Once a student has graduated with their degree of choice (whether that be Associates, Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate), it is usually a moment of celebration that years of schooling has come to an end. For some, it is the end of their educational road. They have committed enough years of learning that will serve them well for whatever career they have chosen to pursue. For others, they will have to complete additional learning throughout their career. No matter their level of degree, there will always be something new for their field. This additional learning after (formal) school is commonly known as continuing education.
Continuing education (CE) generally refers to any post-secondary learning or programs that adults pursue after formal education (Western Governors University). Not only is CE open and available to anyone, but it takes various forms.
· Postsecondary degrees
· Professional certifications
· On-the-job training
· Military/corporate training
· Extension schools
· English as a Second Language (ESL)
· Personal development and self-paced learning
· Voluntary service training
· (all of the above qualify as forms of continuing education)
In an ambitious world where new advancements, discoveries, rules and regulations are constantly being found, it’s very easy for someone to become out of date in their field. While not every field requires CE, an employee can make themselves more valuable by pursuing CE to keep themselves at the top of their profession. “In today’s rapidly changing world, ongoing education has become essential to both career success and survival in virtually every field” (Columbia Southern University).
Some professions that require continuing education:
(medical) physicians, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists; (other) lawyers, teachers, accountants, engineers, pilots, architects, office professionals, financial advisors
“In the medical field, doctors need to continually study and learn new and advanced methods of treating their patients. Healthcare specialists need to stay current in improving the welfare of everyone. … With the continual changing of the globalized society, CE will be more commonplace shortly. … Learning is a lifetime process, so make the most of it by taking advantage of the different sources and platforms for CE” (CollegeCliffs).
Even if you’re not in a specialized career that requires CE, there is great benefit to pursuing some CE of any level. Some benefits of CE include:
1) It raises your chances of getting a promotion.
2) It helps increase your income.
3) It increases personal and career development.
4) It nurtures and hones confidence in your craft and skills.
5) It attracts more job and experiential opportunities (CollegeCliffs).
If you decide that you’re going to start pursuing CE, it’s important to have an achievable plan in place. Here are some tips that will hopefully help you succeed.
1. Time management is key. Make a routine for yourself that allows you to commit enough time to the course to be successful.
2. Create a dedicated study space. Make sure you pick a quiet place where you can concentrate on your task.
3. Use resources as you would on campus (instructor office hours and Online Composition Hub, for example).
4. Start slow. You may be excited when you’re getting started, but consider starting with one course to see how it fits with your schedule.
(from Health Facilities Management magazine)
1. Plan for success.
2. Track your progress.
3. Make it habitual.
4. Set goals.
Whether it’s required for a career, or simply a way to improve one’s skills, continuing education is the process to keep individuals at the forefront of their profession. Regardless of the level of education that has already been achieved, some professionals will be ever-studying and learning to be able to provide the best, most current service to the community. For those not required to pursue continuing education, it’s never a bad idea to learn something new or improve what they do.
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