Is it normal for a company to ask that you pay for your own training?
June 11, 2009 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Is it normal for a company to ask that you pay for your own training?

Posting this for a coworker:

A friend went to an interview with a security company in Ontario that went well. They told him that in order to start the job he would need to go through a training. The training costs $200 and the badge costs $80, both of which they informed him, that he would have to pay for.

Does this company sound legitimate? Is this a reasonable request for obtaining a security job that supposedly pays $14-17/hour? Is it normal for a company to ask that you pay for your own training or does that sound like a possible scam? Thanks MeFi.
posted by ShadePlant to Work & Money (22 answers total)
No, that is not normal.
posted by shownomercy at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2009

No, it is not normal.
posted by bigmusic at 11:46 AM on June 11, 2009

The question that immediately springs to mind is "who runs the training?" I'm willing to bet that digging would answer "the same person that runs the security company".
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:48 AM on June 11, 2009

Nope, not normal, and actually a pretty good sign of a scam.

(Google "Linuxgruven" and take pity on my poor mother, who sprang for the training about three weeks before the founders took off for some tropical island.)
posted by restless_nomad at 11:52 AM on June 11, 2009

It depends on what the training involves. Are they asking that he be certified by an outside agency (e.g. the state) to be a security guard, or to have specific firearms training, etc.? If the training is something that has nothing to do with the company itself, but is simply a prerequisite for the job, then it's not strange for him to have to pay for it himself (although it would be nice if the company chipped in and/or reimbursed him once he's hired).

As an analogy, if you want to be a truck driver, you are required to have a commercial driver's license, and most companies require you to have it before you apply, so if you go to an interview and they say "You need to have a CDL before you can work for us" you'd have to go pay for it, and the relevant training, yourself (the exception being the bigger trucking companies who offer in-house training).

So, really, in order to answer your question definitively, we'd need more specifics.
posted by amyms at 11:58 AM on June 11, 2009

Actually, amyms and Lemurrhea are correct - the big question is who he'd be paying for the training. If it's the company he'll be working for, then yeah, that's shady. If it's some sort of certification by an outside agency, that's actually fairly standard for many jobs.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:02 PM on June 11, 2009

He needs to look into what the "training" entails. In some places there are certification and/or licensing and bonding requirements to work as a private security guard. It wouldn't be completely out of line for a company to require the employee to cover those costs, especially if it is a part-time gig.

On preview: ditto amyms
posted by indyz at 12:07 PM on June 11, 2009

More info: Friend of friend is from the Dominican Republic on a Canadian work visa for the summer. The company is providing the training but they are apparently accredited by the BBB.
posted by ShadePlant at 12:09 PM on June 11, 2009

The BBB doesn't mean much at all in the States - dunno about Canada.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:15 PM on June 11, 2009

My mother worked as a security guard and was not required to pay for training out-of-pocket or $80 for a badge... what does that even mean? Do they mean a fee for the drug test and security screening?

Here is a link to a similar setup that turned out to be a scam scam in Jamaica, NY.

Here is a somewhat vague report posted to, again in the NY area.

It is reasonable to believe that there is some certificate required from the state before your friend can be hired as a security guard. However, it's also possible that the company is using this fact to scam people. I would take some time to find out if this is a reputable security firm before agreeing to pay any money up-front for certification or "badges".
posted by muddgirl at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2009

Re your follow-up: Are you saying that they are going to make him pay out-of-pocket for their own in-house training before he's hired, or have they agreed to hire him already and they're waiting for him to shell out for the training? Either way, that does sound a little shady, unless it's a certification that's absolutely required by the state (or province in your case) that is transferrable to any other employer in the security field -- but even then, it would be nice if the company reimbursed the cost of the training after some reasonable period, like "If you stay with us for at least a year, we'll refund your training fees."
posted by amyms at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2009

If you post the name of the company, Mefi Sleuths might be able to pull up more information.
posted by muddgirl at 12:19 PM on June 11, 2009

The company is Iron Horse Security.
posted by ShadePlant at 12:42 PM on June 11, 2009

Think about it, logically: You have to pay them for a job, so that they will pay you for doing that job.

Or: They are not seeking qualified individuals, only unqualified individuals that will pay to become qualified for their job.

Sounds scammy to me.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:44 PM on June 11, 2009

Hooboy, yeah, it looks like selling training is a big part of their business model. That's *exactly* what Linuxgruven did, and that was a pure scam.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:45 PM on June 11, 2009

Third link on google

Basically, it's a scam. The $80 bucks is apparently normal in Canada, but the only good thing said about the company was from a guy who was banned (probably for astroturfing...)

Again, it's a scam.
posted by Loto at 12:51 PM on June 11, 2009

Here is a forum topic specifically about Iron Horse security. Pretty much the same things we've said here.

It also provides a link to the form your friend would need to get a security license.
posted by muddgirl at 12:58 PM on June 11, 2009

So, a scam it is then! My coworker and I thank the Hive Mind.
posted by ShadePlant at 1:00 PM on June 11, 2009

The whole "money back guarantee" thing pretty much proves their not a security firm (but rather they provide unnecessary "training" to get a license that anyone can apply for from the government. Why would they hire and train people to fill non-existent positions?
posted by muddgirl at 1:03 PM on June 11, 2009

they are apparently accredited by the BBB.

This is the equivalent of being accredited by my mom. Totally useless.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 2:03 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't know specifically about Ontario, but certainly in Alberta and in BC the law requires your employer to pay you for time spent doing job-specific training, and to include all uniforms (which a badge is part of) free of charge.
posted by randomstriker at 4:08 PM on June 11, 2009

With a different company it might not have been a scam.
In BC atleast most security companies want their guards to be BST 1/2
But they can get that training from any legit place and then it would be good for any security job.

From what I've seen none of the guard companies will pay for it. They only hire people who already have the BST
posted by Iax at 6:52 PM on June 11, 2009

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