Continuing education is a requirement in many industries. But just because it’s required doesn’t mean you have to painfully go through the motions. When treated intentionally, continuing education credits can prove to be very beneficial.
Benefits of Continuing Education in Your Career
Most people see continuing education as a necessary evil that must be dealt with and survived in order to maintain good standing in their industry. However, it can (and should) be much more than this.
When approached from a place of humility, curiosity, and expectation, continuing education can transform your thinking and equip you with invaluable skills. Specific benefits include:
- Personal development. In addition to the hard, technical skills that you learn from a continuing education course, there’s also the softer side of things. You’ll acquire traits like discipline, focus, and attention to detail. Some programs may even strengthen your empathy and patience.
- Potential for advancement. Armed with new hard and soft skills, your potential for career advancement improves. Some continuing education may even produce a professional designation that can be added to a resume.
- Increased salary. As your skills improve and you rise in the ranks of your industry, you can expect to see increased salary and pay.
These are just a few of the perks. If you give continuing education the intentional focus it deserves, you’ll enjoy numerous advantages in all areas of your personal and professional life.
How to Maximize the Value of Continuing Education
In most cases, continuing education is a requirement. You have to be there and “put in the time,” so why not make the most out of it? Here are some tips to do just that:
- Choose the Right CE Provider
There are tons of continuing education providers. Whether you’re a real estate agent, lawyer, chiropractor, financial advisor, or plumber, you can find hundreds of options in your specific niche. One of the biggest keys to being successful with your continuing education is to select the right provider.
Good continuing education programs are pretty easy to spot (particularly when contracted against all of the below-average options). Take Last Minute CEU’s, for example. They’re known for being one of the top respiratory continuing education providers in the industry. One of the things that sets them apart is their versatility (live seminars, online courses, and live online instruction). This stands in stark contrast to most programs, which only offer one very specific option. You want choices!
- Select the Right Courses
Choosing the right provider is just the start. You also need to select the right course.
Assuming you’ve done a thorough job of choosing a provider, this stage is less about quality and more about selecting a course that has meaningful content for you. In other words, what’s going to help you the most? (Consider addressing your biggest areas of weakness or curiosity.)
- Prioritize Knowledge Retention
Simply sitting through a course and checking off all of the boxes isn’t adequate. To get maximum value, you need to remember the concepts and lessons you learn.
Knowledge retention doesn’t happen by accident. It requires focus and attention to detail. To improve your results, learning experts recommend:
- Setting goals and sticking with them
- Repeating what you’ve learned at the end of each lesson
- Using flashcards to study important concepts
- Taking written notes
- Verbally repeating concepts aloud
Simple techniques like these make a big difference. Prioritize knowledge retention and you’ll get far more value out of your continuing education.
- Apply the Knowledge ASAP
If you remember high school physics class, you know that there are two types of energy. There’s potential energy and then there’s kinetic energy. Potential energy is the equivalent of a ball resting at the top of a steep slide. It’s in a place where it can move, but it hasn’t moved yet. Kinetic energy is the type of energy that occurs when the ball actually begins moving down the slide and is officially in motion.
Knowledge absorption is the equivalent of potential energy. But potential energy is useless if it’s never transferred into kinetic energy. The best thing you can do is take the knowledge you learn in your continuing education courses and apply it as soon as possible. This cements the knowledge in your brain and gives it power.
- Use it as a Networking Opportunity
While the focus of a continuing education program is the knowledge itself, you can also use these courses as opportunities to network. (If you’re attending a live course or seminar, that is.) You’ll be surrounded by other people in your industry at these events and you never know when one new relationship could open up a door.
Propel Your Career to New Heights
There are no shortcuts to continuing education. If you treat it lightly and simply try to “survive,” you’ll end up wasting your time and walking away with nothing more than frustration. But if you take it seriously, your investment in continuing education can pave the way for personal and career growth. The choice is yours!