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Employer Paid Training, is it good to accept?

A lot of times especially being in IT there are training that is needed because of a change in requirements for a specialty, a new skill is needed, or for various other reasons. For example a new certification is required to continue to do your job. I had to recently take a new exam in order to obtain a certification to continue with my current role. This certification is necessary for my job however, I made the choice of paying for the training, studying,  and taking the exam to earn the certification on my own, that is without the employer paying for it.

The question I like to address in this article is whether as an employee you should seek out, and/or accept employer paid training.

My answer is no. However it is not "no" in all cases. 

Here are some cases to consider:

1.  A certification is involved. If a certification is involved, keep in mind that it ultimately will go with you if you leave and your employer knows this as well. If they pay for the training which in this example results in a certification the employer may make it clear that you are to "stay" or "work" for them for a minimum amount of time or pay them back. If this is OK with you, and you value your job then you may be OK with saying Yes in this case, if not think about passing this up, or negotiating.

2. The certification is necessary for your job. Being in this field for over 19 years I have encountered many different situations. One of the hardest situation I encountered was one where I needed a certification to do a particular job. Though I knew if I studied on my own I could take the exam and earn the certification, however I accepted the employer paid training. Well long story short I did not pass the exam for the certification, and they made it very difficult for me. Looking back I would of declined.

3. A conference. Sometimes the employer may want you to go to a conference or you may in fact be interested in going to a conference. This came up for me in the past and I again preferred to do the conference on my own that is cover the funds for it myself. However in general this would be something I would be more flexible on and wouldn't mind if the conference is paid for by the employer.

4. Training is for general knowledge. Let's be honest no employer would pay for training just for the fun of  it, they expect you to somehow use that training for some type of contribution to the "team" you are part of.  So with this in mind this is an area where employer training is fine and since the employer is paying for the training as it is necessary for the job and there are no certifications involved that would put  my job in jeopardy I would be fine with accepting this.

5. Training is required and there is no option for "self funding".  I have rarely encountered one of these situations however it is clear that there is one choice to accept, if you would like to keep your current role with your employer.  Accept it.

In summary as an IT Professional or as a professional for that matter, our careers should never be dictated by the employer, we should be willing to take training, which may include a certification on our own, after all it is our career, and in most cases the credentials but especially the knowledge garnered goes with us.  One of the phrases I like to use is to "fund your own education when feasible".

Leave us a comment tell us what you think.