Student Loans for Certificate Programs: The Complete Guide
Furthering your education and getting specialized skills is a must in today’s job market. It’s also a great way to get a breath of fresh air if you feel like changing jobs (or even careers)!
Paying for your education isn’t always that easy though. Especially if your not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Below we take a look at how you can further your education with certificate programs, as well as how to fund your program by getting student loans for certificate programs
What are Certificate Programs
Certificate programs are programs offered in many different fields, professions, trades, and academic areas designed to provide intensive training to students in their specific area of study. These programs are available in both undergraduate and graduate levels.
The programs are focussed on short-term training which can lead to immediate employment. It is important to remember that a certificate program is not a degree program, so you do not receive a degree at the end.
Types of Certificate Programs
There is an extremely wide range of certificate programs available out there. Here are a few of the areas of study you can consider:
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences
- Communications and Journalism
- Computer Sciences
- Culinary Arts and Personal Services
- Liberal Arts and Humanities
- Mechanic and Repair Technologies
- Medical and Health Professions
- Physical Sciences
- Transportation and Distribution
- Visual and Performing Arts
Details of each area of study can be found here.
Benefits of Certificate Programs
Whether you are already well on your way in your career, you want to make a career change or you’re just getting started, there are great benefits for everyone in doing a certificate program.
Firstly, having the additional education and training means you have an edge over other people in the work environment. Certificate programs stand out on your resume. If a new potential employer is working through hundreds of resumes to find the right candidate for your dream job, yours will stand out if you have the extra training.
If you’re looking for a career change, a certificate program might also be the right answer. Usually, when changing careers to a completely different field, it can take ages and it puts you back at square one if you have to start a new degree from scratch. The knowledge and training provided by a certificate degree can help accelerate the process and get you to where you want to be much faster.
Furthering your education can also mean increasing your income! Georgetown University conducted a study which showed those people who earned a post-secondary certificate added about $117,000 to their earnings during their lifetime.
Evidently, doing a certificate program could be worth the extra time and can reap great rewards. So, let’s see how to make a certificate program possible for you!
Can You Get Financial Aid for a Certificate Program?
If you are considering doing a certificate program you might be wondering can you get financial aid for a certificate program?
Certain continuing education programs do qualify for government funding and federal student loans. Federal loans are a great way to fund your certificate program, as they generally have a lower interest rate and better repayment terms than private loans.
If you want to apply for federal funding, you can complete a Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once that’s done, you can look for certificate programs in your field that qualify for federal funding. You can use the National Center For Education Statistics’ College Navigator for this step.
Unfortunately, federal financial aid is not available to visa holders or international students. If you are in the U.S. on a visa and you want to further your education by doing a certificate degree, you’ll have to look at alternative funding options.
Scholarships for Certificate Programs
Some schools offer scholarships for specific certificate programs. This is a great way to fund your program as you won’t need to repay the money once you’re done. If you already have a specific program in mind, try and find out from the school if there are any scholarships available. If you need to find a scholarship before you can consider studying or any specific program, you can search for different scholarship opportunities on scholarships.com or on FastWeb.
Student Loans for Certificate Programs
Another alternative for funding your certificate program is getting a student loan for certificate programs.
In short, this is just a personal loan you use to fund your certificate program. A personal loan is a loan you can take out from private lenders like Stilt. These loans are usually unsecured which means you don’t have to give collateral (like an asset) as security for the money you borrow.
The terms and rates you can get for your private student loans for certificate programs will vary from lender to lender and will also depend on a few personal factors such as your credit score, income and whether you sign with a cosigner. Generally, however, you can expect the following:
- Loan amounts between $1,000 and $100,000
- Repayment terms between 6 months and 7 years
- Interest rates between 5% and 20%
With most personal loans, you’ll be able to get the money within a week, which is great if you want to start with you certificate program asap.
If you are an international student or visa holder, you might encounter a few obstacles in getting private student loans for certificate programs at traditional banks. Consider making use of lenders like Stilt who focuses on providing loans to immigrants and visa holders.
What is Stilt?
Stilt is a private online lender that focuses on providing loans to immigrants and visa holders. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident you can also apply, but, if you’re not, Stilt is especially a great choice.
How to Get Student Loans for Certificate Programs with Stilt
You can apply for your loan online. This means you don’t have to stand in long queues or fill out mountains of paperwork! Once you’ve applied, Stilt will send you an update on your application within 24 hours. If you need to give them a bit more info, they’ll schedule a quick verification call with you.
They will take a moment to verify your information and documents, but it won’t take too long. Stilt doesn’t require all the conventional boxes to be ticked before you qualify for a loan. Your credit score or residency status, for example, is not such a big factor as it is with other lenders. You can check out the full list here.
As soon as soon as they’ve ticked all their boxes, you’ll get a promissory note to sign. After you’ve signed, the money will be transferred to your account. The money only takes about 2 to 3 days to reflect in your account, so you’ll be able to start your certificate program in no time!
3 Tips to Save Money on Certificate Programs
Here are a few tips on how to keep your cost low for certificate programs and other ways you might be able to fund it.
1. Get Scholarships
As we mentioned above, this will be the first prize when it comes to funding your certificate program. You don’t have to repay the money like you have to with student loans. So make sure you do your research to see what scholarships there might be available for you.
2. Utilize Employer Funds
If you’re currently employed, check out your employer’s education policy. Many employers offer education reimbursement for continuing education. Employers are especially eager to help out if the certificate program will sharpen your skills for the position you are currently in.
3. Find Voucher Discounts
Examination vouchers for your certificate program can be super expensive, so take a look to see if you can find a voucher discount. If you buy vouchers in a bundle, for example, you can sometimes get up to 30% off. If you subscribe to newsletters related to your program, you also sometimes get a discount.
Finances don’t have to stand in your way when it comes to furthering your education. There are many ways to fund your certificate program that does not include wiping out your savings or running up huge amounts of credit card debt! Get your student loan for your certificate program today. It might just be the first step into a great, bigger and better career.