I signed up for the Tech Club, which cost about $12,000, in 1998. This meant I could take any course in the period of one year. The salesman there told me what a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer [MCSE] could make, and that a Certified Novell Engineer [CNE] certification would do even more. I foolishly signed up. Did they sign me up for courses? No, after 2 months, I had to go in and dictate what courses I was taking when, figuring out what I had to do - they offered no counselling once I paid out my money. I complained to the owner, later, and he asked me if the instructors were good. I said they were, and they were.
Here's the problem. The Microsoft courses suck, they are really bad. At that time, you had to pass 6 different exams, to get the MCSE. The exams borrowed from different courses, though, which meant you had to take all the courses to hope to pass the exams. Did I mention the exams cost $100, then, per exam, pass or fail? I think it's $200 now. And they are set up to fail even experienced network engineers, and some of them failed the exams. Well, I took all the courses, using vacation time, and evenings. But wait, the tests are set up so you have to have a lot of on the job experience, to pass them. Isn't the point of paying out money for education so you can get the knowledge to pass the tests, and then get the job? Even people already doing the job found the Microsoft tests hard. The Novell courses were better, but Novell was on the way out even then. None of this was explained to me upfront. With a salesman paid mostly on commission, that's no surprise. Used car dealers are a lot more honest than the salespeople there.
Also, Microsoft really rips you off, on text cost, I was paying like $200+ for the books and stuff for just one course. 10 years ago. I ended up paying out around $15,000 or so, for the tuition and books alone, not counting gas, and vacation time. For nothing. And there really wasn't much I could do about it. They have another cute deal. They told me up front about all the courses you can take, and show you a schedule. But if not enough students sign up, they cancel the course. So, I missed out on several courses I really wanted, because they were never offered during the year I had. I pointed this unfairness out, to a rep, who signed me up for these courses, but outside my year. The boss found out, and fired her, and told me I couldn't go. It seems she should have gotten $5,000 more out of me, to extend for 6 months, and they asked me for $5,000 more.
I complained to the owner. He had no interest, of course. I will say he at least listened. He did give me 2 toothbrushes, in response to my complaint. I gave one to my sister, and still keep the other one, as a reminder of this humongous ripoff. It had a nice springy handle, and was better than what I had. I heard many other students complain.
One guy had been told he could get Novell certified, and get a good paying job right after. It didn't happen for him. Well, the salesman lied. By way, MCSE certification is much harder to get, now. It's not like I don't enjoy courses, or books, or studying, I have a M.A. from New York University. But they were equal opportunity ripoff artists, they had no problem ripping off truck drivers, laid off factory workers, women, and everyone else. My US Army recruiter was far, far more honest than their salesman, and that is really saying something. I will say the instructors were good. But that doesn't mean much, does it, with everything else. I talked to a lawyer, who said that I probably wouldn't get far, as they had provided the education they had contracted to provide. I did get a bonus education, though, in ripoff science.