learn and earn?
March 7, 2014 1:01 PM   Subscribe

What are some situations where you can be paid--WELL--to learn a new skill? I'd like information about specific programs, not vague things like "internships" or "apprenticeships." By well-paying, I guess let's go with at least $25K/yearly.
posted by chaiminda to Work & Money (15 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
A PhD, I guess.
posted by jjmoney at 1:19 PM on March 7, 2014 [6 favorites]

U.S. Foreign Service officers get paid to learn languages.
posted by suprenant at 1:21 PM on March 7, 2014

I don't know why you're discounting Apprenticeship - that's a vector for learning many skilled trades.

"Apprentices are full-time employees who produce high-quality work while they learn skills that enhance their employment prospects. An apprentice operates under the close supervision of a skilled worker on the job and takes related classroom instruction at night or on weekends. A graduated pay scale assures that salary reflects the degree of skill achieved."

The NYS Department of Labor maintains a list of apprenticeships offered through the skilled trades' labor unions.

Also, many large Over-the-road Trucking companies will pay for or reimburse your tuition to truck-driving/CDL school, and provide your first year of supervised driving, in exchange for a certain term of employment afterwards - for example, C.R. England.

And - the military.
posted by Ardea alba at 1:33 PM on March 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm not discounting internships or apprenticeships as a general category--I just want specific examples. So your comment is most helpful, Adrea alba.
posted by chaiminda at 1:45 PM on March 7, 2014

Have you considered the Coast Guard?
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:57 PM on March 7, 2014 [8 favorites]

A PhD may or may not fit the your criteria. Our students (in a computer science department) make more than your minimum and can do internships to double that. But it's not learning a new skill, they are already the best students in the discipline, typically with substantial experience working on the specific topic, and want to go deeper.

For specific examples, here is one for MIT http://www.eecs.mit.edu/academics-admissions/graduate-program/admissions and Harvard http://www.seas.harvard.edu/audiences/prospective-graduates/apply
posted by seattlejeff at 1:59 PM on March 7, 2014

Here's an listing of apprenticable occupations in the state of Massachusetts, and a separate list with more detailed information specifically for the construction trades. First-year apprentices typically get paid between 40-60% of the base rate for a journeyperson worker, and for some of the lower-paying trades this may only be in the $9-10/hr range. But for some of the better-paying trades (pipefitters, boilermakers, operating/stationary engineers, elevator mechanics, to name some examples) you can certainly hit $25,000 even as a first-year apprentice.

You do need to have a certain sort of basic level of mechanical aptitude to work in the trades, and the better your ability to wrap your head around the mechanical/physical/spatial/electrical/human resource/commercial aspects of the particular job, the more likely you are to succeed at climbing the career ladder and reaching a potentially quite comfortable salary.
posted by drlith at 2:27 PM on March 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Medical residencies. Super hard work and you get paid far less than an attending, but you do get paid more than 25k to learn your craft.
posted by superfille at 2:52 PM on March 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Woodrow Wilson teaching fellowship program pays particpants to receive training to move from a STEM field into teaching STEM subjects.
posted by cessair at 3:04 PM on March 7, 2014

In Australia, every trade apprenticeship pays that much.
In Western North Dakota various outfits will pay you to get a CDL, as well as other apprenticeships doing all manner of awful work. A friend of mine got paid $25/hr to learn how to clean out the inside of huge pipes, and free claustrophobia meds.
posted by BabeTheBlueOX at 3:56 PM on March 7, 2014

It's my understanding that to be an actuary you first have to pass a few actuarial exams, but then you do a large slice of studying for the next exams in the series on the job, with pay increases/promotions contingent upon passing more and more exams. The pay is quite good, as well.

I've heard it compared to going to grad school full time while holding down a full time job, though, so there's that.
posted by ZeroDivides at 4:31 PM on March 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Microsoft interns make bank; well over 25k. Probably close to twice that.
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:27 PM on March 7, 2014

Response by poster: Teacher residency programs, like Richmond's, also work.
posted by chaiminda at 5:49 AM on March 8, 2014

If you have an interest in law and cannot go to law school, I would suggest working for an insurance company. Don't laugh! Many companies will pay for you to take the classes required for a professional designation (such as the CIP in Canada) as well as whatever more senior credentials come after you obtain the first designation.

Once you have a professional designation, you can progress into more glamourous fields of insurance (hospitality, professional liability, casualty, etc.). Even management, if you have a reasonable amount of practical job experience and good people skills.

Should you already have a University degree, you will already have better educational credentials than many insurance professionals in senior positions.
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 1:54 PM on March 8, 2014

The University of South Australia Library has (or had?) Graduate Library Officer positions - here's a job ad for the position from last year.

You need to have an undergraduate degree to apply. If you're a successful applicant, you enrol part-time in the university's Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Management (which is fully paid for as part of the employment contract), and you're simultaneously employed full-time, working four days per week in the Library in various professional positions (e.g. reference support, collection management, acquisitions, IT, archives, academic support, access services), with one day per week paid study leave. When you finish the two-year contract and course of study, you're a fully-qualified librarian with solid experience throughout an academic library.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:47 PM on March 8, 2014

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