The true value of education is a trending topic in the rebounding economy, causing students to question whether or not the cost of earning a degree is worth the job (and the pay) at the end. Check out these hot career options—and they aren’t hot because they’re trendy. Students who complete these programs get high-paying jobs, making the degree or certificate at the end well worth the journey.

Esthetician/Nail Technician

North Idaho College’s esthetician course prepares students for licensure and careers such as skin care specialist, spa professional, salon owner, makeup artist, body treatment technician, product representative, retail specialist, and more. According to Idaho Department of Labor statistics, job demand for skin care specialists in North Idaho is projected to grow by 35.2 percent between 2012 and 2022.

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Jami Hornby

“I was drawn to this field because I like helping people feel better about themselves. People come here for fun – for something special – and it’s nice to be able to facilitate that,” said Jami Hornby, a graduate of NIC’s esthetician course, now working at Advanced Esthetics in Coeur d’Alene.

NIC’s esthetician course entails a 600-hour hands-on curriculum that prepares students for an Idaho state esthetician license.

NIC also offers a 408-hour course for a career as a nail technician. The curriculum trains students in a wide array of skills, including manicures, pedicures, nail tips and wraps, nail enhancements, and nail care.

Students in both the esthetician and nail technician courses practice through the Cardinal Spa at the NIC Workforce Training Center in Post Falls, which provides a comprehensive line of skin care services performed by supervised esthetician students. Students have the opportunity to practice techniques such as facials, waxing, microdermabrasion, microcurrent, chemical peels, makeup, and spray tanning. Services are open to the public at attractive prices. For more information, visit www.nic.edu/cardinalspa.
Esthetician

High demand: 35.2 percent growth in job demand projected from 2012 to 2022

How much will I earn? $31,880 per year (average Idaho median wage)

Nail Technician

High demand: 13.9 percent growth in job demand projected from 2012 to 2022

How much will I earn? $18,710 per year (average Idaho median wage)

Outdoor Leadership Coordinator

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Don’t just enjoy the outdoors, make a living from it. NIC’s certificate in Outdoor Leadership prepares students for careers as guides/outfitters in areas such as whitewater rafting, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, youth camps, recreation facilities, trail building and design, challenge course facilitation, and more.

At NIC: One-year intermediate technical certificate, and two-year advanced technical certificate and associate’s degree options

Very high demand: 28.6 percent growth in job demand projected from 2012 to 2022

How much will I earn? $18,900-$20,460 per year (average Idaho median wage) with potential for much more depending on the particular job

Certified Mental Health Assistant

Certified mental health assistants provide care for the unique needs of people with mental illness, dementia, and/or developmental disabilities under the direct supervision of a mental health professional.

At NIC: The Certified Mental Health Assistant course is a noncredit course offered in evening sessions at the NIC Workforce Training Center over three months

High demand: 17 percent growth in job demand projected from 2012 to 2022

How much will I earn? $26,040 per year (average Idaho median wage)

Dental Assistant

Dental assistants provide patient care and support good oral hygiene under the direction of a dentist.

At NIC: Online noncredit course with optional 80-hour externship available through a local dental office

High demand: 14.2 percent growth in job demand projected from
2012 to 2022

How much will I earn? $33,190 per year (average Idaho median wage)

Aerospace Composites Technician

Technicians in aerospace composites work on the composite framework of aircraft. The aerospace industry is booming and with a degree or certificate from NIC, graduates can work in positions spanning this broad field, such as aerospace composites fabricator, field repair technician, production operator, or quality assurance inspector.

At NIC: Multiple basic, intermediate, and advanced technical certificates as well as associate’s degree options are available in Aerospace Technology, complete with stackable credentials in advanced manufacturing, CNC mill operation, composite fabrication, composite technician, nondestructive testing and inspection, and quality assurance

Very high demand: 21 percent growth in job demand projected from 2012 to 2022

How much will I earn? $47,550 (average Idaho median wage)

Firefighter

Firefighters work in a dangerous and fast-paced environment and serve to extinguish fires and rescue individuals who are in danger.

At NIC: The Firefighter 1 Academy is designed to prepare students for the written and skills examinations for Idaho Firefighter 1 certification accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. Instruction includes basic fire fighting skills, hazardous materials, and infection control for emergency responders. Training delivered over 15 weeks and affiliation with a fire department is required

In demand: 6.1 percent growth in job demand projected from 2012 to 2022

How much will I earn? $38,000-$50,000 per year (average Idaho starting wage)

Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research, or blood donation, working mainly in hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories, blood donor centers, and other healthcare settings.

At NIC: 90-hour noncredit course that prepares students for the NCA/ASCP certification exam

Very high demand: 26 percent growth in job demand projected from 2012 to 2022

How much will I earn? $29,560 per year (average Idaho median wage)

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

P6-7FirefighterEMTs treat sick or injured patients using basic emergency medical equipment. Graduates of this course meet the Idaho and national registry standards for obtaining the Emergency Medical Technician license.

At NIC: 18-week noncredit course

High demand: 16.5 percent growth in job demand projected from 2012 to 2022

How much will I earn? $30,390 per year (average Idaho median wage)

Engineering Technician

Pulling from a background of knowledge in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), engineers apply scientific knowledge to solve real-world problems.

At NIC: A full range of engineering and related courses are offered to satisfy freshman and sophomore requirements for students planning to transfer to institutions offering baccalaureate degrees in engineering or engineering technology. A solid foundation is laid for further studies in civil, mechanical, chemical, and electrical engineering. Graduates receive an associate’s degree that will transfer to a four-year institution

In demand: 5 percent growth in job demand projected from 2012 to 2022

How much will I earn? $47,080 – $54,470 per year (average Idaho median wage)

For more information on Outdoor Leadership, Engineering, or Aerospace, contact the NIC Admissions Office at (208) 769-3311 or [email protected]. If you are interested in more information on Esthetician/Nail Technician, Certified Mental Health Assistant, Phlebotomist, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Dental Assistant, or Fire Fighter careers, contact the NIC Workforce Training Center at (208) 769-3333 or [email protected].

All wage and job demand data provided by the Idaho Department of Labor and Idaho Career Information System.