Frequently Asked Questions

Certificates differ from other kinds of market credentials. Certificates are often misunderstood and confused with certifications or licensing, which are usually regulated by a third-party governing body or government agency. The essential difference between a certifi­cate and a license/certification is that the certificates are earned in a classroom. Licenses/certifications are awarded based on performance on a test, licensing fees, and other regulatory considerations. Certificates more closely resemble condensed highly focused degrees. They are awarded mainly by public schools or private, non-degree-granting institutions like ESI, basically technical trade schools.

ESI Certificates are sought by several groups:

  • Lifelong learners enhancing mid-career skill sets or reinventing themselves.
  • Private sector government employees with a background in Law Enforcement.
  • Military Service looking to transition into private sector security/protective services.
  • Individuals seeking entry-level opportunities.
  • Students looking to enhance a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with a highly focused Certificate Program.
Certificate Value comes in a few different measurable aspects. Brian Bosworth of FutureWorks stated in his report, “Certificates Count:  An analysis of Sub-baccalaureate Certificates,” a report commissioned by Complete College America, that, “not only are better employment prospects a benefit of certificate training programs but it is estimated that each additional year of education equates to an increase in income.” He goes on to mention that Certificates are a “too often underutilized strategy, but one that can deliver greater income returns than associate and even some bachelor’s degrees.”  With the most important aspect being that not just the certificate, but the skill sets mastered in the earning of the certificate can position graduates for immediate workforce success while establishing a solid foundation for future academic achievement. Overall, the message from Mr. Bosworth is that high-quality certificate programs, like those offered at ESI, “can significantly boost the likelihood of student academic and career success.”
This theme is echoed by, Jamie P Merisotis, President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, when he states, “Researchers say that, in addition to providing immediate and tangible payoffs in the labor market, sub-baccalaureate credentials often serve as stepping stones for students to reach higher-level postsecondary degrees.”
Finally, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce produced a paper, “Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees.” In this paper, there are several enlightening observations. “On average, certificate holders earn 20% more than high school graduates without any postsecondary education. However, the economic returns vary according to, the certificate’s field of study, and whether the certificate holder works in the field.” The report goes on to say, “Some certificate holders’ earnings are comparable to workers with college degrees. For example, 39% of male certificate holders earn more than the median male worker with an associate’s degree, and 24% earn more than the median male Bachelor’s degree holder.” To further emphasize this point a report on Illinois’ community colleges found that certificates similar to those offered at ESI provided an $8,436 premium on immediate annual earnings.
Specifically, the reasons for such a strong showing for certificate holders when compared to their counterparts with higher level post-secondary degrees are the skill focus training, and the high number of certificate holders working within the field that their certificate program prepared them for. These courses are presented, not just by instructional staff, but by adjunct faculty that are both practitioners in the security and protection industry and instructors. This depth of experience and real-world perspective offers expertise and hands-on approaches to the classroom. Through the ESI Certificate Programs, all of the students gain a skill set to immediately go to work in their chosen discipline.
One study of the impact and impressions of certifications among HR professionals, (the individuals that do the hiring) showed that these professionals place a high premium on the certification because it reflects the practical and professional experience of the certificate holder, shows a commitment to lifelong learning, and helps with career advancement.
According to survey results, certification is preferred over other credentials (certificate, undergraduate degree, graduate degree) in nine out of 10 dimensions studied:
  •  Experience-based;
  •  Value for the money;
  •  Practically and professionally oriented;
  • Providing a commitment to lifelong learning;
  • Flexible and customizable;
  • Providing both global and local learning;
  • Providing networking opportunities;
  • Providing a positive return on investment; and
  • Helping career advancement at a low cost.
Now this survey was conducted by the HR Certification Institute for the Society for Human Resources Management, but as the professional body that usually takes the first look at a resume I believe it is very reflective as to how a certificate is perceived by those looking to do the hiring, and clearly they hold it in high regard because of the focus on real world practical application skills.
In summation, Certificate programs are highly respected, and provide skills that can help the holder immediately find an employment opportunity, and earn a good income that is in some cases competitive with much higher levels of education because of its specific skills-based instructional focus.
Bottom line……a Certificate is good for your bottom line!

Tuition covers your course cost, classroom supplies, school uniforms, ammunition in 9mm for
pistols, carbines in .223 and rifle ammunition in .308 ** Ammunition supplied depends on what course or courses
you are enrolled in.**

Yes, we do accept student loans through Sallie Mae.

Training is located in Grand Junction, Colorado.

This will depend on which VA Education Benefit you are eligible for. For more information please visit   ** We have no control over when the VA pays your BAH so plan accordingly**

No, we do not do job placement. However, we do support you in your search for a job, and that starts in the classroom. We teach blocks of instruction on how to market yourself, resume writing, as well as common pitfalls to avoid.

We also do resume reviews in the office where we can assist you in formatting your resume. As a graduate, you will have access to our private job posting board where we post about 100 jobs a month. You will also have networking opportunities in the course as well as at our annual conference. Check out this video for more.

We do not offer payment plans for our Residency programs.

We do work with Sallie Mae for student loans, you can apply on their site at

No, we do not do physical fitness testing. As a guideline, if you are able to stand, walk, run for short distances, and move or lift 50 lbs you will be good to go.

On average our students spend about $150.00 per week on food. You know your meal preferences best so plan a realistic budget that you will be comfortable with during training.

ESI vehicles will be provided for training exercises and transportation to and from the shooting range.  ESI vehicles will not be available for personal use.

ESI has negotiated rates at the Grand Vista Hotel, 2790 Crossroads Blvd. Grand Junction, CO 81506. You are welcome to stay wherever you like, but please be aware that if you choose not to stay at the Grand Vista you will be responsible for your own daily transportation to the classroom.

You must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED to attend the Residency training.

There is no maximum age limit.

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