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Frequently Asked Questions Training

  • Agencies are authorized to pay or reimburse an employee for all or part of necessary expenses incurred for training (5 U.S.C. 4109, 4110, and 5 CFR 410.403). Training expenses may include:
    • Course or workshop registration fee
    • Purchase or rental of books, magazines, and other materials
    • Professional certifications, licenses, and certificates
    • Laboratory and library services
    • Conference registration fees
    For more information on training expenses, go to pp. 22-27 in the Training Policy Handbook. 
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  • An academic degree program is part of a planned, systemic and coordinated agency employee development program linked to accomplishing the strategic goals of the agency, meeting an identified agency training need or accomplishing goals in the strategic plan. Employees must undergo a competitive process, consistent with 5 CFR 410.308(c), before selection to an academic degree program.  Agencies should only establish academic degree programs under the conditions of 5 U.S.C 4107. Agencies may NOT select employees for academic degrees for the sole purpose of providing the degree or to qualify for appointment to a position where the academic degree is a basic requirement.   Tuition assistance programs, including individual courses, are NOT considered part of an agency’s academic degree program. Within a tuition assistance program, agencies pay for individual courses/classes. Employees are not required to undergo a competitive process. Supervisors should adhere to the definition of training (5 U.S.C 4101(4)) when choosing which classes/courses to pay for. For more information on academic degree programs and tuition assistance, go to pp. 17-21 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • No.  It’s up to the agency to establish the number of supervisory training hours considering the needs of the supervisor/s. By regulations, agencies are required (under 5 CFR 412.202) to provide:
    • Initial supervisory training within one year of the new supervisor’s appointment
    • Retraining at least once every three years
    • Training on mentoring employees
    • Training on improving employees’ performance and productivity
    • Training on conducting performance appraisals; and
    • Training on identifying and assisting employees with unacceptable performance
    Agencies must also provide training when employees make critical career transitions, for example, from a non-supervisory to a supervisory position.  Most agencies offer additional training to new supervisors on topics such as:
    • Recruiting and Hiring
    • EEO
    • Working with Leave
    • Developing Others
    • Strategic Leadership
    • Prohibited personnel practices
    • Diversity and inclusion
    • Reasonable accommodation
    • Labor and employee relations
    • Union participation rights
    • Collective bargaining agreements
    • Financial management
    • Upper management expectations         
    • Key leadership competencies from OPM’s Leadership Journey Models, including continual learning, integrity/honesty, interpersonal skills, oral communication, public service motivation, and written communication
    You should include guidance on Supervisory Training in your agency training policy manuals. For more information on supervisory training, go to pp. 42-45 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • Yes, 5 U.S.C. 5757 allows agencies to pay for professional credentials including professional certification. For more information on certifications, go to p. 60 in the Training Policy Handbook. 
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  • The intent of the SF-182 is to approve and record completion of employee training—not for use as a procurement document.   However, agencies that choose to use the SF-182 to procure training should consult with the agency contracting office for agency specific policies on the use of SF182 as a training procurement option.  You should include guidance on use of the SF-182 as a procurement document in your agency training policy manual.  For more information on procurement and the SF-182, go to pp. 15 and 16 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • Yes, those agencies covered under the Government Employee Training Act still operate under the Act. The following types of government agencies operate under the provisions of GETA (5 U.S.C. 4101) -an Executive Branch department, independent establishments, government corporations, the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office. Among the agencies that are NOT covered by GETA are privately held corporations supervised by the Farm Credit Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Postal Service (5 U.S.C. 4102). For more information on agencies covered under GETA and Chapter 41 of title 5, go to pp. 8 and 9 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • There is no regulatory requirement for IDPs. However, it is good management practice, and many agencies already require their employees to have an IDP.  In addition, many employee development programs require participants complete IDPs as part of the program (e.g. PMF program, SES CDP program) OPM has an IDP wiki page on the OPM Training and Development wiki. The wiki page provides examples of agencies IDP policies and templates. All Senior Executives are required in 5 CFR 412.401 to have an Executive Development Plan (EDP). You should include guidance on use of IDPs in your agency training policy manual. For more information on EDPs, go to p. 49 in the Training Policy Handbook. 
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  • Yes, the SSN is PII information; however, we ask that agencies submit SSN and DOB for each training event so that we can uniquely identify the employee for record maintenance, training reporting, etc.
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  • Yes.  An agency can pay for training for a political appointee.  Supervisors of political appointees must approve training for these employees when it:
    • Meets the definition of training in 5 USC chapter 41, and
    • Will provide a demonstrable return to the department/agency during the tenure of the employee.
    Political appointees may not participate in academic degree programs (5 USC 4107(b)(3)).
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  • The limit for purchasing services and goods (including training) with a credit card is normally $3000; however, procurement policies differ among agencies due to their varying missions. Agencies should consult with the agency contracting office for agency specific policies on purchasing training with a credit card. You should include guidance on purchasing training with a credit card in your agency training policy manual. For more information procurement, go to pp. 15 and 16 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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