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How To Convince Your Boss to Pay for A Certification

This post was guest written by Amy Jauman, Chief Learning Officer for the National Institute for Social Media

How do you convince your boss to pay for your certification?

Have you been kicking around the idea of getting a certification but got stuck when it came time to pay for it? A great place to start is researching what your organization will reimburse – even if they don’t have a formal reimbursement program! Try the following techniques to secure full or partial coverage of certification prep courses, exam fees, and even re-certification when the time comes.

Know what funding is already available

A lot of employers have professional development funding that their employees don’t even know about. Read your employee handbook or ask your HR representative for options that pertain to your job role. If there is an existing program, be sure to grab the details. It’s important to understand any restrictions that may exist, as well as timelines for reimbursement.

Focus on how the certification will help your team 

Because we begin this journey with our own professional development in mind, it can be easy to only talk about your personal gain when asking for financial support from your organization. Instead of saying, “I want to become certified social media strategist so I can advance my team,” try saying, “I want to get certified as a social media strategist so I can take on more responsibility associated with strategic planning for our digital presence.”

Ask the program provider for support materials

Whoever is issuing the certification you’re interested in likely has content that can help you complete a professional request for reimbursement. If they can share a detailed explanation of the course and certification content, industry statistics that support the value of the certification, or testimonials from happy certified professionals, you can write an incredibly persuasive argument with very little effort!

Be prepared to address concerns (but don’t introduce them unnecessarily)

You probably know your boss and your work environment well enough to predict what concerns they will have. Be prepared to address those concerns, but don’t bring any of them up unless you are sure leaving them unaddressed will be an issue in the future. For example, you might think your boss will worry that you’ll need to leave early some nights and that the department doesn’t have the funding. You may bring up the certification course you’re interested in and they may say, “Hm…that looks interesting. Do you close for us most night during the week or has Diane been taking care of that?” That’s a pretty strong clue that they’re concerned about your work schedule, so you could reply by talking about your schedule and assuring them your work commitment wouldn’t be affected. But if you don’t have any reason to be concerned about the potential budget restraint, just stop talking! There’s no reason to give them something to worry about!

Be confident

Your professional development is worth fighting for! Get yourself organized and make your case for taking your goals to the next level with your supervisor’s support.

If you're interested in learning more about how your organization can benefit from digital credentials, fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.