Watermark Learning Blog

Certification Paid Training

Continuing education in our profession is an excellent way to develop our role and further our careers. However, receiving a certification can often prove challenging. Finding the funds and spending the time required to get a certification is especially difficult while working a full-time position.

In most cases, it’s worth reaching out to our employers to see if they will assist in the process – both financially and in terms of flexibility. We know this conversation can be somewhat daunting. However, there are several steps we can take to make this request less intimidating and more likely to be accepted.


Make it about the organization

When asking the organization to pay or help pay for the certification, it is important to show the benefits to the organization. In other words, we need to be clear about why this certification is worth pursuing and how it will help the company. Stating financial benefits, including return on investment (ROI), is helpful. We need to show that by becoming a more knowledgeable professional, we will be better equipped to serve the organization and its bottom line. We will likely not succeed if we simply claim that our certification will help the organization. We need to back up this claim with facts. Meaning, of course, that we need to do enough research to prove our point. Many professional associations can help, since they publish related statistics or articles on their websites. Such well-researched requests make the certification less about us and more about the advantages to our companies.[i]


Be specific about impact to our job

It is helpful to lay out specifically how becoming certified will impact to our job. And the more information we can provide, the more likely we will have of a positive outcome.

Here are three examples of different levels of specificity.

  1. Little specificity

For example, if we ask for time to prepare for a certification, we’re apt to be met with all variations of “why.”


Me the requester: I’d like to get certified.

My boss: Why?


  1. Still not specific

For example, if we ask for time off work to prepare, we’re apt to be met with all variations of “no way.”


Me: I’d like to get certified for these reasons. . .

My boss: How long will it take?

Me: From the research I’ve done, it usually takes about 100 hours to study after the prep course. That includes taking practice exams.

My boss: No way.


  1. More specific

For example, if we state that getting this particular certification usually requires x amount of time and state how it will impact our job, we have a better chance of acceptance.


Me: I’d like to get certified for these reasons. . .

My boss: How long will it take?

Me: From the research I’ve done, it usually takes about 100 hours to study after the prep course. That includes taking practice exams. The training course is 35 hours and I can get CEUs. Training is stated as one of my personal development goals, and I’d like to use the time to get certified. In addition, I plan to study at home, at night and on the weekends, so it shouldn’t disrupt any of my deadlines, which I understand have higher priority.




Know when to ask

As with much of life, timing is everything when placing our request. Raising the question during a time of peak performance or following a positive review is likely to yield a better response than doing so during a period of struggle. It’s important that we are perceived positively during any compensation discussion, including this one.


Follow Through

The last and most important step to this process is to follow through by earning your certification and using it to benefit the organization. This not only shows your ability to deliver on a promise but also makes your employer more likely and willing to assist you with further education in the future.

At Watermark, we know the value of business and leadership education. We help professionals achieve their BRMP®, CBAP, CCBA, CSM, CSPO, ECBA, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, and PMP certifications through practical and engaging prep courses and products. Our expert instructors are highly active in their respective fields and are here to help you reach your full business potential. That is not a task we take lightly. We are equipped for your success.

For more information or to start learning, contact us today.

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[i] For example, IIBA has a section of its website devoted to career development, with articles such as why organizations should hire certified business analysts. http://www.iiba.org/Learning-Development/knowledge-centre/career-development.aspx



BRMP® is a registered trademark of Business Relationship Management Institute.

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