Many jobs require individuals to obtain a specialized certification from a government agency or industry board. Typically, these jobs require of in-depth organized training programs and skills not common to the untrained general population. Due to the specialized nature of these jobs, they often (but not always) pay more than comparable jobs not requiring certification.
Pilots transport cargo and passengers across large distances in airplanes, helicopters and airships. These individuals, who may work for airlines, corporate flight departments or charter operations, must have at least commercial pilot certifications with instrument ratings from the Federal Aviation Administration. Additionally, many senior-level and higher-paying pilot positions require holders to have FAA airline transport pilot (ATP) certifications. To earn these certifications, individuals must enroll in flight schools and undergo rigorous training programs. According to the Bureau of m Labor Statistics, as of May 2008, the median salary for a pilot was $111,680, although many pilots earn far less.
Air Traffic Controller
Air traffic controllers ensure the safe movement of airplanes and helicopters through the airspace above the United States. After the FAA hires individuals for ATC positions, they must undergo an intensive training program at the FAA's head facility in Oklahoma City to earn their ATC trainee certificates. Once an ATC trainee arrives at her permanent work station, known as a "facility," she must undergo a few years of on-the-job training before earning a Certified Professional Controller license, which she needs to become a full-fledged controller. Pay varies widely among ATC professionals, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median wage among ATC was $111,870 as of May 2008.
Nurses help ensure the safety and health of their patients by performing simple medical procedures, preparing patients for doctor examinations or surgeries and reading and amending patients' medical records. To work as a nurse, an individual must earn a registered nurse certificate. To earn this certificate, an individual must either earn a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN), a nursing associate degree (ADN) or a three-year nursing diploma. Additionally, to obtain the nursing certificate, all nursing candidates must pass a national certification examination, the NCLEX-RN. Registered nurses earned an median salary of $62,450 as of May 2008.
Accountants prepare quarterly and yearly financial statements, balance budgets, determine expenses and file taxes for their employers or clients. Although a person can perform some accountancy work without any certification, a person must earn a Certified Public Accountant license to file reports, including financial statements and quarterly reports, with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states accountants with CPA certifications have better job opportunities and earn higher wages than their non-CPA counterparts. To earn this certification, most states require individuals to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework and pass a national CPA examination. The median yearly salary for an accountant was $59,430 as of May 2008, although salaries varied based on CPA certification and experience.