The Smart About Money website will be retiring on July 31, 2021. Learn more about this decision.


3: Analyze Your Habits

Paying for Training and Education

If it makes sense for you to advance your education or professional development, how will you pay for it? Beyond the initial costs for the training, what about other costs like someone to watch your children, travel expenses, eating out, and follow-up costs for testing, licensing or continued education? If applicable, how will you cover gaps in your employment if you take time off to obtain an education? Are the costs proportional to what you will earn with the additional education and training?

Ways to Pay for Training and Education

  • If you are employed, you should seek funding for training and education from your employer first. Training that helps you perform your job better will benefit your employer too.
  • If you plan to pay for your own education and training:
    • Visit a local job center to find free or low-cost training opportunities in your area. The Department of Labor offers a map to help you locate a center near you.
    • Check for any assistance available to you at the state or federal level.
    • gives you a portal for finding loan information and isolating loans for which you may be eligible.
    • Federal Student Aid loans are available through
    • Search through link at for government benefits, grants or loans for which you may be eligible. Some links direct you to state-level resources as well.
  • Certain training and education may be deducted from taxes. See IRS Publication 970 for details.
  • Use SAM’s Money Basics: Spending and Saving course to create a spending plan, analyze your spending and saving habits, and create a plan for saving for your education.
Light bulb

Analyze the Costs of Additional Training and Education

Use this Costs of Training and Development Worksheet to list some of the costs you know and will need to find out before you sign up for specialized training or college courses.

Costs of Training and Development Worksheet

Add up all your anticipated costs associated with furthering your education and compare them to the salary increase you can expect as a result. Does it pay to pursue the training or coursework that you are considering?

Course Home