20+ 1-Year Diploma Courses for International Students in USA

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He was a high-school dropout struggling with addictions.

If only he had pursued the right 1-year diploma courses in the US, Pinkman could have been so much more than a sidekick to the drug warlord and meth-matician, Walter White!

Jesse Pinkman from the iconic sitcom Breaking Bad couldn’t live the glorious American dream, but you can. How? By pursuing a diploma course in the States! 

Know this – if you’ve been contemplating studying abroad, you’re not alone. According to the Open Doors Report (ODR) by the US Embassy and Consulate, more than 2 lakh Indian students (2,68,923 precisely) headed to the US to pursue higher education in 2023.

What’s even more staggering is that universities across the states have opened arms for international students — 160 universities offer around 400 1-year diploma courses after 10th, 12th, and graduation!

Out of those 400, the most popular diploma courses that are most likely to land you a six-figure job (in dollars) include diplomas in digital media, business management, biomedical engineering, and computer science, among others.

Excited about the prospects of steering your career towards your dream job? If so, this post has all you need – an exhaustive 1-year diploma courses list, the list of best universities where you can study, the financial aspects of studying in the US, and more.

So, for the sake of your career, read this!

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Key Highlights 

1-year Diploma Courses and FeesDetails
Top 1-year Diploma Courses in the USDiploma in Business Administration
Diploma in Graphic Design
Diploma in Media Management
Diploma in Engineering Management
Diploma in Communication Design
Top 1-year Diploma Courses after 10th Diploma in Healthcare
Diploma in Hotel Management
Diploma in Fashion Designing
Top 1-year Diploma Courses after 12thDiploma in Opticianry
Diploma in Entrepreneurship
Diploma in Computer Science 
Top Universities Offering 1-year Diploma CoursesUniversity of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
Harvard UniversityJohns Hopkins UniversityCulinary Institute of America
Rhode Island School of Design
Michigan State University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)New York University (NYU)
Average Tuition Fee for 1-year Diploma CoursesCertificate/Diploma Programs: Above ₹8,35,158 
Technical Programs:  Above ₹16,70,710 
Postgraduate Certificates/Diplomas: Between ₹12,53,094 to ₹41,77,258 

1-year Diploma Courses List: 24 Best Study Options in the US

Choosing a 1-year diploma or certificate course in the USA can significantly improve your professional skills and open up global career opportunities. 

Here’s a detailed list of 1-year diploma courses and the best universities where you can study. Tag along.

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20+ 1-Year Diploma Courses for International Students in USA
Check Your Eligibility for 80+ Universities across the USA
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1. Diploma in Business Administration

It’s an ideal diploma course if you’ve graduated and want to pursue a career as marketing manager, financial advisor, or business consultant.

Top US Universities Offering this Course

  • University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  • Harvard University 
  • Stanford University

2. Diploma in Computer Science/Information Technology

This diploma covers programming, software development, and cybersecurity. It’s ideal for you if you want to pursue a career as a software developer, cybersecurity analyst, or IT manager.

Top US Universities Offering this Course

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Carnegie Mellon University

Also Read: Best Countries to Study Abroad for Indian Students 

3. Diploma in Healthcare and Nursing

This diplomatic ideal for you if you’re looking for roles like registered nurse, clinical technician, or healthcare administrator.

Top US Universities Offering this Course

  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • Columbia University

4. Diploma in Culinary Arts

This 1-year diploma course is ideal for culinary graduates seeking careers as chefs, pastry artists, or food service managers.

Top US Universities Offering this Course

  • Culinary Institute of America
  • Johnson & Wales University
  • Institute of Culinary Education

5. Diploma in Graphic Design

This diploma teaches design principles and software skills. It’s ideal for you if you want to pursue careers as a graphic designer, brand identity developer, or digital illustrator.

Top US Universities Offering this Course

  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

6. Diploma in Media Management

This course prepares you for roles such as media planner, media buyer, media operations manager, public accountant, corporate accountant, or tax advisor.

Top US Universities Offering this Course

  • New York University
  • University of Southern California

7. Diploma in Entrepreneurship

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, this is the diploma course for you to learn leadership skills. It’s an ideal start to open opportunities as a startup founder, business consultant, or venture capital assistant.

Top US Universities Offering this Course

  • Babson College
  • MIT Sloan School of Management

Also Read: 1 Year Masters Programs in USA for Indian Students in 2024

8. Diploma in Electrical Control Technology

If you’ve always been interested in installing and maintaining electrical control systems at your home, this diploma course is your soul calling. 

It will prepare you for a career as a control technician, instrumentation engineer, or electrical technician.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • Texas A&M University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

9. Diploma in Hotel or Hospitality Management

This diploma course will allow you to explore careers beyond chefs. You can be a hotel manager, guest relations manager, or event and conference manager.

Top US Universities Offering this Course

  • Cornell University
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Michigan State University

10. Diploma in Agriculture, 1-year course

The prospects of securing a job in the agri department are pretty lean after you secure a relevant diploma. Some suitable diploma options for a 1-year course include:

  • Diploma in horticulture
  • Graduate certificate in agricultural leadership
  • Aquaculture and Fisheries Graduate Certificate

With these prestigious diploma courses, you can pursue roles such as aquatic animal health specialist, aquaculture consultant, horticulture consultant, landscape designer, agronomist, florist, and farm manager.

Top US Universities Offering 1-Year Diploma Courses in Agriculture

  • University of Rhode Island
  • Colorado State University 
  • The University of Arizona

11. Diploma in Digital Media Strategies

This diploma course is ideal for those of you who aspire to be digital media planners, content strategists, or social media managers.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Northwestern University
  • University of California, Berkeley

12. Diploma in Communication Design

If your mind never goes into snooze mode and you’re always at your creative best, a diploma in communication design could be the right match for you. 

It will help you develop innovative and technical skills in graphic design, advertising, and media.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • California Institute of the Arts
  • Pratt Institute
  • University of Cincinnati

13. Diploma in Engineering Management

This ideal diploma course will prepare you for leadership roles in engineering projects.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • Cornell University
  • University of Michigan
  • Northwestern University

Specialised 1-Year Diploma Courses in the USA

Are you among those bravehearts who never had a thing for what society deems a secure job — doctors, engineers, and communication specialists? Then this specialised 1-year diploma courses list is just the thing for you. Have a look!

14. Diploma in Carpentry

It will prepare you for residential and commercial construction careers, focusing on skills like framing, roofing, and finishing.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • Laney College, California
  • North Bennet Street School, Massachusetts

15. Diploma in Opticianry

This course will train you to fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, leading to roles such as dispensing optician or optical lab technician.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • Miami Dade College, Florida
  • Raritan Valley Community College, New Jersey

16. Diploma in General Machinist

This is an ideal course if you’ve graduated and are interested in securing positions like CNC machinist or tool and die maker.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • Pittsburgh Technical College, Pennsylvania
  • Gateway Technical College, Wisconsin

17. Diploma in Golf Course Management

This excellent diploma course can develop your expertise in maintaining and operating golf courses. Your career options range from golf course superintendents to clubhouse managers.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • Mississippi State University
  • Pennsylvania State University

18. Diploma in Welding

This diploma course is prestigious enough to land you specialised roles in industrial fabrication and pipeline construction.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • Tulsa Welding School, Oklahoma
  • Hobart Institute of Welding Technology, Ohio

19. Diploma in Web Application Design

This is an ideal course for learning how to create functional and aesthetic web applications. With this course under your belt, you’re looking at job roles such as web developer, user interface designer, UX/UI designer, or front-end developer.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • Rochester Institute of Technology, New York
  • Ironhack, Multiple Locations

Also Read: Difference Between Universities and Colleges 2024

20. Certificate in Administrative Assistant

If you want to pursue a career as an office manager or executive assistant, look no further than obtaining this diploma certificate.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA Extension)
  • Pace University, New York

21. Diploma in Accounting

Keen on gaining an in-depth knowledge of accounting principles and practices so you can make a career as an accountant or financial analyst? A Diploma in Accounting is your thing. 

You’ll receive training in financial reporting, taxation, and auditing.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • Golden Gate University, California

22. Diploma in Big Data Technologies

If you love wrapping your head around data, this diploma course is your calling. You will learn everything about data analysis, data management, and data visualisation. Your future career roles include working as a data scientist or big data analyst.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • New York University
  • University of California, Berkeley (Extension)

Also Read: Top 20 High Salary Courses After 12th Science 

23. Diploma in Water Quality Technician

This diploma course focuses on water testing and treatment techniques. As a graduate, having this one certificate under your belt will land you roles in municipal water facilities or environmental agencies.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • California State University, Sacramento
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering, Wisconsin

24. Diploma in Green Building Technology

This course covers sustainable construction and design practices and will prepare you for a job role as a sustainability consultant or green building auditor.

Top US Universities Offering This Course

  • Boston Architectural College, Massachusetts
  • Laney College, California

Top 10 Best-Ranked Universities in the US

Did you know that the US houses some of the highest-rated universities in the world? Let’s give you a snapshot of the top 10 best-rated universities in the US in 2024.

Name of the University Worldwide QC Rank
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)1
Harvard University 
Stanford University 5
University of California, Berkeley 10
University of Chicago 11
University of Pennsylvania 12
Cornell University 13
California institute of Technology (Caltech)15
Yale University 16
Princeton University 17
Columbia University 23

Also Read: Most Affordable Universities in the USA 2024

Eligibility Criteria for 1-Year Diploma Courses in the USA

All that’s standing between you and a glorious career is whether you are eligible for 1-year diploma courses in the US. We have all the answers you are looking for. Let’s get you started.

  • High school completion: You must have successfully passed high school to apply
  • GPA requirements: A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is typically required by US universities
  • Standardised test scores: Some universities might ask for SAT or ACT scores from international students. There’s also a chance you will have to take the GMAT for business and the GRE for engineering and sciences
  • English proficiency: Non-native English speakers should expect to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores to demonstrate their language proficiency
  • Additional documents: Transcripts, mark sheets, and reports from school counsellors are also commonly required for the application process
  • Student visa (F-1 or J-1): You must obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa by providing proof of admission, financial stability, and a passport valid for travel
  • SEVIS fee: Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee after receiving Form I-20 (for F-1) or DS-2019 (for J-1) 
  • General age requirements: Generally, there is no strict minimum age requirement. Some programs might prefer students to be at least 18 years old 

Also Read: A Guide on USA F-1 Visa Interview Questions and Answers 2024

Did you know?

Required scores from IELTS varies from university to university. We have compiled the minimum IELTS scores required at some top US colleges. Have a look!

CollegeMinimum IELTS Score
Manhattan College6.5
North Iowa Community College5.5
UC Riverside Extension6.0 in each band
Milwaukee Area Technical College5.5 in each band
University of California, Berkeley7

If you’re worried about your IELTS scores and need help with preparation, our Leap Scholar program can help you. Secure your dream IELTS band through our 4-week program where you get to learn from India’s best trainers. 

Also Read: CMA USA Course 2024: Dates, Syllabus, Eligibility & Fees

Financial Overview for 1-Year Diploma Courses in the USA

Attending a 1-year diploma course in the USA will require more than just the college tuition fee. 

Below is a comprehensive outline of tuition fees, living expenses, and additional costs that encompass the total financial outlay for international students.

Average Tuition Fees for 1-Year Diploma Courses

Tuition fees for 1-year diploma courses vary significantly depending on the institution and the specific program. 

It’s also important to note that many US universities charge international students based on course credits. 

Overall, here’s an overview of what you’ll be shelling at in some top universities. 

  • Certificate/Diploma Programs: Above ₹8,35,158 
  • Technical Programs:  Above ₹16,70,710 
  • Postgraduate Certificates/Diplomas: Between ₹12,53,094 to ₹41,77,258 

Please note: The fee estimate provided does not include the currency conversion charges. 

Living Expenses

Living expenses can vary by location, lifestyle, and personal spending habits. 

Let’s give you an estimated yearly breakdown for major expense categories.

Category Amount 
Accommodation₹8,18,495 – ₹9,27,062 
Electricity₹1,00,223 
Groceries/ Food₹4,00,892 
Books and college material₹75,164 – ₹1,67,030 
Health insurance₹58,461 – ₹91,867 

Additional Costs

  • Student visa fee: Approx. ₹15,450 
  • Travel: Varies greatly depending on the frequency and distance of travel

Total Estimated Cost for 1 Year

Combining tuition and living expenses, the average total cost for a typical 1-year diploma course is follows:

ParametersCost Range
Tuition (varies by program)₹8,35,158 – ₹41,77,258 
Living Expenses (9 months)₹8,23,042 – ₹16,16,018 
Additional Costs₹1,09,405 – ₹1,76,219
Total Estimated Cost₹17,67,614 – ₹59,68,046 

Worried about managing finances for your studies in the US? With Leap Finance, you can get an education loan without collateral at competitive interest rates, covering both your study and living costs.

Also Read: Average Cost of Living in the USA in 2024

Top 5 Scholarships for 1-Year Diploma Courses in the USA

Don’t let the genie of expense scare you from pursuing 1-year diploma courses after 10th and 12th. You have the following scholarships at your disposal.

  1. MATC Promise for New High School Grads: Offered by Milwaukee Area Technical College, this scholarship waives tuition fees for students who are eligible for federal Pell grants and have a minimum of 2.0 GPA
  2. President’s and Trustee’s Scholarship: North Iowa Area Community College provides this scholarship to students who have achieved at least an ACT score of 23 or equivalent SAT score
  3. UCR University Extension Scholarship for Student Success: Covers the total costs of certification courses for students who have been accepted by the university for the current program and have attained at least a 3.0 GPA over 8 credits
  4. Laurel Hummel Scholarship for International Students: Awarded by UCLA Extension, it covers tuition fees and provides a payment of ₹1,31,816 each quarter to international students on an F-1 visa who have completed 12 units in their diploma course
  5. Ingrid Skulstad Williams Scholarship for Women: Also by UCLA Extension, this scholarship specifically supports women pursuing postgraduate education

Also Read: Top 10 High Salary Courses After 12th Computer Science in 2024

Job Prospects and Salaries After 1-Year Diploma Courses in the USA

Pursuing higher studies in the US requires investing time, money, dreams, and hopes. The good news is that the scope of earnings after you’ve passed a diploma course with flying colours is very high.

Here’s an overview of potential jobs along with their average annual salaries for holders of 1-year diplomas:

  • Engineer Trainee: ₹52,45,979
  • IT Assistant: ₹34,75,277
  • Graphic Designer: ₹37,48,975
  • Creative Director: ₹96,92,200
  • UX Designer: ₹52,57,600
  • High School Teacher: ₹41,83,979
  • Digital Marketing Specialist: ₹52,52,960
  • Water Quality Technician: ₹33,65,177
  • Business Intelligence Analyst: ₹77,94,818
  • Data Analyst: ₹68,94,510
  • Information Technology Director: ₹1,01,77,610 

Weigh the stats whichever way you want, but the fact remains the same — what you invest in 1-year diploma courses in the US today will be recovered within the first year of your job placement.

If upfront payment for studying in the US is souring your spirits, Leap Finance can provide the support you need. With zero hidden charges and loans funded to the tune of $175Mn, we’ve got you covered. 

Also Read: Universities in the USA without GRE 2024: Courses & Requirements

Student Success Stories: How 1-year Diploma Courses in the US Help Students?

When planning to make such a major switch, you might need more than just assurance on finances. Do students who pursue these diploma courses really make it big? To ease your mind with nothing but the truth, we walked an extra mile and found some actual student success stories that will inspire you too. 

  1. Ersa Ugurlu pursued an online diploma course from Harvard University. The certificate landed her with a job role in the healthcare department. No matter where she chooses to apply, recurties from all over the world welcome her with open arms
  2. The digital writing course from the University of California, Los Angeles helped Nicolette Gelnak and many others pursue their dream career in writing

Wrapping Up

1-year diploma courses in the US are top-rated because they offer significant benefits and opportunities.

  • These programs are tailored to provide practical training
  • Whether you want to enrol in 1-year diploma courses after 10th or a diploma in agriculture for a 1-year course, you will find every option
  • Whether you’re looking to brush up your creative potential in design or crunch numbers in accounting, 1-year diploma courses in the US have you covered 

We believe that every student has a right to higher education. With Leap Finance, you’re gaining a partner dedicated to seeing you thrive in your studies. Request a quick loan offer now and let our experts sort out your finances.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Can a diploma be 1 year?

    A. Yes. Many educational institutions in the USA offer 1-year diploma programs designed to provide specialised knowledge and skills in a shorter time frame. 1-year diploma courses are cheaper than degrees and most employers (globally) acknowledge these courses as proof of skills. 

  • Q. Which diploma course is best in the USA?

    A. The best diploma depends on your career goals. Popular fields include:
    -Business Administration
    -Computer Science
    -Media studies
    -Healthcare
    -Hospitality
    -Digital Marketing
    -Cybersecurity
    -Project Management
    -Graphic Design
    -Engineering

  • Q. What is a one-year diploma called?

    A. A one-year diploma course can be divided into three categories based on the level and focus of the program.
    -Certificate/Diploma Programs
    -Technical Programs
    -Postgraduate Certificates/Diplomas

  • Q. How much is a 1-year diploma in the US?

    A. The fee varies from course to course and from university to university, but we have a ballpark range for tuition fees based on many factors. 
    -Certificate/Diploma Programs: Above ₹8,35,158 
    -Technical Programs:  Above ₹16,70,710 
    -Postgraduate Certificates/Diplomas: Between ₹12,53,094 to ₹41,77,258

    Most of the 1-year diploma courses from the US will fall within the range of ₹8,35,158 to ₹41,77,258.

  • Q. What are some scholarships available for 1-year diploma courses in the USA?

    A. Here are the 5 most popular diploma scholarships for international students in the US.
    -MATC Promise for New High School Grads Scholarship
    -President’s and Trustee’s Scholarship
    -UCR University Extension Scholarship for Student Success
    -Laurel Hummel Scholarship for International Students
    -Ingrid Skulstad Williams Scholarship for Women

  • Q. Can I get a job with a diploma in the USA?

    A. Yes. Over 400 diploma courses are offered by as many as 160 US universities. Each course is designed to equip you with advanced and practical skills that will substantially increase your chances of securing a high-paying job.

  • Q. Which diploma course has the highest salary?

    A. A diploma in IT, business management, engineering, and data analysis are the top-paying courses. Here’s a roundup of the average yearly salary you can expect after securing a job through these diplomas:
    -IT Director: ₹1,01,77,610
    -Data Analyst: ₹68,94,510
    -Creative Director: ₹96,92,200
    -Engineer Trainee: ₹52,45,979
    -Business Intelligence Analyst: ₹77,94,818

  • Q. Is a diploma cheaper than a degree?

    A. Yes. Diploma courses are shorter as compared to degrees. Hence, they’re mostly cheaper than obtaining a degree in the US. 

    Let’s provide you with a basic comparison between the two courses:

    Diploma Courses for International Students in the US
    Minimum educational requirements: High school (10th) 
    -Completion time: 6 months to 1 year
    -Cost: ₹8,35,158 – ₹41,77,258

    Degree for International Students in the US
    Minimum educational requirements: Senior high school (12th)
    -Completion time: 2-4 years
    -Cost: Average tuition fee for a 4-year degree can cost between ₹31,33,392 – ₹70, 34,549, depending on the University and the field of study

  • Q. Is a 1-year diploma valid?

    A. Yes. Maximum employers (globally) acknowledge a 1-year diploma certificate from US universities. These courses are treated as proof of your practical knowledge since most diploma courses emphasise honing practical skills over theory.

  • Q. Can I stay in the USA after my diploma?

    A. International students in the U.S. on F visas are required to leave the country within 60 days after the program’s completion date, as noted on Form I-20. You can apply for an extension on this period via the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

  • Q. What are some 1-year diploma courses after 12th in arts?

    A. There are many 1-year diploma courses you can pursue in the arts stream after completing your senior year at high school. Out of those, here are the 4 courses that pay the best in the arts stream. 
    -Diploma in interior design
    -Diploma in fashion design
    -Bachelor’s certificate in fine arts
    -Diploma in photography 


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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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