- How Much Does It Cost?
- Financing Is Available
- Think Before You Borrow
- What's the Money For?
- "Where Does the Money Go?"
- Financing Options
- Vendors Can Aid the Loan Process
- Working with Training Companies
- Financial Institutions and Specialty Lenders
- Ask Uncle Sam for Certification Assistance?
- Don't Forget Your 'Other Options' For Financing
- Heading for the Payoff
Think Before You Borrow
Financial prudence dictates you do your best to apply these principles when considering how much money to borrow, and so forth, to help finance a certification program:
Borrow the smallest sum possible (that's why I recommend trying self-study and CBT approaches to see how you do before jumping into classroom training).
Pay all loans back as quickly as you can afford to (the quicker you pay them off, the less interest you accrue).
Make sure that the certification you're borrowing money for will be around long enough to pay off any loans you take out. If you catch one near the end of its life cycle, you may have to borrow again to stay current before you've repaid your initial loan. Never take longer than three years to repay a certification loan, for that very reason (most certifications go stale, if not obsolete, in three to four years), unless a longer repayment term is your only option.
Investigate all possible sources of financing and pick the one that's the best deal for you. Be sure to think not only in terms of the costs incurred while chasing the certification, but also in terms of the total costs over the life of the entire loan.
With some careful comparison shopping, and consideration of the various options presented elsewhere in this story, you can arm yourself to get the money, get started, and get certified with a minimum of muss and fuss!