Small Business

Guns and Weddings: New Careers Via the Net

Jane Wells, CNBC Reporter
Photo: Comstock Images | Getty Images

Since the downturn in 2008, many Americans have been forced to rethink their careers. Some have gone back to school to freshen up their skills, or learn new ones, and a lot of that training is taking place online. is a site that connects prospective students with online college courses and certification programs.

So what do Americans want to be certified in?

Wedding planning and gunsmithing.

Sound crazy? Think about it. People are always going to get married. At the same time, Americans may increasingly feel the need to protect themselves — whether from the government, terrorists, or other holiday shoppers.

While "wedding planner" comes in at number one and "gunsmith" at number four on Elearners' list of most popular certification searches, the list also includes "medical coding and billing", "heating and air conditioning", "veterinary assistant", and "massage therapy".

"By taking online classes students can set their own schedule and study from home," says elearners CEO Tom Anderson. "The wide range of available certification programs has grown dramatically over the past several years as more and more students demand an online way to enhance their skills." The company says most online certification programs take three to six months to complete.

So far in 2011, the company says 6,900 people have sought information about online certification programs to be a wedding planner. I didn't even know there was such a program existed, but several are listed on the website, including one from a place called the U.S. Career Institute. As for becoming a gunsmith, nearly 4,800 people have expressed interest so far this year. Ashworth College offers a certification program. In fact, it looks like Ashworth offers a program in nearly everything.

There may be some crossover here. As one person observed, imagine the cost savings in pursuing careers in both gunsmithing and wedding planning. You'll learn how to do shotgun weddings.