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How to Get Paid to Learn New Stuff
Not everyone can afford to go to college, and even if you do, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to find a good job in your chosen field without hands-on experience. The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to go back to school to learn new skills to advance your career and give you a competitive edge.
With a little creativity and research, you can find a number of ways to learn new skills and gain hands-on experience without spending a lot of money. In fact, you can even make money while you learn.
9 Ways to Get Paid While You Learn
1. Become a Freelance Writer
As a freelance writer, you’ll be writing informative, how-to articles on various topics. Most articles will require some research. So, not only will you get to explore your creative side, you are certain to learn something new each time you write an article.
To get started as a freelance writer, you will need to be able to demonstrate your writing and research skills by building a portfolio of your work. The good news is, no college degree is required. There are a number of opportunities to work part-time or full-time as a freelance writer. You could even self-publish your own articles and eBooks.
2. Learn While You Work in Your Chosen Field
Many fields have entry-level positions that will allow you to learn on the job. You will need to do some research to find an entry-level position that’s related to what you want to learn. When searching job sites, look for phrases like paid internship, on-the-job training, paid training, or earn while you learn. These phrases indicate the company is willing to teach you the skills you need to do the job while you work and make money.
3. Apply for an Apprenticeship
Much like an internship, an apprenticeship is a great way to get hands-on experience if you want to learn a trade like plumbing, electrical work, welding, or even auto mechanics. You can even find apprenticeships in fields like health care and clean energy.
Although an apprenticeship may take 1-4 years to finish, you’ll be earning a paycheck while you learn, and you’ll come out debt-free. If you went back to college for (possibly another) four years, you would probably come out of it with a pile of debt that could take years, or possibly even the rest of your life to pay off.
It will take a little research and time to find the right apprenticeship for you, but it’s worth it. The apprenticeships section of the U.S. Department of Labor website is a great place to start.
4. Create an Online Course
Thanks to the Internet and modern technology, there are many ways to create and distribute online courses. Creating a course will require you to do a lot of research, but one of the best ways to learn about a new topic is to teach it to others.
You may not make much money with the first course you put out. It may take time to generate interest in your chosen topic and establish yourself as an authority. However, if you put out good material, you will be able to put out courses that bring in an income over time.
5. Work in Research and Development
Many larger companies have an entire department devoted to research and development. Working in these departments is a great way to learn new skills in your industry while bringing home a regular paycheck. Even better, if you ever decide to change jobs, you will have numerous new skills to add to your resume.
6. Get Paid to Learn a Foreign Language
If the idea of getting paid to learn a foreign language while you travel appeals to you, consider working for the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. Learning foreign languages will be a huge part of your career, and you will represent the United States at one of the more than 270 consulates and embassies around the world. Senior officers can earn as much as $100,000 a year. To learn more, check out the American Foreign Service Association website.
7. Start a Blog or YouTube Channel
No matter what new skill you want to learn, chances are good that other people want to learn it, too. Starting a blog or YouTube channel is a great way to share your journey with others as you learn. You can talk about the books, courses, or videos you’re using and make money through affiliate programs. As your blog or channel gains popularity, you will be able to qualify for affiliate programs with higher commissions, sometimes as much as 50%.
8. Earn Cash Back from Giving Assistant
Giving Assistant is an online shopping rewards platform that allows you to earn cash back from purchases at more than 3,000 online retailers. You can get cash back from things like books and online courses that you purchase to learn your new skill.
9. Apply for a Fellowship
You don’t have to have a Ph.D. or be a graduate student to be awarded a fellowship. There are a number of merit-based fellowships that offer paid opportunities to learn new skills. Some fellowships last between two to three months long while others require a commitment of two years or more. If you are a student, a fellowship could be a great way to earn money while you learn new skills while school is out over the summer.
To qualify for a fellowship, you will need to apply early (about 6 months before the fellowship starts) and complete a competitive application process. In the case of a paid fellowship, you will receive compensation in the form of a salary or grant. Winning a fellowship will offer an opportunity to learn and network in your chosen field with resources you probably wouldn’t have access to in a typical job.
The Opportunities Are Endless
It may take a little research and creativity to find ways to get paid while you learn new stuff, but it definitely can be done. While not all of these opportunities will provide a full-time income, they will certainly put a little money in your pocket while you learn marketable skills to add to your resume.
Besides, you never know what opportunities could pop up along the way.