There are a lot of benefits of getting your license as an architect, but it’s also a big commitment, both in terms of cost and time. Whether you’re looking for a new job or want to grow in your current role, getting your firm to pay for your ARE prep resources can be a great way to offset that cost while still growing in your profession.
Here are a few key tips for getting your firm to pay for ARE prep resources—plus a free email script you can use to officially send your request!
How to Ask You Firm to Pay for ARE Prep
Working up the nerve to ask your boss to pay for your ARE study materials can be daunting, but we’re here to help. Here’s what you should have on hand before you even schedule the meeting:
First, do your research
When asking your firm to pay for ARE resources, it’s helpful to do the heavy lifting for them. Try to predict what questions or objections they may have, and have a rebuttal ready. Don’t leave any room for your boss to say no!
Some common questions you might get are about the overall cost, what’s included, and what kind of time commitment it’ll require of you. Even with your best interests at heart, your manager will also have to think about the impact on the company and your work there, so you’ll need to be ready to answer questions about budget and the strain on your time.
When you’re researching your test prep options, categorize your notes around the questions you’re likely to get so you can easily find the answers. For Black Spectacles, your notes might look like this:
Cost: Custom pricing for each firm; schedule a demo with our sales team to get your custom price before you meet with your boss
What you get: Firm members get access to all study materials, which includes videos, practice exams, quizzes, study guides and lecture slides, flashcards, and live Virtual Workshops.
The time commitment: Self-paced; each member can access all the study materials at their own pace, so you can study around a work schedule, etc. The only time commitment is for Virtual Workshops, which are at 2pm Central on Sundays and aren’t recorded. Other than that, you can study when and where it makes the most sense for you.
Think about what you know about your boss and your firm, and add any other questions or categories you think they’ll want to know about. Then when you meet with our sales team, have those questions ready so you can get answers before you make your pitch.
Another key area your firm will want to know is why your getting your license will benefit them. Clearly, it’s a good career move for you, but why should they invest in it? Here are a few benefits for your firm that you can include in your pitch:
Studying for and passing the ARE creates a strong knowledge foundation, making you a better architect in the long run—which in turn will help your firm on the projects they undertake.
Supporting candidates for licensure helps firms create a supportive environment and builds their culture. Not only will this help them retain their current talent, but it’ll make it easier for them to hire top talent if they offer ARE test prep materials as a benefit.
Paying for study materials can also support your firm’s DEI initiatives. Paying for this expensive journey levels the playing field, and will help candidates who maybe wouldn't have pursued licensure because the cost actually get their license.
If you really want to drive the point home, do some research on firms in your area. Check how many licensed architects they have on staff, and see if they’re winning bigger bids or working on the kinds of projects that your firm wants to get more involved in. There could be a lot of reasons for those things, but having a larger number of licensed architects isn’t hurting them either.
Next, plan your pitch
Once you have all your research done, it’s time to actually present it. It’s important to plan this conversation for a time and place where your manager will be able to engage with you about it—don’t try asking them in a busy lunch room with a ton of other people around.
If you have a recurring one-on-one meeting with your manager, that’s a great place to initiate this conversation. Lay some groundwork for them so they’re not blindsided by the request. This might look like this: “I’ve also been thinking about getting my license, so I wanted to talk to you about that and if [company name] might be able to help me get there. Is now a good time for that conversation?”
If you don’t already have that recurring meeting, you’ll have to reach out to schedule one. Remember you’ve already done all the heavy lifting of forming your argument for why, so all you need to do here is condense it a bit and actually get in a room together. We’ve created an email template you can use to do this, which looks something like this:
I’ve been thinking about ways I can strengthen my skills and continue to grow professionally while working at [company name,] and I’d like to pursue getting my license. I’ve been researching study materials to help me pass the ARE, and [Black Spectacles] is the best fit for me.
Their study material stands out to me because [of the different kinds of materials they offer, their good reviews, and especially their pass rates, which are 20% higher than the national average]. They also have [another thing that stood out to you] which would also help me pass the ARE faster.
Would [company] be able to help with funding for this program? I would love to discuss why this is the route for me, and if [company] would be able to help cover the cost. Here are a few more program specifics:
Can we set up some time to talk about this in more detail? Let me know when works best for you!
You can customize this script so that it feels natural to you and includes the reasons you chose your provider. This email isn’t the place to put all your research—you don’t want them to see a big block of text and not read your email.
Instead, this is a little primer to pique their interest, and gives you a chance to expand on your research when you can talk in person.
Finally, nail your meeting
Once you have a chance to meet with your manager, all these different pieces come together. To make your case, lay out:
Why you want to get your license
Why getting your license benefits the firm specifically
What platform you want to use and why specifically it’s the best option (Here’s the place for cost, and an explanation of the different materials and resources you’ll get access to with a firm membership)
And lastly, what you need them to do to get the ball rolling for you. The set-up process for Black Spectacles is pretty easy and there’s an account manager to help your firm with any questions, so there aren’t many obstacles to entry there.
Ultimately, in this conversation you want to take out any guesswork for your manager, and make it really clear why paying for your ARE prep is also a good move for them.
By being prepared and having answers to the questions you know they’ll ask, you have a better chance of getting a definite answer (hopefully a yes!) right in that meeting. Good luck!