How to Get Grant Writing Certification

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Nonprofits need skilled and successful grant writers to get money for their organizations. However, many find it difficult to hire such a writer, since there is no educational requirement or license needed for this particular niche. Certification is available, though, and it's important if you're a grant writer to know how to get grant writing certification.

  • Learn about the American Association of Grant Professionals (AAGP) and how to get credentialed. The AAGP is the industry leader that offers grant writing certification. While there are a number of other associations that grant certification to grant writers, AAGP is the most commonly recognized organization. You should take time to learn about the organization and its requirements for becoming certified.

  • Earn a degree. The AAGP requires each individual to achieve 120 points before they are eligible to sit for the certification exam. You can acquire points by obtaining either an associate's or bachelor's degree, with the first worth 20 points and the latter offering 40.

  • Find grant writing work with a nonprofit in your community. The majority of points come from your experience working in the grant writing field. Writers that have worked for three years and received five grants can receive 50 points towards their overall goal of 120. Not all organizations require you to be certified to serve as their grant writer; thus you can start small and work your way up once you've received your certification.

  • Get involved professionally. Professional development activities can provide up to 40 points that you need if you participate in these opportunities. Conferences, classes and training workshops are just some of the professional development activities that can count towards your point total.

  • Join community organizations and activities. Being involved in your community can also help you get points to your goal of 120. Join a community group or volunteer to help with community activities.

  • Register for the exam. Once you have compiled 120 points you can apply for the exam offered by AAGP. This requires you to provide proof of your 120 points as well as sign an affidavit that the information you have provided is truthful.

  • Take and pass the exam. Generally AAGP offers three to four different exams throughout the year for grant writers to earn their certification. Each exam is held at a different location across the United States; thus you may wait until an exam is in close proximity to your location to save money.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are employed by a nonprofit it may be willing to pay for your travel and fees associated with taking the exam since this will lead to your certification as a grant writer. The American Grant Writers Association is another organization which offers certification for members that take a four-day class and pay a certification exam.

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