As the saying goes, you’ll typically use all the knowledge you gained in school within the first couple of weeks or months on a job. So now what? This is where continuing education opportunities come into play. As careers continue to change over time and technology advances, it requires workers to stay up-to-date on the latest in their respective fields.
Growth on the job with continuing education opportunities helps bridge the gap for employees. Whether it’s a nurse or teacher obtaining continuing education credits each year or an entry-level employee looking for online courses get a certificate to advance their career, there are options available. The landscape may look different depending on the occupation, however the best advice is to seek out continuing education opportunities.
Anytime you grab your office plants and start with a new company, are promoted to another position or even shift career paths, there is a learning curve of sorts that is just a part of the territory. However, this is certainly not the time to bury your head in the sand if it is an unexpected adjustment or you think you already know it all. This type of attitude can quickly get you left off the list for continuing education courses.
Let’s talk about a few options and how you can leverage each on your career path.
Settling into a new job can bring on additional challenges as you make the transition. Then take into account the learning curve of the new role while navigating unfamiliar company culture and it can seem a bit overwhelming. One way to handle the learning curve of the position is to seek online courses to enhance your knowledge.
Some employers may make certain courses mandatory in order to obtain a required certification. This might be done on an annual basis while others may only be necessary once. It will depend on the occupation and company expectations. A number of community colleges or vocational training programs offer continuing education.
If your career requires a certification update or other continuing education credits, make sure to plan well in advance prior to the expiration date of a license or other documentation. Whether you need to complete a series of classes and take a test or just go through a refresher course, both will be beneficial to your overall career path. Some colleagues may dread the required training. However, you should use continuing education opportunities as a way to remain relevant in your industry with sights on advancement.
Enrolling in online courses may require a time commitment outside of the normal workday. Be disciplined about the timeframe dedicated to this effort, even on a short-term basis, so you do well and retain the information. And if a company is footing the bill for the course, they are making an investment in the employee who will want to do well. Your job will depend on it.
The term professional development could look different depending on the occupation, the company or self-expectation. As an example, a company may conduct a series of in-house workshops dedicated to professional development where topics include business etiquette. In addition, the professional development list could include attending industry conferences for continuing education workshops and networking.
Yes, professional development can also include being mentored by a more senior staff member who can offer advice, aide in training and point an employee to additional resources.
Keeping up in the career world is a fulltime job. If you want to remain marketable in your field or aspire to move higher then continuing education opportunities will play a major role in accomplishing those goals.
A mistake some make is thinking that everything they log from online courses to professional development sessions will move them up the ladder by virtue of the completion. It does not work that way. Think of it as a total package of sorts, like when you were obtaining a degree or going through the initial training course. The goal is to finish the program with the skills to work in a specific field. So now that you have the job, what will it take to move up? Looking for more responsibility or to be a supervisor? See yourself in the director’s seat? If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, then you are on the right track to reaching your career advancement goals.
One of the main challenges most people identify when it comes to continuing education opportunities is how to find the time. The answer, of course, has a lot of variables that will factor in when blocking out time on the calendar.
If it’s an in-house course, the time may be set for when the most people can attend. However, if it’s an online course, you may be able to log in when it’s convenient for you. Create a lunchtime learning center at your desk if that works for you to focus. Other options may require a different atmosphere or time commitment. And just because it’s work-related does not mean the company will pick up the tab. You may be expected to cover the cost of some continuing education or CE courses. Hold on before you balk. The investment in yourself will be well worth it and you get to decide what you want courses you want to take. See it as directing your path to the next level or even to the boardroom one day.
The job market today is extremely competitive. It’s one of the reasons continuing education opportunities are key for professionals to remain marketable. Online courses, a professional development conference or an in-house training session are all good offerings to take advantage of for continuing education. Professionals in logistics, warehouse management and other transportation careers are relying more on a variety of outlets to sharpen their skills.