I am considering to quit the company I work for in the coming months.

Through the years of my employment in the subject company, I have gained several diplomas and certifications, such as user/instructor licences on the operation of specific technological products. I refer to diplomas and certifications awarded from outside the company, not internal ones.

Most of these certifications have my name on it (not mentioning the Company) though clearly it was the Company paying/requesting the respective training.

The question is, legally and ethically, should I request/demand the originals of these certifications to use it in the next opportunities? To who they belong; to me whose name is on the diplomas (while not having paid one cent for them), or the company that bought the actual training services that led to the certifications?

P.S. You might ask why would the company want to keep these documents after I leave. Let's just suppose they will and they might just say something silly, such as they don't remember where they keep the files as an excuse.

  • generally, with things like diplomas, the school /place that awarded them keeps records. you can ask that place directly for a copy, and. (probably) for a fee they will send it to you
    – bharal
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 1:53
  • 1
    Are these Certificates things like: MCSE microsoft.com/en-us/learning/mcse-certification.aspx and CNE novell.com/news/press/archive/1999/08/pr99093.html ?
    – Rob
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 6:24
  • 1
    "You might ask why would the company want to keep these documents after I leave." I will ask a slightly different question. Why does the company have your documents now?
    – Masked Man
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 17:23
  • Thanks for the replies guys and girls. 1) bharal I do have copies or scans of all the diplomas, just not the original ones neither a original copy of them. 2) No they are not certificates from huge companies like that Rob , where they would probably provide a copy if I requested. They are either small "friendly" companies where It would be awkward to get in touch after I leave the current job, or from national authorities after special exams (like a special driving licence). 3)MaskedMan they maintain an archive of employee certifications that were gained during our work here.
    – smartyn89
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 7:35

1 Answer 1


Luckily enough, there is still no way to suck away knowledge from your head when you leave a job (mandatory Dilbert reference).

The certification for each training has your name on it, and you have also the related knowledge.

The only thing the company can do is to request a partial refund of the training cost (where I work it is normal for generic training to be due a reimbursement upon leaving the job in the 3 years following the training), but this has to be specified upon signing up for the training or in the employment contract.

For company specific trainings I doubt the training itself can be valuable outside that company, so I wouldn't bother asking twice about the certificate (i.e. some companies enforce a sneezing policy in their factories, which you probably won't need to have a certificate when you go working somewhere else)

In all cases you should have already access to the certifications. Just print an hard copy as long as you have access rights (if it wasn't given to you upon completion) and use it.

  • Thanks for the comment. The training is industry specific, not company specific, meaning they add to my value during my job searching stage. That's one. The other thing is, that by having those I am allowed to use some systems (imagine a special car or boat), meaning if I do not possess the licence or operator certification, I might not be able to use these Systems, or I might get in trouble if I do. However, I do possess hard (non-original) copies of all the diplomas, so maybe I am overthinking. Am I?
    – smartyn89
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 7:50

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