testimony – is the same produced by all reporters so lawyers don’t really care whether you’re running your own shop or part of a group. I’ve never heard a reporter complain about the work.
- Registered Nurse. Registered nurses earn an average of $66,000 a year, with some, particularly traveling nurses, earning well above $100,000. Educational requirements vary but some schools offer programs as short as 18 months. There is a perception that RNs must have a four or six year college degree, but that’s wrong. Registered nurses, or RNs, help doctors by administering medications, monitoring patient progress and recovery, and educating patients and their families. RNs have been in short supply for years, and that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon. I’m surprised, with the huge salaries RNs earn, that this occupation isn’t at overcapacity. Not even close.
These jobs are outstanding, and don’t require years and years of college or training to land. Forward this article to friends or family if you know someone who hasn’t been able to find their niche. These positions just might fill the bill.