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5 Ways to Boost Your Salary Without Going Back to School

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Carrie SmithGuest Blogger
June 07, 2016 · 2.9k Views

So you’ve reached an income ceiling with your current career? Or perhaps you’re ready to switch careers with more income potential? Either way you’re looking to boost your salary and want to know what the next steps are.

When most professionals think of getting a boost in their salary, negotiating for a raise usually comes to mind first or going back to school to further their education. However, the latter option requires a lot of time and financial investment. Here are five options to help you increase your earning potential without having to go back to school.


1. Become certified in a skill

Certifications are an excellent way to improve your credentials and quickly increase your skills within a specific area of expertise. Doing so will make you infinitely more marketable to potential employers and managers.

Start by making a list of skills and topics that you’re pretty knowledgeable about, as well as any past experience or hobbies you’ve dabbled in. Next, seek out and enroll in local classes that offer certifications to help you expand one or more of these areas.

For example, while was a small business bookkeeper I knew the basics of accounting and taxes but knew that my boss needed someone who was more of an expert. So I enrolled in a 12-week tax class where I learned to specialize in small business accounting. After lots of homework and a few tests, I received my Tax Specialist certification and was able to garner a raise of $3 per hour from my boss, as well solidify my employee position.

Online classes and courses from sites like Coursera and Udemy allow you to further your education and become certified in a particular skill.

2. Earn an accreditation

Another great way to enhance your career is by earning an accreditation within your field. Often times this process can take many years and be a bit time-consuming than some of these other options, but it can be worth it. You’ll be proving to potential employers that you’re fully invested in your career and continuing education.

Every accreditation program is different but they can all help you build credibility and become recognized for your skills and accomplishments. Most of these programs involve a series of tests and evaluations by other experts in your chosen career field.

3. Enter to win an award or competition

Another way to make your resume stand out is by being the winner of an award or competition. Entering a professional competition is a great way to remember why you’re passionate about your work and why you love the industry you’ve chosen.

Competitions and awards give you the chance to showcase your experience and skills, as well as add an additional accomplishment to your resume. Even if you don’t win the competition, being nominated, and even participating for an award, will show potential employers how seriously you take your work.

4. Attend seminars and conferences

Attending local seminars and conferences are a great way to learn more about your industry as well as connect with influential experts and fellow colleagues. They also offer a great way to stay up-to-date on rapidly changing career fields, like medicine and technology. Not only do professional seminars allow you to network with influential contacts but you can gain valuable information about your chosen career field, which will be an asset to any employer.

5. Learn a new language

Learning a new language can be a fun experience as well as open you up to a wide variety of career opportunities. Many employers are looking for candidates who can speak multiple languages, especially for international and traveling opportunities.

Websites like Duolingo offer the chance to learn the most popular languages for free, while purchasing Rosetta Stone software costs a few hundred dollars. Either way this is a small price to pay for learning about new cultures and opening up your career path to better pay and more opportunities.

You don’t have to fork over a lot of money going back to school to boost your bottom line. Just take action on one of these five tips and you’ll be well on your way to standing out in the job marketplace.


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Hi, I'm Carrie Smith! I'm a financial writer and small business expert who helps freelancers build client-based businesses through meaningful relationships. I have a background in small business accounting and taxes and recently won an award for Best Entrepreneurship Blog for my site, carefulcents.com.

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