Editor's choice: LendingClub personal loans
- Loan range: $1,000-$40,000
- Coapplicants accepted
- No prepayment fees or penalties
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Keeping up-to-date on the skills you need in order to do your job well has never been more difficult — thanks to rapid advances in technology. Career development programs are a great way to stay relevant, whether you work for an organization or run your own business.
Signing up for a program, however, can take time and money you don’t have. If that’s the case, personal loans can help cover the costs of a course that could very well pay for itself by sending you into a higher pay bracket.
The best financing option will depend on your specific situation. One way to pay for a career development program is with a personal loan. These flexible financing products allow you to borrow as little as $1,000 or as much as $100,000. You’ll receive the approved funds in one lump sum and then pay it back over three to seven years.
If you’re enrolling in a certificate program, you might want to look into loans specifically designed for career development programs. Lenders like Sallie Mae offer career development loans that come with grace periods and flexible repayment options, similar to a student loan.
|Provider||Why it’s good for career development||Loan amounts||Starting APR|
|SoFi personal loans||Its unemployment protection and entrepreneur program lets you pause payments till you get back on your feet or get your new business off the ground. It also gives you access to financial advisors that can help you plan your next career move.||$5,000 to $100,000||Fixed rate: 5.99%|
Variable rate: 5.99%
|Upstart personal loans||Offers personal loans that can be used to cover the cost of a course or bootcamp, and considers factors like education and employment history in addition to your credit score.||$1,000 to $50,000||7.68%|
|Earnest personal loans||Multi-use personal loans that can be used for career development with a simple, quick application.||$1,000 to $50,000||4.99%|
It depends on what type of program you want to enroll in. Trade school or a master’s program can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, though that’s generally more of a commitment than most career development programs. Here’s the breakdown of the cost of some common programs:
|Program type||Typical cost|
|Coding/programming bootcamp||$10,000–$20,000, usually with $1,000–$2,000 scholarships available|
|Technical writing workshop||$350–$3,000|
|Presentation skills seminar||$1,000–$1,500|
|Accounting/financial skills course||$2,000–$4,500|
|Systems security course||$1,500–$6,000|
|Web design course||$50–$1,000|
|Graphic design course||$250–$1,000|
|Restaurant management certification||$700– $20,000|
|Commercial driver training||$1,500–$8,000|
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
You don’t necessarily need to take out a personal loan to pay for career development, even if you don’t have the funds immediately available to you. Other options include:
It’s increasingly common for employers to have a career development budget for employees. They also might subscribe to sites like Lynda that offer online courses on a wide variety of topics. If your employer doesn’t have a budget for that, it could still be worth asking if they’ll cover the cost of your training program — they might even be able to find a way for you to attend the course for free.
Taking out a loan to invest in your future could be one of the safer moves you make when it comes to borrowing money, especially if it’s a certified course. If you just want to strengthen a few skills here and there, rather than change your job (or career), you may want to make sure your employer doesn’t offer any free resources or pay for courses before looking into loans.
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