What You Need to Know about Certification Loans

Posted by in Loans | Updated on May 30, 2023
At a Glance: Funding a certification loan can be done by applying for a federal student loan or private student loan. The federal student loans you can get include Grad PLUS Loans, as well as direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

If you want to increase your chances of getting your dream job, you may have considered a certificate program. While they are not as costly as college tuition, they are still an expense that not many can afford. Therefore, a lot of individuals are unable to join a certificate program.

At the same time, students can take advantage of certification loans, which often involve different types of funding. What exactly are your options and how can you apply for a loan so you can get the training you need for your future career? Let’s find out!

Are There Student Loans for Certificate Programs?

Yes, you can certainly get a student loan for a certificate program, and what’s even better is that you have different choices. You can opt for a federal student loan for a certificate program. More often than not, when it comes to certificate programs, you may be eligible for a Grad PLUS Loan or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

While you may be able to obtain funding through other types of loans, it’s always best to try to submit an application for a federal student loan first. These have better repayment options in general.

2 Types of Loans for Certificate Programs

If you want to pay for a certificate program yet you’re on a low budget, you can consider a federal student loan or a private loan. Here’s an in-depth look at both types of financing.


Federal student loans are typically the preferred method of funding a certificate program, as the repayment terms are more convenient. Of course, only eligible certificate programs can be funded with federal loans.

There is a pamphlet on financial help for professional students and graduate ones from The U.S. Department of Education. Usually, though, you could go either for Grad PLUS Loans or Direct Unsubsidized Loans.


Private student loans represent another great option. They are meant for college expenses. But while federal student loans come from the federal government, a private loan’s source is a credit union, bank, or online lender.

Whereas private loans may not be suitable for everyone, they can be a huge help when you must meet the cost requirements of your desired certificate program.

Federal Loans for Certificate Programs

Have you decided to apply for a federal student loan in order to fund your certificate program? You need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) first. If your certificate program qualifies, you can obtain federal loans to pay for it.

Fortunately, the FAFSA makes it easy to find out whether you are eligible for getting federal grants for the program. It is best to use grants to pay for the certificate program first, as you do not need to repay these sums. Most people rely on grants before taking out a private student loan, and you should do the same unless you want to be in debt for a while. 

Direct Subsidized Loans

When you can prove financial need, you can obtain a Direct Subsidized Loan. These loans are suitable for undergraduate students, and you can borrow up to $23,000, depending on the attendance cost of the program minus the financial help given to you.

What’s great about these loans is that students who are admitted for half-time will not deal with interest. Therefore, it’s best to use the subsidized loan benefit before considering another type of loan.

You will start dealing with interest after the post-graduation grace period of six months.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Undergraduate and graduate students can take advantage of Direct Unsubsidized Loans if they need money to pay for a certificate program. Unlike Subsidized ones, you do not need to prove that you are struggling financially to obtain this funding type.

However, while you are studying, these loans will slowly accumulate interest. Unless you start paying them while you are going to classes, you will have to pay a high interest amount after you graduate.

Grad PLUS Loans

If you signed up for a certificate program and you are enrolled in it at least half-time, you can get a Grad PLUS loan as a professional or graduate student.

There are requirements you must meet in order to qualify, though. For instance, you must have a good credit history.

It is possible to borrow an amount that is up to the attendance cost, minus the financial help that was given to you. Sadly, you are not free from interest either – it actually starts to gather quickly.

You can choose to make payments towards the interest while you are going to classes if you do not want to pay a large sum after your graduation.

Private Loans for Certificate Programs

Once you’ve tapped out of the federal student loan options, you can consider private loans. Private student loans are beneficial for many people, as they allow them to pay for college costs and even certificate programs.

Not everyone will be able to get a private loan – you need a good credit score if you wish to obtain one. Otherwise, you’ll probably not be granted the money.

At the same time, having a cosigner with a great credit history can help you qualify.

You should only go for private loans once you’ve run out of federal loan options.

What Is a Private Loan?

A private loan is a type of financing offered by online lenders, credit unions, and banks. These loans can be used to pay for someone’s college costs. At the same time, they can also be used when you need to pay for a certificate program, yet you cannot do so without financial help. 

In order for someone to be accepted to receive a private loan, they must have a high credit score. However, they can also apply with a cosigner who has a good credit score. Private loan applicants should also have a decent and stable income, or their cosigner must tick this box.

What Can Private Loans Be Used for?

Private loans are used for college-related expenses, such as tuition, books, room and board, transportation, living expenses, and computers. They can also be used for certification programs.

How to Apply for a Private Loan

First things first, you have to look up private student loans and compare the lenders. Of course, you must also make sure your certificate program qualifies for such a loan. See which lender is the most convenient one.

Then, send your application, which can be done online in some cases. The bank, credit union, or online lender will look over your credit score and other information provided by you, as well as how much the program attendance costs.

When the lender approves your application, you’ll receive a contract that states the amount of the loan, the terms, fees, and the rate. Your school receives the funds after you sign the contract.

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Final Thoughts

You can obtain various types of certification loans in order to work towards the job you dream of. Your options include federal and private student loans. Make sure to try getting federal loans before you turn to private ones.