4 Types of Schools That Can Fast Track Your Career

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Ever get the feeling that your career has plateaued? Like your upward trajectory has somehow stagnated (not just in terms of wages!), and that you’re not knocking goals off your list like you used to? You may have hit the invisible ceiling, or perhaps have become too comfortable in your current role. You need to find a way to reach a higher rung.

Luckily, with today’s technology and vast amounts of accessible knowledge, you can give your career a shot in the arm with relative ease.

At some point, everyone takes a step back, takes stock of where they are in their career, and plans their next move. Sometimes, that means changing career paths entirely. Other times, it means hitting up your network and seeing what else is out there. Still, others opt to become even more specialized by attaining additional degrees or certificates.

For those of you interested in that route, there are a number of new ways to do that, without spending tens of thousands of dollars on an advanced degree.

On the next few pages, we explore a few training models that entrepreneurs and many professionals are experimenting with. Some are proving to be successful. Others are still in the gestation phase, but showing immense promise. They are all worth exploring, if they are suitable to your particular field, and could lead you down a new career path toward new growth and higher earnings.

Here are four schooling or training platforms that could put your career back on the fast track.

1. Coding Camps

Source: Code Fellows

Source: Code Fellows

Depending on your industry (and geography), you may have heard about the influx of so-called ‘coding bootcamps‘. In a nutshell, these programming courses are short, dense training programs that get you in and out with a new skill set, all in a matter of weeks or months. Seriously, many of these coding camps — which are sprouting up in places like San Francisco, Seattle, and New York — even guarantee you a job post-graduation.

Sounds pretty sweet, right?

Well, it looks like a hell of a deal. Yes, there’s a fairly high up-front cost, and it’s very hard to get in due to the number of applicants, but some of these code schools, like Seattle-based Code Fellows, have recruiting agreements in place with big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft.

2. Hedge Fund School

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

This is an interesting example, and is probably a format that will be copied by other industries. Business Insider recently profiled Point72 Academy — which is essentially a ‘hedge fund school’ being run by the Point72 finance team, part of a larger financial firm. Business Insider says the Academy is “a 15-month paid program designed to train college graduates as investment professionals for the fund.”

It’s a unique experiment, and as of right now, there aren’t any others like it. Of course, that means it’s very difficult to get in, and makes its graduates look even better after clearing all of the hurdles. This may be something to look into for financial professionals — or at least keep your eyes open for similar programs popping up in the near future.

3. Micro-Degrees

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

You’re familiar with platforms like Khan Academy, Udemy, Coursera, and a handful of other online learning sites. But did you know that some of them actually give you the chance to earn some credentials in the form of credit, and even microdegrees? It’s an option, and for someone who’s looking to investigate different interests or career paths, these platforms can be an invaluable starting point.

This form of ‘micro-credentialing‘ may not have picked up a lot of steam as of yet, but just give it time. These platforms are spreading educational opportunities far and wide, and with time, they will only get better and better. So, while a nano-degree may not be a suitable transplant for a full-blown college education, it can give you a head start, or a small leg-up in your credentials.

4. Industry-Specific Institutes

Mid adult businessman writing on clipboard in home office, bald

Source: iStock

These can include organizations like the CFA Institute, or even technical schools that train people in any number of trades. These are the types of places that allow professionals to earn industry-specific degrees or certifications — you know, so you can put some letters after your name. People love it when they see post-nominal letters. It sends a message.

There is, of course, a wide range of certificates and training programs from industry to industry, so if you’re really looking to make an impact, you should probably ask those around you, or take note of what your managers have accomplished. Many companies will even help you out with the cost of these programs, as they see it as an investment for the future.

Follow Sam on Twitter @SliceOfGinger

More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet: