Have you been trying to get financial aid to go to college or vocational school and have hit a brick wall because you have a felony?
For someone with a felony, there are two main problems with getting a formal education or certificate:
1. Its toooo expensive, especially because most financial aid grants and loans are not available to felons.
2. It takes very long to finish a degree or a certificate program
If you have been breaking your head trying to figure out how to learn a valuable skill or profession that will allow you to make a decent living, you are not alone. There are millions of people in the world who want to acquire skills, but can’t afford to pay for formal education. However, there is a great alternative, that you may not have considered: online education!
Now, we are NOT talking about online colleges, or distance learning programs sponsored by colleges, all of which are often useless and also expensive. Today, you can actually take online courses that are focused on a particular skill you want, for example learn to code HTML, and do not cost a fortune.
Also read: College Degrees for Felons Guide
There is a website called UDEMY, which has thousands of courses in pretty much any industry you can think of, so you can learn anything under the sun. You can do it at home, with your computer, at your own pace. Once you download a course, you can listen to it as many times as you need to learn the material.
There are other websites, that also offer inexpensive training courses, but we find that Udemy offers the best variety and quality for a very reasonable price.
What is so great about Udemy courses?
Udemy courses are so great because they are created by pros, someone who has a particular skill and has worked in a specific industry for a very long time, sits down a writes a course that helps others gain his knowledge. Good courses on Udemy are free of bull shit, they are jam packed with practical knowledge, theory and exercises, and the instructor walks you through learning a new skill. Instructors have a great incentive to produce top quality courses, because the better their course, the more people download it, the more he gets paid.
How to Pick the Right Course on Udemy?
Here is what you need to do to get the right courses that will help you learn fast and will not waste your time and money.
1. Pick a field or a skill you want to learn. If you already know a specific skill, for example: UI Design in Photoshop, type it into search, and you will get a list of courses that teach this. However, if you are not sure, but have a general sense that you are interested in, marketing, for example; search for it, and browse through all the course that come up (there will be many!!)
Also read: Freelancing Jobs For Felons
2. Try a Free Course. Before you pay money for a course, try one or two courses for free (there are many of those) in an industry that interests you. If you like the courses and feel like you are ready to learn more in depth, get a course that costs money.
3. Only buy top rated courses. When you are browsing courses, look for ones that are the most popular (have at least a few hundred downloads). These courses will give you the best bang for your buck.
4. Avoid cheap courses. If you really want to learn something valuable, you need to be willing to pay a little more. An instructor that charges $20-30 dollars for a course did not spend many hours putting it together and he is not going to teach you something very practical or valuable that you can actually use in a new job. On the other hand, if a course costs $100-200 or more, it is likely to give you the depth of knowledge that you need.
While a few hundred dollars is a lot of money and you may need to start saving up for this course, it is still significantly cheaper than all other types of courses or skill-training.
5. Carefully read the course description and reviews before purchasing. The description will tell you who this course is for, what it will teach, what the curriculum is. Its very important to read reviews, because they will tell you whether or not people actually learned something.
6. Watch the FREE preview. each course allows you to watch a short preview for free to see if you like it. Its a great idea, because if you happen to not like the face of the instructor or his accent, or anything else, you will waste your money and not learn anything. There are many instructors on Udemy whose first language is not English and they speak with an accent, so its really important to make sure that you actually understand what they are saying:)
7. Once you take you first course, don’t stop there. To really learn a new skill, especially if you have no prior knowledge or experience, you will need to take at least 3 more course. If you really liked the instructor, check out his other courses on the same subject, or branch out and try someone else.
What are some examples of what I could learn on Udemy?
To give you sense of the great variety and quality offered on Udemy, here is a list of popular courses in top industries (this is where the money is these days). By far, the quality if instruction you can get here greatly exceed anything you can get at a community college or vocational school. Many people, even ones without a felony, who graduate from community college programs do not have enough real skills to get or actually keep a job.
Also read: IT Jobs For Felons
Some of IT jobs that felons can get: sys-admins, software engineers, network administrators, DB admins, etc.
These jobs often offer remote work options, where you don’t need to go to office, and can be more lax on your felony conviction.
Below are LIST prices for best courses. However, most of these are usually on sale for $10-15 each … like most of the time!
1. Web Development
“The Web Developer Bootcamp” – $200
“Learn and Understand AngularJS” – $175
“Accelerated Java Script Training” – $110
2. Mobile Apps
“iOS 10 & Swift 3: From Beginner to Paid Professional” – $200
“Learn to Code by Making Games – The Complete Unity Developer” – $195
“Ionic 1: From Web to Mobile”- $180
3. Programming Languages
“PHP for Beginners -Become a PHP Master – Project Included” – $200
“Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from zero to hero in Python” – $195
4. Design Tools
“Adobe After Effects: The Complete Guide to After Effects” – $200
“Canva: Beginners Guide” – $100
“Photoshop for Beginners” – $95
5. Social Media Marketing
“Social Media Marketing 2017 – Learn PPC on 10+ Platforms” – $120
“Facebook Ads & Facebook Marketing Mastery Guide 2017” – $120
“Social Media Marketing 2017 – Complete Certificate Course” – $100
I have taken a bunch of courses on Udemy, how do I get a job?
Once you have taken a few courses and now feel confident in your newly acquired skill, you are ready to look for a freelancing job online! That is right, you don’t need to try to get a job at a brick and mortar company, where they will ask you to do a background check and ask humiliating questions about your conviction.
There is plenty of work that pays well online, as long you have the necessary skills and are willing to work hard on the projects you lend. No one will know or care about your criminal record and having a felony will not prevent you from lending a job. The top places to find online freelancing work are upwork.com and freelancer.com.
Once you start making your online profile, it will ask you for samples of your work, and this is when you will be really happy you have taken all these courses on Udemy!! Because, you will actually have samples of work you have done to complete homework assignments for the courses you took, and now you will put them to use to lend a great job.
Also read: Jobs that hire felons – complete guide
If IT jobs are not for you, there are many other fields where you can find work with a conviction – trucking, construction, factory jobs, etc.
This list also includes companies that WILL hire felons, regardless of their convictions.
Free College Courses online
As an option you may take advantage of a collaborative program by top US Universities called EdX
EdX is a free college education program by MIT, Harvard, Berkley, BU, etc. This program offers MANY great college courses for free, with real Harvard/MIT/etc professors, taught online, in real college settings.
You follow the class and test schedule that real students would, and take same exams. If you don’t pass – you fail, and don’t get the credits.
I believe these are real college credits that are transferable – meaning if you do decide to go to college, you may be able to transfer these credits! You should verify this however, with the admissions office of the college you may attend.