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Take advantage of the Tuition Reimbursement Benefit.
I have been in the workforce for several years now. I have taken advantage of numerous benefits such as medical, life, dental insurance as well as the 401k match. One benefit that I have not taken full advantage of is the tuition reimbursement. Now I am.
I discovered the other day that if I want to grow in my career, I need to do several things.
First I need to do my job to the best of my ability. I have to come in, work hard and smart, and get things done. Not just done, but also get them done right the first time.
Second, I need constantly be learning. I need to be learning new things within my job, around my field, and develop new skills. This is where the tuition reimbursement helps out.
With the approval of your employer, you can register for a class or two while you are working full time. Depending on the employer and the kind of plan they have, they might cover a large chunk of tuition expenses (my employer covers 80%).
There are a few catches though. My employer will only reimburse if the grade is C or higher and if the class can be found to benefit the company. Also, I must remain full time with them.
After I receive the grades, I must send it in to HR. They must approve before receiving the check.
Some employers will cover more of the expenses than others, but overall it is still a good investment.
In my case with an employer that covers 80%, it is still an investment. If I take a $1,000 course, I have to pay the initial $1,000 to the school. After getting a good grade and submitting the transcript to HR, I would only get $800 back. It is still an investment for me. If I do not get a high enough grade, I might be out $1,000, instead of the $200. You should still choose courses that will benefit you in that case. If you think you can justify a raise or a pronation because of it, then it might be totally worth the risk.
Benefits of Tuition Reimbursement
Using this employer benefit, you can easily argue for a raise since you are becoming more valuable to your employer. I think it is a benefit that is easily forgotten once life picks up.
Risks of Tuition Reimbursement
Depending on the agreement, you may have to pay back a certain percentage of the money if you leave your company shortly after.