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Training and Development Policy

Training Policy Handbook

Professional Credentials

The Defense Authorization Act for FY 2002, Pub. L. 107-107 codified in Title 5 USC §5757, allows agencies to use appropriated funds or funds otherwise available to the agency to pay for expenses for employees to obtain professional credentials, including expenses for professional certification.

This authority gives the head of an agency the flexibility to pay for licenses and credentials that relate to the mission, goals and objectives of that agency. Agencies must use this authority consistent with the merit systems principles in Title 5 USC §2301 and consistent with any collective bargaining obligations.

In addition, unless permitted by law, regulation, or Office of Personnel Management policy, agencies must not establish minimum qualification requirements based upon the presence of a license or certification. Agencies have the flexibility to use certification as a quality ranking factor or a selective factor. However, when used as a selective factor, subject matter experts must determine that the certification is necessary for satisfactory job performance.

Paying for credentials is discretionary and agencies choosing to use this authority should develop a policy describing how the program will be implemented. Agencies that implement this authority "may not exercise this authority on behalf of any employee occupying or seeking to qualify for appointment to any position that is excepted from the competitive service because of the confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character of the position." (Pub. L. 107-107, Title 5 USC §5757)