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How to Pitch Your Boss on Paying for Your Next Certification

Be factual when pitching your boss on paying for a certification.2. Persuade with facts


Preparation is key. It’s essential that you take the time to research and prepare your facts in advance so you can answer any questions your employer may have. Clearly define what you’re asking for and why you’re making the request. Be prepared to respond to questions such as:


What is the total cost involved? This should include the cost of everything you’re requesting that the company cover, including items such as training, exam fees, travel/lodging (if required), or professional association fees.


What is the time commitment? Ensure that you clearly communicate the total time commitment involved, including exam, training, travel, and preparation.


Will productivity be impacted? If you will be off work for training or to sit for the exam, formulate a plan in advance to limit impacts to productivity.


Will this help the organization gain partner status or other benefits? Some certifications have direct benefits to the organization. Be prepared to explain the overall organizational benefits.


Is there a competitive advantage? Document the popularity of the certification in your industry sector, which competitors may use or recognize the cert, and if potential clients look for this credential in selecting service providers.


Remember, your employer is more likely to be persuaded by a well-reasoned argument than by an emotional appeal.  


3. Formulate a proposal


Any request for funding should be conducted from the same perspective as you would for any other business expenditure. The proposal should be high-level but contain enough detail that your decision maker understands:


● The scope of the request
● Why you are making the request
● The total cost in terms of time and resources
● The benefits to the business organization
● Other impacts or benefits


The proposal should include information previously gathered during the research phase. Ensure the proposal addresses items such as how the organization benefits, the ROI to the organization, and the impact to industry standing.


You may also want to explain that certifications enable employees to quickly gain industry knowledge and skills that might otherwise take longer periods of time to accomplish, improve productivity, reduce risk potential, and boost client confidence. Certifications can also a way to attract new or retain existing talent.


Note: Limit the proposal to one page. Always check your organization’s policies and procedures regarding training expenditures and follow those guidelines, if any.


4. Present the proposal


Always provide the decision maker with an opportunity to review the scope of the request before discussing. Prepare a simple email with a brief summary of the request, attach the proposal and forward to your manager. Be certain to follow through with an in-person meeting to discuss.


5. Negotiate


Be open to negotiation and compromise. Your employer may be facing constraints that preclude them from granting your request as initially presented. A willingness to consider alternatives may be the key to success. For example, if a week-long training is required, you might offer to take vacation time off to attend the training if the employer pays the fees.


Alternatively, perhaps the fees could be split. I once obtained approval to attend a key training by offering to teach the materials to my peers. For the next 8 weeks, I held weekly sessions where I shared what I learned with my team. Be open!



Mary Kyle is a freelance technology writer based in Texas.Mary Kyle is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and project manager based in Austin, Texas. Formerly employed in various positions at IBM, Mary has more than 10 years of project management experience in IT, software development and IT-related legal issues.