Merit America Overview

Merit America is a nonprofit organization that provides flexible, affordable training programs in in-demand areas, including IT Support, Data Analytics, and Java Development. Their 14- to 21-week courses are fully remote and cover the foundational skills adult learners need to transition to new jobs in the tech field.

As part of their partnership with Google.org, select programs grant students Google Certificates upon successful completion. Merit America also supports students with career coaching, job placement assistance, and a policy in which students only pay tuition after they’ve completed the program and secured gainful employment that meets minimum salary thresholds.

At A Glance

Merit America At-A-Glance
Website https://meritamerica.org/
Courses Offered IT Support

Data Analytics

Java Development

Course Delivery Method Fully remote – live virtual sessions and online coursework
Length of Courses 14-16 weeks
Time Commitment 25 hours per week

3-5 hours of live virtual sessions + 20 hours of asynchronous coursework

Tuition Policy $0 upfront

Students only pay after completing the course and finding employment that meets minimum salary requirements

Tuition IT Support: $5700

Data Analytics: $5700

Java Development: $8400

Job Placement No guaranteed job placement, but students work with a Job Success Specialist for up to 3 months after program completion to find employment
Certificates Offered Google IT Support Certificate

Google Data Analytics Certificate

 

Merit America Tuition Overview

Tuition for Merit America’s IT Support and Data Analytics bootcamp is $5,700. For the Java Development bootcamp, tuition is $8,400.

Merit America doesn’t charge students tuition upfront. Students only pay after they find gainful employment and meet minimum annual income thresholds. These thresholds are $40,000 for IT Support and Data Analytics students and $50,000 for Java Development students. Payments are paused if a student’s annual income drops below this level, or they lose their job.

Payment obligations are waived after a set period of time (four years for Java Development and five years for IT Support and Data Analytics), regardless of the balance on a student’s account.

Bootcamp Courses Available

IT Support

IT Support

$5,700 | Online | Part-Time | 20 hours per week | 14 weeks | Starts early 2023

Merit America’s IT Support program is a fully remote, 14-week program designed to give students the technical, administrative, customer service, and interviewing skills they need to pursue careers in IT support. Upon successfully completing the course, students receive a Google IT Support Certificate.

Placement Test Required? Yes
Interview Required? Yes
Skill Level Required? Problem-solving and reading ability

 

Java Development

Java Development

$8,400 | Online | Part-Time | 25 hours per week | 21 weeks | Starts early 2024

Merit America’s Java Development program is a 21-week, fully online program that trains students in Java fundamentals like algorithms, SQL, data structures, REST APIs, and design patterns. Students also have the opportunity to specialize through Merit America’s partnership with Tech Elevator. Students receive certification upon successfully completing the course.

Please note: This program is not accepting new enrollments until 2024.

Placement Test Required? Yes
Interview Required? Yes
Skill Level Required? Problem-solving and reading ability

 

Data Analytics

Data Analytics

$5,700 | Online | Part-Time | 20 hours per week | 16 weeks | Starts early 2023

The Data Analytics course at Merit America covers fundamental skills like data types and data structures. It offers opportunities for learning specialized technical skills like programming languages through a partnership with the online learning platform EdX. Students who successfully complete the program receive a Google Data Analytics certificate.

Placement Test Required? Yes
Interview Required? Yes
Skill Level Required? Problem-solving and reading ability

A Typical Week at Merit America

Students enrolled in Merit America’s bootcamps can expect to spend 3-5 hours per week in online sessions with technical and career coaches and 20-25 hours per week completing online coursework.

Live virtual sessions are typically scheduled outside of regular business hours, making them convenient for students who work 9-5 jobs. Online coursework can be completed anytime, according to students’ schedules and availability.

The specific length of courses varies. IT Support takes 14 weeks to complete. Data Analytics takes 16 weeks to complete. Java Development is a 21-week program.

How Signing Up for a Bootcamp with Merit America Works

Merit America’s enrollment process is simple and straightforward.

To create an account, students must enter their email address and phone number and create a password.

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Students then answer a series of questions, including whether they currently work for Amazon, speak English fluently, live and are authorized to work in the U.S., and have reliable access to a laptop or desktop computer. Students must also indicate their highest level of education.

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After confirming these basic eligibility requirements, students will input their name, zip code, desired start term, and approximate income for the last 12 months. They must also confirm that they understand Merit America’s Success Sharing tuition payment policy.

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At that point, students who meet the eligibility criteria are invited to complete a 16-question assessment quiz that evaluates their problem-solving and reading ability.

Students who pass the initial assessment will receive instructions for recording a video interview. This one-way interview consists of three questions designed to assess students’ professionalism, English proficiency, basic technical skills, and interest in the track to which they’re applying.

Interview videos are typically reviewed within 5-7 business days of submission. Students who successfully pass the interview stage are accepted into the program. They receive course-specific pre-work that must be completed before they are considered fully enrolled.

Students who aren’t accepted at any stage can reapply after 30 days by emailing [email protected].

to fulfill job responsibilities, making them more employable and increasing their earning potential.

What We Like About Merit America

Merit America has several features we like, including their industry-standard curriculums, job search support, and no upfront tuition policy.

No upfront cost

Merit America doesn’t charge students tuition upfront. Students only begin making payments after they’ve finished the program and secured a job with an income that meets specific thresholds. After that, tuition is 60 monthly payments of $95 for IT Support and Data Analytics and 24 monthly payments of $350 for Java Development. Payments are suspended if students lose their jobs or their salaries dip below the minimum thresholds. Merit America waives the remaining balances for IT Support and Data Analytics students after five years of payments and four years for Java Development students.

Google partnership

Merit America is a nonprofit career preparation organization funded by Google.org. Google IT professionals develop the coursework so students focus on the specific, in-demand skills they need to find jobs in their respective areas, without wasting time on unnecessary lessons or busy work. The curriculum design prepares students with a solid base of foundational skills before diving deeper into advanced knowledge. Students in the IT Support and Data Analytics programs receive Google certificates upon successfully completing their programs. These certificates signify to potential employers that students have the required knowledge and abilities.

Job search support

Although Merit America doesn’t guarantee job placement, they assist students with job searching during and after their courses. All programs include job interview practice, cover letter and resume writing help, and other professional development training. After the program ends, students move into the 12-week Job Success phase, where they work with a dedicated Job Success Specialist to develop their employment objectives and find a job that meets those criteria. Most job-seeking graduates of Merit America programs find IT-related jobs within three months of completing their programs.

Flexibility and accessibility

Merit America knows its typical students are adult learners with jobs and personal responsibilities. Live virtual sessions with coaches and classmates only take 3-5 hours per week and are usually scheduled during evening hours, so students with day jobs can attend. The majority of coursework is completed asynchronously, allowing students to study and practice according to their availability.

What We Don’t Like About Merit America

We also identified the following areas where Merit America has room for improvement.

No job placement guarantee

Unlike some tech bootcamp providers, Merit America doesn’t guarantee students jobs after completing their programs. They provide students with job search support both during and after the program, and students only pay tuition once they’ve started working at a job that meets a minimum salary threshold. However, some students may want the security of knowing a guaranteed tech job is waiting for them after they commit the time and energy to learn new skills.

Limited course offerings

Merit America’s offerings are currently limited to only three areas of study. Students who want to learn tech skills outside these topics will have to seek that education elsewhere. Merit America’s limited offerings mean that courses quickly reach capacity. For example, their Java Development course is not accepting new students until 2024, which may be a drawback for students looking to switch careers sooner.