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Training costs: What are you getting for your dollars?

Apr 26, 20063 mins
Data CenterIT Skills

* New Horizons responds to training cost issue

You’ll remember a couple of weeks ago we discussed paying for training and whether IT professionals foot the bill themselves or if their employers paid for continuing education. I talked about the responses I received from a few readers who said that tech courses at training centers were overpriced given that you can get “a full rounded curriculum” at colleges for around the same price (see readers’ comments here). I invited training centers to respond to those comments. I heard nothing.

So I pinged a couple of the big training providers and I heard back from New Horizons. According to info on its Web site, New Horizons operates its own and franchised training centers, with more than 260 centers in 56 countries. It has a network of 2,100 classrooms and 2,400 instructors.

Mark Tucker, vice president of marketing at New Horizons, acknowledged that “technical training is not cheap,” but said it was incorrect to compare training centers to technical courses offered by colleges.

He said: “New Horizons is able to offer courses at the leading edge of technology because we partner with the vendors that develop the technology. New Horizons holds the designation of being the largest network provider for many of the technical and certification vendor programs. Our participation in these programs gives us access to official curriculum which ensures that the training we provide to our students utilizes the most up-to-date and comprehensive information available in the industry.”

Tucker says it costs training centers and instructors to be authorized and certified by vendors to provide the education required to help prepare students for the vendors’ certification exams.

He said that New Horizons provides a number of services that are unlikely to be provided by colleges, such as virtual labs stocked with real equipment that students can access for six months following the completion of the course; an electronic version of the most current courseware available for six months after course completion that students can download and keep; “eLearning Content” – “interactive, multimedia tutorials … that mimic the application without needing the software loaded”; and exam simulations.

Tucker noted that 25% of New Horizons’ students pay for the education themselves (the balance are sponsored by their employers). He could not be specific about course pricing as franchisees set their own prices. However, he did indicate that of the Microsoft offerings, franchisees have offered a one day class for between $270 and $300, compared to a list-price of $425 a day.

He said: “New Horizons understands that many of our students require help financing their education and we are able to provide financial assistance to qualified students. Our Consumer Learning Program also offers career development support such as job placement activities and interviewing skills.”

I get the sense that franchisees could be open to negotiation on prices, particularly if you participate in numerous training days with them or if there are a few of you who could attend together for possible group discounts. Also, Tucker said the pricing may be set according to supply and demand, and so you may find different prices for the same courses at different locations.