Do you want to take your grant writing career to the next level? You've come to the right place!
Most organizations prefer grant writer candidates with a bachelor's degree. There is no doubt that degrees have a lot of credibility in the job market. A degree demonstrates dedication to completing an extensive curriculum that requires a significant amount of time and effort.
Dedication, the ability to learn, and the ability to successfully deal with high-pressure situations - such as exams - are attributes that are highly valued in all types of organizations.
However, no university offers an undergraduate-level degree program focused on grant writing. Therefore, hiring managers prefer grant writers with degrees in Business, English, Psychology, or Political Science.
Degrees are valued, and rightly so. Even then there's no denying that degrees cover a lot of theory, with less focus on real-world skills.
What matters in the real world are practical skills. If you want to learn how to write compelling grant proposals, then a credible certification can help you acquire the requisite knowledge and practical skills.
In this article, we review the best certifications for grant writers.
Benefits of Grant Writer Certifications
Certifications offer numerous benefits for grant writers, including
- Cost-effectiveness: One of the most significant advantages of certifications is that they are cost-effective and accessible to many professionals.
- Short duration: in contrast to degrees that take a long time to complete, the durations for certifications vary from a few weeks to a few months.
- Focused learning: in contrast to degrees that cover many unrelated topics, certifications offer focused and practical learning on a specific area of interest.
- Skill development: learning from experts allows grant writers to learn and practice new skills that they can immediately put into practice.
- Credibility: certifications provide professionals with enhanced credibility, which improves the chances of career growth.
- Earning power: certifications enable grant writers to demand higher salaries.
- Marketability: professionals with valid and up-to-date certifications find it easier to secure in-demand job roles.
- Peer respect: grant writing professionals with highly credible certifications earn the respect of peers, which enables them to influence and lead with authority.
5 Best Grant Writing Certifications
Let's dive in and learn about the best certifications for professional grant writers.
1. Grant Writing Certification by Technical Writer HQ
We rate the Grant Writing Certification from Technical Writer HQ as the top certification program for grant writing professionals. The reasons for this top rating are:
- Comprehensive curriculum: The curriculum is comprehensive and covers all aspects of grant writing.
- Bonus content: The certification content is continuously updated with bonus content that includes interviews with industry experts.
- Created by industry experts: In contrast to courses and certificate programs delivered by academics, the certification curriculum is developed and delivered by industry experts. The curriculum creators have extensive experience in technical writing and UX writing as well.
- Self-paced: You can complete the curriculum at your convenience. This is especially relevant if you are a busy professional who needs to learn while taking care of professional obligations.
- Economical: The Grant Writing Certification from Technical Writer HQ is economical compared to other certificate programs.
- Money-back guarantee: If you are unsatisfied, you can contact Technical Writer HQ within the first 30 days, and you will get a full refund.
- Lifetime access: As a participant, you will have lifetime access to all the content.
Content for the certification includes over 70+ lectures, 10+ downloadable grant writing templates, and exclusive interviews with grant writing professionals in the industry. There are over seven quizzes, a certification test, and a capstone project.
The topics covered in the certification curriculum are:
- How to Implement Grant Writing Key Responsibilities
- How to Set Scope and Purpose of Your Grant
- How to Analyze Your Audience
- How to Conduct Proper Research
- How to Structure and Design Your Sentences
- How to Create a Grant Proposal Layout
- How to Effectively Go Through the Grant Writing Application Process
- How to Approach Foundations
- How to Present a Proposal
- Resources and Templates for Better Proposals
- Templates for Budget Documentation and Projections
- How to Land a Grant Writing Jobs
You can complete this certification even if you have no prior experience in grant writing. The certification will also help if you want to transition into a grant writer role.
How Much Does the Grant Writing Certification by Technical Writer HQ Cost?
The Grant Writing Certification costs $199. This cost is relatively inexpensive compared to the other certification courses.
To learn more, visit the Grant Writing Certification by Technical Writer HQ.
2. Grant Professional Certified (GPC) by Grant Professionals Association
The Grant Professionals Association (GPA) supports the Grant Professional Certified credential. The Grant Professional Certification Institute (GPCI) offers the credential.
GPCI administers the GPC credential to grant professionals who meet eligibility requirements and successfully demonstrate proficiency in the required competencies.
All candidates must meet the minimum point standard for eligibility. The eligibility is earned across four professional areas: education, experience, professional development, and community involvement. GPC candidates must qualify for 120 of 170 possible points to be eligible to take the examination.
The GPC exam is also based on a point system reflecting a strong background in education, experience, professional development, and community involvement.
The exam is based on competencies and skills developed by subject matter experts. The list of competencies and skills is continuously updated and vetted by the GPA board of directors.
The GPC Exam includes two portions which must each be successfully completed: a writing exercise and a multiple-choice section.
GPC Writing Exam
The GPC writing exam aims to assess each candidate’s ability to respond appropriately in writing to a grant-related prompt. The prompt is completed electronically and is identical for each candidate.
Each candidate’s writing sample is evaluated according to the following six analytic rubrics:
- Make a Persuasive Argument (34%)
- Organize Ideas Appropriately (22%)
- Convey Ideas Clearly (18%)
- Use Information Provided (12%)
- Use Conventional Standard English (10%)
- Follow Formatting Requirements (4%)
GPC Multiple-Choice Exam
The multiple-choice exam is comprised of 150 questions. The questions in the exam are weighted according to the competencies and skills of each candidate.
The validity for the GPC is three years from the date of issue. Credentialed professionals who wish to maintain their GPC credential can either participate in the Certification Maintenance Program (CMP) from GPCI or re-take the exam once the credential expires.
The CMP program requires continued learning and participation in a number of development activities. Participants are charged a nominal fee for the CMP program. The learning activities include
- GPCI-approved workshops.
- Training and conferences.
- Independent studies
- Mentorships as a mentor or mentee
- Continued work in the field.
How Much Does the Grant Professional Certification Cost?
The fee for the Grant Professional Certified is $639 for GPA members and $875 for non-members.
To learn more, visit the Grant Professional Certified website.
3. Certified Grant Writer® Series Online by American Grant Writers Association
The Certified Grant Writer® Series Online is suitable for professionals working for nonprofit organizations, government agencies, for-profit businesses, health organizations, and educational institutions.
Previous working experience in grant writing is not a requirement for the credential.
The Certified Grant Writer includes four components.
Program Development and Proposal Writing (PDPW) Online Course
The syllabus for the online course is:
- Section 1: Grantseeking and Exempt Organizations
- Section 2: Program Development, Researching Grant Opportunities from U.S. Grantmakers, and Online Resources for Grantseekers
- Section 3: Proposal Writing for Foundation and Corporate Grants (2 assignments)
- Section 4: Preparing Government Grant Applications for Non-Construction Projects
- Section 5: Professional Standards and Code of Ethics
- Section 6:
- Part I: Preparing the Budget for a Foundation Grant and Budget Narrative
- Part II: Preparing the Federal Non-Construction Budget for a Project Grant and Budget Narrative.
Participants receive course material and assignments for one section at a time. The course material and assignments for the next section are received after the completion of assignments for the previous section.
Participants typically require four to six weeks to complete the eight assignments.
Participants must complete all assignments for the course within 90 days. An extension is available for a nominal fee. Participants can avail a maximum of two extensions.
Certified Grant Writer® Review Online
After completing all assignments, the participant sends an email to select the date for the online CGW Exam.
The online Review becomes available seven days prior to the exam.
Certified Grant Writer® Examination Online
The online exam includes five sections:
- Program Development and Proposal Writing
- Professional Ethics
- Writing Sample.
Participants must complete all five sections on the same date. The average time required to complete the exam is five hours.
Annual Individual Membership in American Grant Writers' Association
Annual membership is part of the CGW Series. The validity of the membership is one year from the date of purchase.
How Much Does the Certified Grant Series Online Cost?
The fee for the Certified Grant Writer Series Online program by American Grant Writers Association is $999.
To learn more, check out Certified Grant Writer Series Online.
4. Certified Fund Raising Executive Certification
The Certified Fund Raising Executive Certification (CFRE) is offered by the Association of Fundraising Professions (AFP). It serves professionals concerned with the general field of fundraising.
The CFRE is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited CFRE certification under the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 standard for personnel certification programs.
Candidates need to complete a written application and a written examination. Candidates meeting the requirements for the application can take the exam.
The application requires information from candidates for the following three categories:
- Professional Practice
- Professional Performance
The application works on a point system. Candidates achieving a required minimum number of points in each of the three categories can take the CFRE examination.
The online test for the CRFE covers six domains:
- Domain 1: Current and Prospective Donor Research (14% — 28 items)
- Domain 2: Securing the Gift (23% — 46 items)
- Domain 3: Relationship Building (26% — 52 items)
- Domain 4: Volunteer Involvement (8% — 16 items)
- Domain 5: Leadership and Management (19% — 38 items)
- Domain 6: Ethics, Accountability, and Professionalism (10% — 20 items)
How Much does the Certified Fund Raising Executive Certification course Cost?
The fee for the Certified Fund Raising Executive certification is $875. The recertification fee is $510.
Members of participating organizations pay a discounted fee of $700. The recertification fee for members of participating organizations is $408.
A Candidate Handbook contains comprehensive information regarding the CFRE.
To learn more, visit the Certified Fund Raising Executive Certification (CFRE) website.
5. Grant Writing Certificate by University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina's Grant Writing Certificate program prepares you for the practical and conceptual aspects that are critical to the grant writing process. You can complete the curriculum on campus or online.
The program curriculum includes the following courses:
- Introduction to Grant Writing: teaches you how to conduct research for available grants, understand the fundamental elements of a grant proposal, prepare successful and compelling and successful grant proposals, and become proficient in the proposal format used by the vast majority of foundations and funding agencies.
- Needs-Based Assessment: you will learn how to understand the definition of a needs-based assessment, know where to locate relevant statistical data, facilitate a community-based focus group, and define the components of a comprehensive assessment.
- Program Development and Evaluation: this will enable you to understand the nonprofit program, know the cornerstones for solid program planning, and find resources for successful program evaluation.
- The Grant Writing Process: will enable you to understand the grant writing process, recognize the problem statement and project design, prepare professional and compelling grant proposals, apply research skills to find current and relevant problem statement language, understand evaluation, know when to outsource evaluation, and comprehend budget terminology.
The Grant Writing program provides hands-on training in the grant proposal process – from research to submission, and even revisions – and provides you with the unique opportunity for peer and professional review and feedback.
How Much Does the Grant Writing Certificate program from the University of Southern California Cost?
The fee for the Grant Writing Certificate program is $1,322. To mitigate the cost of this program, USC offers several financing options.
To learn more, check out the Grant Writing Certificate program by the University of South Carolina.
Grant writing is a lucrative career path, with an expected annual job growth rate of 8%.
Different types of organizations such as those in the non-profit, education, and healthcare sectors are always looking to hire grant writers who can help them secure grant funding.
Even though hiring managers prefer candidates with degrees, not having a degree is not a show-stopper.
A grant writing certification can give you the knowledge and grant writing skills that can open the door to a career in grant writing. Then it's up to you to work hard and succeed in your chosen career.
Here's a list of the most common questions related to grant writing.
What is the average grant writer's salary?
According to Glassdoor, the estimated average salary for grant writers in the US is $66,855. The average salary range is $38,000 to $120,000. Grant writers working in cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, and Houston are paid higher salaries.
How can you become a grant writer without a degree?
Even though degrees are preferred, it's important to note that a degree is not a strict requirement for grant writing roles. The majority of professionals in the field of grant writing have a writing background.
Therefore if you have good writing skills and complete a credible certification, then you can start working as a grant writer. To gain experience you can apply for internships. Focus on improving your writing skills, and keep applying to jobs. With hard work and adequate experience, you can become an expert in any chosen field.
What are the most important grant writer skills?
The most important skills for grant writers are
- Writing: Grant writers need excellent communication skills and especially written communication skills:
- Persuasion: Grant writers cannot succeed without the ability to persuade. They need to understand their counterparts and use persuasion skills to succeed.
- Research: Grant writers conduct research to find sources of grants. Then they conduct research to create compelling grant proposals. Research is therefore an essential skill for all grant writers.
- Organization: Grant writers often work on multiple projects at the same time and therefore organization skills are essential for success.
- Relationship-building: Non-profits seek funding on a continuous basis. The ability to build great relationships with funding agencies helps grant writers at every stage of their careers.
What is the difference between a grant writing certification and a grant writing course?
The similarity between courses and certifications is that both cover a range of topics known as the curriculum or syllabus. Both courses and certifications are taught by experienced professionals.
When you complete an in-person or online grant writing course you get a certification of attendance or a certificate of participation. To complete a course you don't have to pass an exam.
Certifications include an exam that you must pass to receive the certification. Most certifications are valid for a period of time, after which they require renewal. The renewal requirements vary:
- Some certifications require you to re-take the exam
- Other certifications require you to demonstrate continued learning through participation in training, seminars, conferences, and other learning-related activities.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He had his first job in technical writing for a video editing software company in 2014. Since then, he has written several books on software documentation, personal branding, and computer hacking. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.