It seems that most people self-study for certifications, however, training classes make sense for certain people in certain situations. If you choose to take classes, this will be the most expensive portion of your certification costs. These costs can reach ridiculous proportions (over $10,000).
There are only a couple of money saving tips that we have for you if you choose to go this route, but they are important ones.
There are basically 3 types of training institutions that you can attend as follows:
If you choose a Boot Camp or Training School, make sure that you haggle with them on the price. There is a lot of competition in the training world and they would rather have you in their class for less money than have an empty seat. Make them an offer. If they refuse, make a higher offer. If they do not seem willing to budge, then tell them that you will shop elsewhere and go check out some other places. Treat this process just like buying a car from a dealer. You have nothing to lose by doing this and you can always go back and pay the full price if you choose to. NOTE: This tip will not work with colleges (for the most part) and it probably is not worth trying.
- Boot Camps - Boot camps are intensive training sessions designed to cram as much information into your head in the shortest period of time. Usually, you will have to travel to the location of their training center and will spend several long days to a week in classes. You then take your certification exam(s) shortly after the classes (before the memorized information leaks out of your head). I have never been a big fan of this option. The classes are very expensive and because of their intensive nature, I do not believe that a person actually learns very much. They may be adequate for passing exams, but they remove the process of learning which is the only reason I would EVER take a class in the first place. There are some boot camps out there that are exceptions.
- Training Schools - There are thousands of training schools out there and the quality varies widely. However, most of them offer a more extended hands-on approach to learning. While they also tend to be expensive, you will likely get more out of this option than just a certification.
- Colleges - Many colleges offer certification classes, particularly community colleges. These cost several hundred dollars instead of several thousand.
If you choose to go to a boot camp, make sure you ask what is included and find out about hidden costs. Are meals included? Are training materials included? What other things will I need money for when if I choose your classes? These are the types of questions that you really need to ask before signing up.
Many training institutions offer financing through student loans. Before going this route, make sure you find out what the interest rate and terms of the loan are. Always check with your bank to see if you can get a better deal. Most college programs can be financed through the federal student loan program (in the U.S.) which offers very good interest rates and terms.
For homeowners, if you have the ability to get a home equity loan for your training, you should seriously consider this. The biggest advantage of doing it this way, is that you can tax deduct the interest on the loan.
The best way to save money on training classes is to not take them. The alternative is to use Computer Based Training (CBTs). Using CBTs, you get classroom style training in your own home and at your own pace. There are quite a few options available and they vary widely in quality and price. Some very good options are listed in our .