Financial aid training for those who work in financial aid offices may consist of on-the-job training, specialized training to certify a school for financial aid program eligibility, and furthering of the administrative skills and abilities of individual administrators. Depending on the types of financial aid programs that a school participates in, financial aid employees may be responsible for completing a variety of different types of courses that address specific financial aid issues and needs. Even if a course is not required in order for a school to be eligible for a particular financial aid program, there is often a significant advantage to individual employees and administrators undergoing this training so that they are better prepared to address new career challenges.
In some cases, individuals who work in a financial aid office may receive their initial financial aid training on the job. They may have basic administrative and office skills when they begin entry-level job duties and may be able to learn from more senior employees about financial aid programs and how to administer them. If the school participates in government financial aid programs, some or all employees must typically complete government-sponsored financial aid training. This training typically covers pertinent laws and regulations and may also include training in the use of software systems necessary for the processing of financial aid applications and the disbursement of payments.
If a school is new or has not previously participated in financial aid programs, senior members of its financial aid staff and possibly other high-ranking school administrators may be required to complete comprehensive training. Again, this training may be provided by the government agencies that guarantee and oversee the financial aid programs in a given jurisdiction. In some places, such as the United States, this training may be available in an online distance learning format.
As a financial aid administrator advances in his profession, he may wish to complete additional financial aid training that may be offered through administrative professional associations. In addition to this specific type of training, he may also wish to pursue more general education so as to enhance his administrative and professional management skills. He may wish to take classes in finance, business, or educational administration at the graduate level. In many cases, he'll be required to complete some specific training in government financial aid programs each year as laws, regulations, and even software undergo changes and revisions. These updated courses will typically be announced through the government financial aid agency and made available to financial aid administrators and advisors.