Is Climb Hire Legit? How It Works + Real-World Stories
We understand that some aspects of Climb Hire might seem too good to be true:
- Training for a new career with zero upfront cost
- Only starting to pay back when you earn more than $40k
- Official certifications and accreditations, recognized by the tech sector
- Job opportunities, networking, and a supportive community
So, where’s the catch?
Honestly, there isn’t one. In this post, we’ll give you a detailed view into how the whole thing works—and how you can kickstart your tech career with our help.
We know you shouldn’t just take our word for it either. So, we’ve included stories of our alumni who have broken into tech and never looked back.
Climb Hire is a recognized non-profit organization dedicated to preparing low-income and overlooked working adults for a career in tech. Our mailing address is in San Jose, California, and we’re supported by reputable foundations such as Google.org, Foundation for California Community Colleges, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Is Climb Hire legit? Answering the questions we get asked
Prospective Climbers have genuine concerns about whether Climb Hire is legit. That’s totally understandable. We’ve met plenty of people who have been scammed by fake tech online training programs dishing out meaningless certificates. It’s wise to be cautious.
The main questions we get asked about Climb Hire’s legitimacy include:
- Do I get an official certification at the end of the program?
- Are there really no upfront costs? How can this be possible?
- Can I join if I don’t have a college degree?
- Am I guaranteed to get a job at the end of the course?
We’ll answer each of these questions in the following sections of this article. But first, let’s take a quick look at how Climb Hire actually works in practice:
- Apply. Choose a program and apply. All it takes is a couple of minutes.
- Interview. Once we’ve taken a look at your application, we’ll invite you to an interview. You’ll meet our admissions team in a 30-minute conversation, where we’ll discuss the course, your goals and interests, and how everything works. (For some of our programs, we ask you to complete a short assessment, too.)
- Offer and acceptance. If it’s a good fit, you’ll receive an offer to join the program. (Before starting, we’ll need to see some documentation and U.S. work authorization.)
- Begin the program. When the course starts, you’ll join your classes and meet your fellow classmates, teachers, and mentors.
- Career development. From the beginning of the program, you’ll be working with a career development advisor to give you the best chance of landing a job. They’ll always be there to help with your applications.
- Graduation. Once you’ve completed the program, you’ll graduate and join the Climb Hire Alumni Community. You can stay in touch for further career support.
- Pay As You Climb. You don’t pay a dollar up front to join the program. Instead, you’ll only start making payments once you’ve graduated and are earning more than $40k (or $47k if you’re based in California).
What can you expect from a Climb Hire program?
We built Climb Hire to prepare diverse and historically marginalized working adults with the skills they need to work in tech. You’ll receive rigorous training as part of a supportive learning community. But you’ll also be expected to work hard and earn the reward.
As a Climber, you can choose between different programs that provide specific technical skills. Recently these have included Salesforce, paid search marketing, and information technology (IT). Whichever program you decide to follow, you’ll also get training in soft skills; things like interview preparation, CV writing, presentation skills, and more.
Climb Hire isn’t just about the skills, though. Climbers also benefit from being part of a supportive learning community. In fact, 77% say this is one of the most important aspects of Climb Hire to them.
As part of every course, you’ll get:
- Official certification to prove your skills. Depending on the track you choose, this might be Salesforce Admin Certification, CompTIA A+, or something else. They’re all fully-recognized certifications by industry recruiters.
- Training in both technical skills and soft skills, to prepare you best for your profession.
- 24 weeks of online classes. This usually includes two 3-hour classes per week, adding up to a total of 200 hours. Outside of these hours, Climbers typically complete 15 hours of homework assignments.
- Opportunity to work on a real-world capstone project at the end of the course (to test your new skills).
- The support of a community of professionals, peers, and mentors. We recognize that 85% of jobs are gained through networking—making your community a really important part of your career.
- Continuous career development support. From the start of the program, you’ll sit down with a career advisor to discuss your goals and develop your CV. From week 16, you’ll start applying for jobs.
- Access to our private alumni network. You’ll be part of our alumni network for life and benefit from support, advice, and connections to new job opportunities.
- One-on-one career support after graduation. For the first 6 months after graduating, you’ll get individual help from Career Development advisors to support you in your job hunt.
Over 80% of Climbers secured new roles within 6 months of finishing the program.
On average, their income doubled. Before joining Climb Hire, Climbers typically earned $24k. But after the program they were earning $50k+.
For example, Celeste was working as a sorter at Amazon. But after Climb Hire, she joined the Everyday Robotics program at Google—where she earned twice as much as she did before:
Do I get an official certification at the end of my program?
There are scam course providers out there that award you a certificate that has absolutely no value when you go out into the job market (and many of these cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars). But on the other end of the spectrum, Climb Hire programs get you a fully-recognized, approved certification that recruiters will love—at zero upfront cost.
For example, Climbers can be qualified with:
- The official Salesforce Admin certification
- The CompTIA A+ certification
- The Google Ads certification
- The Meta Certified Digital Marketing Associate certification
Typically, you’ll take an exam at the end of whichever course you’re taking. Passing this exam will mean you get the certification, which can then be used as proof of the skills you can offer the tech industry.
Are there really no upfront costs? How can this be possible?
Climbers pay $0 when they start a course with Climb Hire. We’re not in it for the money, and we believe that there shouldn’t be any barriers to entry for Climbers who have the right attitude. Rather than taking upfront payment, we use a “pay-as-you-climb” model. That means when Climbers finish the course, they pay for the cohorts that come after them.
But what does this mean in practice?
You will only pay for your training once you’ve graduated and secured a quality job. That means that you need to be in a role earning $40k or more (or $47k+ in California).
Only then, you’ll begin making monthly payments of $150 a month via our pay-as-you-climb contribution. Typically, this is a 4-year plan, resulting in total payments of $7,200.
You’ll only keep paying if you stay in a role in which you can afford to pay. However, if there’s ever a period of time you’re not making a living wage, your payments will pause. Graduates can also get credits towards their account by mentoring and participating in other Climb Hire programs. This will reduce the amount they have to pay overall.
Alongside the pay-it-forward model, we’re funded by donations from other organizations who value our work. These include Google.org, Breaking Barriers, Foundation for California Community Colleges, and the California Workforce Development Board.
Can I join Climb Hire if I don’t have a college degree?
Climb Hire is a non-profit organization designed specifically to help working adults who may not have other official recognition of their talent.
That’s why you don’t need to have completed a degree, or ever started college, to join Climb Hire. Instead, we just want to see that you have the right attitude and commitment to finish the program and build a career in tech.
When you apply for a Climb Hire program, we’ll discuss your experience, your interests, and your goals. This way, we can understand whether we’re a good fit for each other.
“I was raised in a low-income community. I know that’s what I was born in, but I have the ability as an adult to change it to wherever I want to go,” says Climb Hire graduate, Virginia Lara. “Climb Hire makes it possible to be where you want to be when you grow up.”
Am I guaranteed to get a job at the end of the course?
80% of Climb Hire graduates get good jobs after completing their programs. Climbers now work at companies such as IBM, Gusto, Salesforce, PatientPop, Fastly, Arkus, and other tech brands—in roles such as marketing, sales, content, customer experience, and robotics.
On average, the salaries of Climbers double, while in some cases, graduates earn 3 times as much as they were earning before. Typically, they earn $40–80k from their starting roles.
It’s important to note that we don’t guarantee job placement, though. However, as you only start paying Climb Hire when you start earning over $40k, it’s in our interest to give you the best possible support and job preparation.
To do that, we provide:
- Training in soft skills, including interview preparation, support in writing the best possible CV, and presentation skills. This forms a fundamental part of every Climb Hire program.
- Networking and a professional community. Throughout your Climb Hire program, you’ll be part of a huge network of professionals, mentors, peers, and alumni. Not only do they give support throughout, but they’re often a source of opportunities later on. And after graduating, you can stay as part of the alumni network forever.
- Continued career development and advice. From the very beginning of your program, you’ll get dedicated one-on-one career advice. Even once you’ve graduated, we offer career support for 6 months.
- Structured encouragement to apply for work. After you graduate, we ask that you apply to at least 20 entry-level jobs a week and will support you to reach that goal. This really increases your chances of securing a job.
While we can’t guarantee that you’ll get a job, the combination of structured support, career advice, technical training, and soft skills gives you the best preparation possible for a tech career. For example, Sisanda Ntlantsana used to work at Starbucks and as an au pair. She swapped these two jobs for a role as a program associate at Common Group:
“I worked two jobs just to make a minimum wage,” she says. “I am currently in a great job right now that pays me 5 times what I was earning before. Here I am today earning a middle-class income.”
Another of our alumni, Elysia Brewster, was a substitute teacher before working with Climb Hire. Now, she’s a loan consultant associate at Better:
“I always felt that my lack of higher education would prohibit me from getting a good job. At times, I was even uncomfortable engaging with educated white people. I’ve worked since I was 15 years old, barely making ends meet,” she explains.
“Through Climb Hire I was able to learn skills that would help me secure and land a great job. Thankfully, I am able to provide for my children and pave the way.”
With Climb Hire, you can gain training in tech, just like Sisanda and Elysia.