Career Planning

9 Career Accelerator Programs For You to Develop Job-Ready Skills and Get Hired in 2020 Without Student Debt

Mitchell Earl
December 2019

In 2019, the total US student debt load topped $1.6 trillion, and most graduates walked away from a degree program with nearly $30,000 in student loans.

Yet many employers and hiring managers complain recent graduates often lack the basic skills to perform a job—61% of hiring managers said they hired a person who was not qualified for the role.

With student debt on the rise and more college graduates entering the workforce unprepared, alternative programs—like coding bootcamps and career-readiness programs—have seen a dramatic increase in popularity. According to an independent study, coding bootcamps have grown over 900% since 2013.

In other words, today’s students now have more options to launch their careers than previous generations.

Instead of turning to crippling student debt as a means to secure higher-income opportunities, these non-traditional career accelerator programs are proving viable options for students who want more.

To emphasize this trend, I’ve compiled a short list of nine awesome career accelerators or alternative programs I think offer great appeal for anyone looking to launch their career without student debt.

Here’s our list of nine awesome programs to launch your career, without student debt:


What if you could launch a six-figure sales career at a tech company you choose in just twelve weeks? And, unlike bootcamps or courses, what if you could have lifetime mentoring, job referrals, community and more? Even if you have no sales or tech industry experience, Prehired’s Science-Based Sales® certification program comes with a guarantee: pay nothing until you land a $60,000+ job and only if you do within a year of finishing the coursework. Visit their site to learn more.


Praxis offers a six-month digital bootcamp paired with a six-month apprenticeship at a startup, where you’ll learn real-world skills, gain valuable skills at a fast-growing company, and build a network of professional connections. Plus, you’ll get paid during the apprenticeship portion, which brings the net cost of the program to $0. Start your application here to see if you make the cut!

Acadium (formerly GenM)

This three-month digital marketing apprenticeship program offers free weekly courses and the opportunity to create a portfolio of real-world marketing projects. If a career in digital marketing sounds exciting to you, check out their program here.


GigLoft focuses on helping people launch their career as freelancers with an online course library, community, and dedicated mentor network to ensure your success. If working for yourself, setting your own hours, and building your own business appeals to you, learn more about GigLoft here.


NextGenT is building a new, proven way to break into a career in network engineering, information technology, cybersecurity, and more—with a zero-up-front tuition program. The program offers the ability to learn at your own pace, access a mentor network, and get hands-on lab training. Visit their website to learn more.

Pioneer has created a collaborative online community of “ambitious outsiders” who enjoy creating. If you’re accepted to their program, you can win up to $7,000 in cash, the possibility of a $100,000 investment in your idea, and a round-trip ticket to Silicon Valley to meet the community in person. Have a crazy idea you’re itching to create? Check out Pioneer.

Red Bull’s Graduate Program

Red Bull offers a real-world career development program with career paths in sales and distribution, marketing, and operations. The program offers a combination of self-directed learning, on-the-job experience, and formal training. The program’s website heavily emphasizes the goal of helping participants realize their own potential and launch their career journey. Check out more here.


Vendition offers world-class training and job placement for those looking to launch a career in sales. Graduates of the program have gone on to land jobs at companies like Oracle, Salesforce, Twitter, Marketo, and other top software companies. The program offers a three-month paid sales apprenticeship and a job guarantee. To learn more, visit their site.

2020 update:
More awesome career accelerators


Thinkful is a data science and coding bootcamp whose graduates & career coaches we’ve been working closely with the past couple months. Owned by parent company Chegg, the bootcamp is incredibly invested in their grads’ career outcomes, and we’re excited to see how our company relationship grows in the coming months.


Flockjay offers a 12-week online sales bootcamp program—where you don’t pay a cent unless you land a job making at least $40,000. According to their site, Flockjay targets job opportunities at fast-growing tech companies—which make great places to launch your career. Interested in learning more? Visit their site.

That’s all for now! We’ll add more as we find them. If you know of a program we should add to this list, tweet at us @CareerCrash and shout ’em out. 😀

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