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Skills are the new currency

Claire Wilson, 7 minute read

Despite a variety of factors causing uncertainty in the job market, from inflationary pressures to the stock market, one constant is the persistent need for highly skilled employees. It has never been a better time to invest in your professional advancement to give yourself a sense of security. And the most cost-effective way to do that is with your company’s tuition reimbursement program. 

Many companies offer tuition reimbursement programs that pay for some or all of the fees associated with your educational endeavors. Depending on your company policy, this could include funding or partial funding of undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, business certifications, and more. You will need to check your company’s guidelines and see if there are limitations on this policy’s use

What are the benefits to workers for participating in tuition reimbursement programs?
Taking advantage of your company's available tuition reimbursement programs can give you the leg-up that you need to advance your career. In this ever-changing labor market and economy, workers must consistently upscale their credentials and skills to compete. According to a Bright Horizons study, 82% of respondents felt that the skills or degree that they acquired by using a tuition reimbursement program allowed them to become a more effective employee, while 84% feel that they became better prepared for the ever-changing future of work.

An Accenture and Lumina study discovered that employees who took part in a tuition reimbursement program were 21% more likely to receive a promotion and see a 40% wage increase within three years. If you want to advance your role and increase your pay within your existing organization in a cost-effective way, making use of a tuition reimbursement program is the right move for you.

Using tuition reimbursement for certification programs can offer you an overwhelming sense of value. According to Certification Magazine's 2022 release, 41% of those surveyed reported receiving a promotion within the first year of being certified, and 56% confirmed receiving a pay increase. Additionally, a Pearson Vue study discovered that 91% of hiring professionals stated that evidence of professional certification is an essential factor in hiring.

However, many employees are unaware that their employers offer tuition reimbursement, and even fewer take advantage of it. Data reveals that although about 80% of adults want to go to school, only 40% are aware of the existing programs at their company, and only 2% participate in an employee assistance program.

What are the benefits to companies offering tuition reimbursement programs?
Despite the daunting investment, tuition reimbursement programs can offer many benefits to companies. Such programs can save the company money by reducing employee turnover and increasing hiring from within. The average cost of hiring a new employee from outside an organization is $4,425, or $14,936 for an executive. These numbers include the cost of training, completing interviews, new hire orientation and more. On the other hand, a promoted individual who has increased their value while working at the organization through a tuition reimbursement program generates very little cost.   Additionally, offering such programs is more cost effective for organizations than it initially seems. The money that organizations spend on employee education expenses can be deducted from taxes – up to $5,250 per employee, each year, according to the IRS

Employees are also more likely to be drawn to and stay at companies that offer professional development opportunities. For example, a survey conducted by EdAssist found that 60% of those interviewed would choose a job that offered strong professional development opportunities over one that offered regular pay raises. Workers do recognize the larger, longer-term benefits of development and education over short-term increases in pay.

How can you best take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs?
First, determine whether your company offers such programs. If a tuition reimbursement program is an existing benefit, make a note of the conditions associated with it – how much the organization covers, whether only certain courses are eligible for reimbursement, and whether you must achieve a specific result on a course to be actually granted the reimbursement. Additionally, you should check whether you need to stay with the company for a certain amount of time after receiving a reimbursement, and whether reimbursement is only granted if you have already been with the company for a certain time.

Next, have a conversation with your manager or an HR representative if you have further questions or want to begin participating in the program. When you’re on a reimbursement program, you should plan thoroughly, take note of important deadlines, and ask questions frequently to resolve any issues as they arise. 

Tuition reimbursement programs are often referred to as "free money" that can be used to advance your career, so why not utilize this opportunity fully?

What are the opportunities for tuition reimbursement with Pega certifications?
Depending on your company's guidelines for tuition reimbursement, one fantastic way to use their tuition reimbursement program is through Pega certification and training opportunities. Check your company's policies now to see whether Pega certifications are eligible for tuition reimbursement.
Pega offers a variety of certifications spanning Business Architect, System Architect, Data Scientist, and Decisioning Consultant. Pega offers different forms of training based on your learning style and time availability. Public and private instructor-led training gives students interactive lessons, including hands-on exercises, use cases, and immediate feedback from a certified Pega instructor through either a University Program, Workforce Development, or Authorized Training Partner. For more information about Pega's Instructor-Led Training, visit the Pega Mentored Training website.

Another cost-effect method of building your skills towards a Pega Certification is through Pega Academy. This training platform offers abundant learning opportunities, done at your own pace and free of charge. Although this learning style is less interactive, it is perfect when you are tight on time and would rather complete training over a drawn-out period. 

In the Fall of 2022, Pega is offering a free in-person certification drive in many cities around North America, Europe and Australia. Check to see if there are any available dates near to you.


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About the Author

Claire Wilson was a Developer Marketing Summer Intern at Pegasystems in 2021 and 2022. She is currently in her third year of University at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Commerce with a specialization in Marketing.

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