Overview of Online Grant Writer Certification
Grant writers serve as the liaisons between projects and funding. They perform comprehensive research on a particular objective and draft a proposal to help organizations or proponents receive funding. In 2011, the American Grant Writers' Association, Inc. (AGWA) had the Certified Grant Writer (CGW) credential trademarked by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and continues to help aspiring grant writers build and advance their careers. This credential confirms that the user is competent in proposal writing, research, budgeting, and professional ethics.
No work or educational experience is required to participate in the CGW program. However, it is recommended that users possess a bachelor's degree, proficiency in the English language (written and oral), familiarity with the APA Style, and knowhow of text viewing and editing software. By complying with the requirements specified by AGWA, users receive a Certificate of Completion and the CGW credential, which is valid for five years.
Grant Writing Certification Requirements
The process for obtaining the CGW credential starts with users taking the Program Development and Proposal Writing (PDPW) course. Once the course has been completed, they may proceed to taking the exam. This process can be completed entirely online.
Information and Requirements
Before users are allowed to take the AGWA CGW exam, they must take the PDPW course and be at least 21 years old. Self-paced and online, the PDPW course has a total length of 50 hours and can be completed within four to six weeks. Users initially have 90 days to finish the course assignments, but they are given two chances to purchase a 90-day extension period. Once users finish the course, they may schedule their online exams and undergo a review session that takes place seven days prior.
A desktop or laptop computer with a stable and high-speed internet connection is needed to successfully complete the course and the exam. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Adobe Reader should also be installed in the computer.
Users have a one-year grace period after their certification expires to process the renewal of their CGW credential. To renew, users must have accumulated 30 CGW credits by such activities as:
- Writing an award-winning grant
- Attending AGWA conferences, either as a participant, panelist, emcee, registration staff member, or photographer
- Taking AGWA online courses
- Contributing to the AGWA newsletter
- Holding a grant writing workshop for any organization
CGWs must renew twice during their careers, with the second renewal being permanent. Renewal requires a fee, with a deduction being awarded for every year that the user has been an AGWA member.
Online Grant Writing Certification Information
At the beginning of the certification process, users are assigned an instructor to guide them through their coursework and provide the course materials. THE PDPW course trains users on grant seeking, proposal writing, professional standards, and budget preparation. Progress for the PDPW course is based on competency - users can only proceed to the next section when their assignments meet AGWA standards. After completing the course, users receive the Certificate of Completion.
The online CGW exam is five hours long and can be scheduled on any day. It is divided into five sections: proposal writing, research, ethics, budgeting, and a writing sample. All sections require a score of 80% as a passing grade, except ethics, which requires a higher score of 90%. Test-takers have three tries to pass the exam.
Career Outlook After Grant Writing Certification
Earning the AGWA CGW is a great way for writers to advance their careers and dive into more specific roles, especially in universities and non-profit organizations.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not keep statistics on grant writers specifically, but notes that some technical writers work as grant writers. Technical writers as a group can expect to see faster-than-average job growth, 8%, from 2018 to 2028, according to the BLS. Their median salary in 2019 was $72,850. PayScale.com gives figures specific to grant writers and reported that their median salary as of May 2020 was $48,771.
A certification in grant writing is ideal for writers who want to explore other paths in their profession or to further their careers. AGWA offers the CGW credential, which takes less than two months to obtain online.