Tuition reimbursement is a benefit that many organizations offer their employees. Generally, the coursework the employee pursues focuses on a job-related topic or supports his or her skills and career path within the organization.
Depending on your employer, reimbursement may be provided up to a certain amount annually, or even cover your entire education. Employers often require their employees to maintain a specified GPA and make a commitment to stay employed by the company for a certain period of time following reimbursement.
If you’re interested in pursuing tuition reimbursement, your first step is to find out if your employer has an existing policy, and whether you are eligible. During your research, pay special attention to what types of programs are qualified under your employer’s tuition reimbursement policy.
Why Take Courses in Addiction and Recovery?
Substance use disorders are on the rise in the U.S., and the opioid epidemic continues to be a major public health problem. As the number of individuals affected by substance use increases, so grows the demand for professionals with specialized knowledge in addiction and recovery who are uniquely equipped to treat them. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently estimates that jobs for substance use, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors will grow 22 percent by 2028.
If Your Employer Has a Tuition Reimbursement Policy
Review your employer’s tuition reimbursement policy to confirm your eligibility and ensure that UF’s online Graduate Certificate in Addiction and Recovery is covered. After applying to the program and being admitted, your next step will be to fill out any forms and provide any documentation that your employer’s policy requires. Contact your supervisor or human resources representative with any questions.
The information most commonly required by an employer’s tuition reimbursement policy includes:
- name of school
- type of program
- list of courses being submitted for reimbursement, including department, course name and number, number of credits and instructor name
- course start date
- course end date
- explanation of how the courses will relate to your job
- grades (following completion of course)
If Your Employer Does Not Have a Tuition Reimbursement Policy
Some employers do not offer a tuition reimbursement benefit. If that’s the case, consider submitting a formal proposal to your direct supervisor explaining how sponsoring your education would be beneficial to your employer.
How to Create a Successful Tuition Reimbursement Proposal
To make a convincing case to your employer for tuition reimbursement, list the company’s relevant professional objectives in your proposal and show how your desired program of study relates to them.Read through the syllabus for each class to get an idea of how you could help your organization grow or improve, and present that information to your supervisor. You will also need to address the cost of the program, your commitment to the organization and how they will benefit from your studies.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the benefits of our online addiction and recovery graduate certificate program. These benefits can provide a helpful starting point when raising the issue of tuition reimbursement with your employer.
- Certification – This program helps students take a significant step toward becoming a substance use disorder counselor (previously called substance abuse counselor). It fulfills the educational requirements needed to pursue addiction counselor certifications offered by several external boards, and it covers all the federally recommended knowledge and competency areas required for addiction counselors and professionals. Employees with certifications can be promoted to positions of greater responsibility within an organization, which helps employers avoid costs associated with hiring new personnel.
- Tax Benefits – Employers can deduct up to $5,250 per employee annually for a tuition reimbursement program, meaning your employer can reap the benefits of a highly trained workforce for a relatively small investment.
- Specialized Knowledge – This certificate program will help you gain fresh perspective, deeper understanding of substance use disorders and informed decision-making skills relevant to your position and to your understanding of this urgent healthcare issue. This essential knowledge can benefit the whole team through your work as well as your improved ability to train and mentor others.
- Lower Turnover – Today’s job market is highly competitive. Tuition reimbursement benefits make your organization more attractive to job seekers, which can decrease turnover.
- Time Commitment – The program is entirely online, meaning you can continue working full-time while pursuing this certificate and completing the program at your own pace.
- Reputation – The University of Florida is ranked No. 7 on the U.S. News & World Report 2020 Top Public Schools list. Students in the program will learn from and network with national and international leaders in research, education and patient care in the field of addiction and recovery.
Despite initial reluctance, particularly in tough economic times, individuals can secure tuition reimbursement from their employers. Here are some of the common concerns employers may raise, along with some suggested responses you can use to make the case for an investment in your education.
Employer Concern: It’s too expensive.
- Employers can deduct up to $5,250 per full-time employee annually for a tuition reimbursement program. Many employers cap their benefits at that amount, which keeps their investment relatively small.
- Tuition reimbursement benefits make an organization more competitive by attracting job seekers. These benefits also make organizations more appealing to current employees, who are more likely to stay with a company that supports their growth and professional development.
- According to a study from Accenture, for every $1 spent developing an employee, an organization will save $1.29 in talent management costs, because employees can be promoted to positions of greater responsibility and will be more likely to stay within the organization.
Employer Concern: Free webinars are better – and free!
- Designed using the latest online education delivery tools, this program has more richness and depth than a webinar. It’s an interactive virtual classroom with discussion forums and access to leading educators and researchers in the field of substance use disorders. Students can go at their own pace and gain useful knowledge that can be applied immediately at work.
- The University of Florida courses are taught by national and international leaders in research, education and patient care in the field of addiction and recovery.
- This program is a part of the University of Florida College of Medicine, which has one of the largest addiction research, training, treatment and education programs nationally.
Employer Concern: Reimbursement is provided only for degree programs.
- Although the Addiction and Recovery program is not a degree, it is a short graduate-level online certificate program that helps working professionals strengthen their knowledge and practical skills related to substance use disorder treatment.
- This program covers all the federally recommended knowledge and competency areas required for addiction counselors and professionals, and serves as a valuable part of your preparation process for local, state and national substance use disorder counselor certifications exams.
- The program does not require a GRE, which is often a concern for employees who wish to pursue higher education in their field.
Employer Concern: Employee will leave the company immediately after completing the program.
- Tuition reimbursement policies typically have a clause that requires employees using the benefit to stay at the company for a certain period of time. If the employee leaves before the time indicated by the policy, they would be required to reimburse the company for their tuition. With this stipulation in place, it would be in the employee’s best interest to stay.
- Employees tend to stay longer at organizations that provide tuition reimbursement. In fact, LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report found that 94 percent of employees said they would stay at a company that invested in them through tuition reimbursement programs longer than they would a company that does not provide this benefit.