If you work in a hospital as a nurse, administrator or in another position, you may find that the medical facility offers tuition reimbursement. This type of program allows you to take classes online or at a local college towards a degree, and your employer will pay you back for the classes you take. Though many medical facilities do offer reimbursement programs, you need to learn more about how these programs work before you rush out and sign up for classes.

How Reimbursement Works

The general way in which one of these programs works is that you pay for your classes upfront. After finishing the semester, you turn in paperwork to your employer that shows the classes you took. The company will then cut a check for you. If you have direct deposit set up, some employers will deposit the funds right into your account. Other medical facilities may require that you meet with the human resources department, notify the department of your intention to attend classes and sign paperwork that shows how the reimbursement program works and when you can expect to get your money back.

Requirements of Some Programs

It’s important you keep in mind that not all of these programs are exactly the same. Employers want to protect their assets and their money, and they may require that you maintain a high grade point average to get your cash back. For example, some programs now require that you only get the total cost of the class back if you receive an A in that class. If you score lower, the employer will only give you a percentage of your money back. This keeps the employer from spending money on courses that you score badly in or fail.

Classes and Expenses Covered

Tuition reimbursement programs generally only cover the cost of tuition and may not cover any fees or other expenses. Colleges often charge fees for everything from using the science laboratory on campus to using resources in the library. You’re usually responsible for your own textbooks, as well, which can cost a few hundred dollars for every class that you take. You may also find yourself paying a few extra hundred dollars every year for miscellaneous fees. Even if your employer agrees to reimburse only your tuition costs, you’ll still have the chance to take classes for far less than other students pay.

Things to Consider

According to Lora Shinn, employers like a hospital will typically reimburse you for any courses relating to your degree. If you want to finish a nursing degree and must take electives on literature or other unrelated topics, your employer should still cover those courses as long as the college requires that you take those classes. When you work in the medical field, your employer may require that you take courses that only apply to your current career or future career. If you want to study computer science while working as a CNA, don’t be surprised if your employer denies your reimbursement request.

Many employers in the medical field offer reimbursement programs designed to help employees earn medical degrees and degrees that will assist them in the field. The hospital you work for may offer tuition reimbursement that pays you back for all the classes you must take to earn a college degree.