Whether and how you ask your boss to pay for professional development depends on several major factors, including whether your company already has a professional development program or similar education reimbursement benefit.
Many companies offer formal programs to sponsor employee development, with clear policies that make the process of securing funds relatively straightforward. Some companies require the education to be relevant to your job, while others allow for study or training in any field of your choosing. Still others, such as Cigna, have their own internal training for leadership development in key areas of the business.
If you’re fortunate enough to work in a company that proactively sponsors employee development with these kinds of programs, familiarize yourself with the offerings and requirements and proceed accordingly.
In exchange for funding your education, some employers will want a written agreement that if you leave the company within a certain period, you’ll pay them back some of the costs.
If your company will cover all of your education costs, it’s time to celebrate and then get to work. If not, you should explore options to fund the remaining cost. Depending on the cost of the program, that can mean cutting back on monthly expenses to include tuition in your budget, asking family for assistance or securing scholarships or student loans.
In the end, you have to be realistic about the impact a professional development program will have on your work-life balance. Any rigorous educational endeavor is going to require a chunk of your time on a consistent basis, and you’ll need to balance your other commitments accordingly. If you’re lucky, your boss may tolerate you spending a small portion of your work time on professional development, but this is by no means the norm.
To mitigate that impact, you can look for a program like those offered at University of Phoenix, which were designed to accommodate adult learners who have other commitments in their lives. (Hello, family, work and friends!)
No matter what kind of program you choose, take the time to check in with your manager, co-workers, family and friends, and be clear about how you’re going to balance your commitments. Proactively making adjustments to incorporate your professional development time into your life in a healthy way will help you to avoid burnout or missed expectations.
UOPX answers the demand for lifelong learning and upskilling in a variety of ways, from degree programs to individual courses to certificates to professional development.
Degree programs: UOPX does more than offer associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields like IT, healthcare and business. It also ensures students are prepared for today’s workplace by aligning its courses with career-relevant skills.
Certificates: Not a degree but more than a course, certificate options at UOPX can often be completed in nine months or less while honing skills in business, education, technology and healthcare.
Individual courses: Not ready to take on an entire degree program? No problem. Upskill strategically by taking individual courses in subjects you can put to work for you today. UOPX students can choose from more than 600 online options!
Professional development: Self-paced, online and non-credit, professional development courses at UOPX home in on real-world skills students can use today. Choose from courses or tracks depending on whether you want to upskill quickly or in some cases prepare to sit for an industry certification.