Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Compare student loans for certificate programs

7 options to help you jumpstart your career.

Updated

Fact checked

Despite lacking the nest egg in your savings to pay for a certificate program, you can still sign up. There are multiple options — including federal student loans — you can use for training to jumpstart your career.

7 student loans you can use for a certificate program

Loan amountsAPRsTermsEligibility requirements
Federal Direct Unsubsidized LoansUp to $20,500 per year
  • Interest rate: 4.3%
  • Origination fee: 1.059%
Up to 25 yearsGraduate or professional student, enrolled at least half time at a Title IV school, meet other federal student aid requirements
Federal Direct Grad PLUS LoansUp to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance
  • Interest rate: 7.08%
  • Origination fee: 4.236%
Up to 25 yearsGraduate or professional student, enrolled at least half time at a Title IV school, no adverse credit history, meet other federal student aid requirements
Sallie Mae$1,000 to $200,000
  • Interest rate: 5.74% to 12.37%
  • Origination fee: Varies
VariesYou may be eligible if you are at least 18 years old and if you are US citizen or permanent resident
Wells FargoUp to $120,000
  • Interest rate:4.8% to 11.26%
  • Origination fee: Varies
VariesGood to excellent credit or creditworthy cosigner, ages 18+, US citizen or permanent resident
Citizens Bank$1,000 to $295,000
  • Interest rate: 1.25% to 10.57%
  • Origination fee: Varies
Up to15 yearsBe the age of majority in your state, be enrolled as at least half-time at an eligible school, be a US citizen or resident and have good credit or a cosigner with good credit
College Ave$5,000 to $150,000
  • Interest rate: 3.64% to 8.99%
  • Origination fee: Varies
5 years to 20 yearsYou're a graduate of an approved Title IV undergraduate or graduate program, at least 18 years old and an American citizen or a permanent resident of the US. You meet College Ave Refi’s underwriting requirements.
Stilt$1,000 to $25,000
  • Interest rate: 7.99% to 15.99%
  • Origination fee: Varies
Up to 3 yearsBe employed, have a US bank account, live in a state where Stilt operates, hold one of the following visas: F-1 and OPT, H-1B, H4, O-1, L-1, TN, J-1, DACA or be a US citizen.

Can I get federal student loans for a certificate program?

Yes, there are federal student loans available for qualifying certificate programs. The US Department of Education has a pamphlet on financial aid for graduate and professional students, but in general, you may qualify for Direct Unsubsidized or Grad PLUS Loans.

If you’re thinking of pursuing a certificate program, apply for federal student loans before turning to private lenders — they tend to come with more flexible repayment options.

Compare student loan providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
Ascent private student loans
540
$200,000
2.71% to 12.99%
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
675
$200,000
4.07% to 9%
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
LendKey Private Student Loans
Varies by lender
4.99% to 11.06%
This connection service partners with Sallie Mae and WSFS Bank to offer competitive rates.
 Advantage Education Loan Refinance Loan
670
Starting at 3.74%
Refinance to a more flexible repayment plan with this nonprofit lender.
Alliant Credit Union Traditional Student Loan
680
$60,000
Starting at 4.56%
All-purpose personal loans from @pl_product_min_loan_amount@ to @pl_product_max_loan_amount@ with rates that stop at @pl_product_var_rate@.
ChangEd student loan payment app
Securely connect all of your student loans and bank accounts to one place for a painless repayment experience.
Chicago student loans
None
Cost of attendance, up to $50,000
7.53% to 8.85%
No cosigner needed for this fixed-rate financing option.
Citizens Bank Private Student Loans
700
$295,000
1.25% to 10.57%
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

How to apply for student loans for a certificate program

When you’re ready to get started, gather your W2, federal income tax return and bank statements. This will help make the application process faster. Then follow these steps:

What to watch out for when borrowing for a certificate program

Not all certificate programs are created equal. When you’re comparing your loan options, ensure your program and school meet your lender’s requirements before applying:

  • Program eligibility. Bootcamps, seminars and other career development programs may not be eligible for traditional student loans. Check with your lender to make sure your program qualifies before applying.
  • School eligibility. Some certificate programs are offered through Title IV schools, which means they’re eligible for federal aid and most private student loans. But if you’re going to a trade school or community college for your certificate, you may find you aren’t able to borrow from a traditional student loan provider.

Should I sign up for a certificate program?

It depends on your circumstances — both personal and financial. Consider the benefits and drawbacks before committing:

Benefits of a certificate program

  • Advance your career. A certificate program can be the next step to a promotion or a job in a new industry. Having a formal background in your field can help set you apart from other candidates.
  • Reduce costs. Full-fledged degree programs — especially graduate degrees — can cost tens of thousands of dollars. The cost of a certificate program is typically just a fraction of that expense.
  • Smaller time commitment. Like costs, a certificate program takes much less time than pursuing a graduate degree — usually less than a year. If your schedule has less wiggle room, a certificate program may be much more accessible.

Drawbacks of a certificate program

  • Poor return on investment. Although a certificate program can be helpful, it may not be worth the cost if you don’t land a high-paying job or have to pay back loans at a high rate. Ensure your program has a good placement rate and is in an industry you love before enrolling.
  • Lack of accreditation. If you don’t go through an accredited school, your certificate may not be worth what you paid. Check that your program is legit and well respected — and preferably, offered through an accredited institution.
  • May be limiting. A certificate can be useful if you’re trying to get qualified for a certain position, but it won’t expand your job prospects the same way a degree might.

Alternative ways to pay for a certificate program

On top of scholarships, grants and student loans, here are four other ways to pay for a certificate program:

  • Employer funding. If your certificate directly relates to your current job, see if your employer will cover it or reimburse you some of the costs.
  • Payment plan. Depending on your school, you may be able to get on a payment plan that breaks up the cost of attendance into several smaller installments.
  • Income share agreement. Some schools and companies offer income share agreements to students. They cover your cost of attendance, and then you pay them back with a percentage of your income over a few years after you receive your certificate and land a job.
  • Personal loans. After you’ve exhausted all your other options, you might want to consider taking out a personal loan. Many lenders have restrictions on how you can use the funds, so check with yours before you apply.

Bottom line

A certificate program can help you advance your career or make the switch to a new industry. When figuring out how to cover the cost, explore your federal loan options first before turning to private student loans.

Frequently asked questions

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    NormaMarch 11, 2020

    Im seeking for a small loan for a certificate so can start my own business.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoMarch 12, 2020Staff

      Hi Norma,

      Thanks for your comment and I hope you are well. It’s great to know that you are looking to start your own business. You can choose from the student loans on our page for your loan. You can compare by loan amount, APR, term, and eligibility requirements. This way it will be easier for you to see which provider fits you best. If you need further help, guides on borrowing for a certificate program is also stated on the page. As a friendly reminder carefully review the terms and conditions and the product disclosure statement of the lender before applying. You may also contact your lender of choice should you have any questions about their loan requirements.

      Hope this helps and feel free to reach out to us again for further assistance.

      Best,
      Nikki

Go to site