- 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
Financing Is Available
The size of these average costs should make it clear why borrowing is so often necessary for those pursuing certification, particularly people just starting out in the field or those with family obligations that consume most of their disposable income. Although money for certifications doesn't grow on trees, it is available from a surprisingly large range of sources and at some pretty reasonable terms. It hasn't escaped certain vendors' notice that helping people get certified is good for their education business, nor are savvy lenders likely to ignore an opportunity as big as IT certification.
Some big software vendors (and numerous training organizations) are aware that increasing access to certification training through loans leads to a larger population in certification classes. Most of these organizations don't actually lend the money themselves (I identify a couple of forward-thinking financial institutions that are in the forefront of this trend later in this story), but they do make arrangements to connect people with lenders to obtain financing for their certifications.
But be wary when following "official channels" to finance for a certification. The strong tendency is to steer individuals into more expensive classroom-oriented training programs. Many such programs involve steep financial commitments that often fall into a range from $8,000 to $15,000 (and more). Most offer "flexible payment plans" that permit borrowers as long as 10 years to repay their loans at rates of interest that fall between mortgage rates and credit card balances or personal signature loan rates.
Some of the same financial institutions that underwrite vendor or training company loans also offer their own "IT training loans" that aren't tied to specific methods of training delivery or classroom training in particular. Thus, try to decide if you can make the certification grade by following a self-study or CBT path to your credentials, rather than the classroom route. Why? Because it will save you money in the short runand save you even more money as the costs of your borrowing add up over time.