NOC does charge for their guide class. I paid $300 for my class a few years ago, I think they charge about $400 now. In return though, you get lodginging in their cabins(which were quite nice) and all of your meals for the week. The food was excellent. Served family style and all you could eat. I thought the class was well worth the cash. Very informative and fun. We rafted every day all day on the Nantahala and the French Broad. I was actually thinking of taking the class again with my girlfriend next spring. She could use some paddle guide training as she has only run an oar rig, and you can't get much cheaper than $400 for a week of paddling with a room and all you can eat thrown in. Not a bad vacation really. Good luck and have fun!