WASHINGTON, January 21, 2017 – Successful professionals seek to grow intellectually and remain relevant in an ever-changing job market. Whether you are looking to advance in your current company or are thinking of changing fields, you need a continuing education plan to continually develop your knowledge and skills.
Education is a competitive advantage that helps you advance within your role and reach your professional goals. Developing a plan for continuing education will give you a competitive edge in the job market and help you to scale with the growth of your field.
Identifying Aspirations as a Path to Success
Take inventory of your career aspirations by analyzing your current skills and determining what knowledge or skill areas will help you excel in your field. Envisioning how you see yourself in the long term will allow you identify what goals you need to accomplish in order to get the career you want.
Many employers offer resources to identify your aptitudes and find future roles that will best fit your interests. Attend a seminar or join a professional organization to help you learn more about your industry and opportunities that may be of interest.
Identifying your talents and values will help you to envision how you see yourself progressing in your career. Reach out to a mentor or supervisor within your organization to gain further insight into your strengths and opportunities for growth. If you intend to move into a new profession, research the job descriptions for roles of interest and define what education or certifications are required or desirable.
Use Your Goals to Develop a Continuing Education Plan
In the pursuit of your career goals, focusing on your desired outcome will pave the path for success. Defining specific, measurable goals will help you decide on a timeline for each learning milestone. For example, instead of saying “I will complete 10 credit hours of continuing education,” you should define when you will complete the hours and what classes you will sign up for.
It is also important to think about how the particular class will improve your job skills and help you achieve your goals. Continuing education offers the flexibility and convenience of being able to attend classes at your own pace online. It is up to you to set clear goals for your career by taking into account the courses that are required and courses that will help you achieve higher levels in your organization.
Funding Your Education with Tuition Assistance and Grants
Companies often require or encourage continuing education as a way to create a highly specialized workforce and encourage retention. Contact your human resources department to what see tuition reimbursement or continuing education assistance is available.
When researching your company’s reimbursement plan, be sure to ask questions such as if there will be partial or full reimbursement, any special qualifications, and if there will be compensation for the participation time or if you are responsible for education on your own time.
If you plan on attending college courses, check with the financial aid department to complete a FAFSA form to see if you qualify for federal grants or loans.
Define a Schedule and Enroll in Classes
Committing to a schedule and dedicating time specifically for continued learning will help you to follow through with your plan. Prioritize your career goals to consider the mandatory educational requirements for your field, classes that will help you advance in your field, and areas of interest.
Whether you are pursuing a higher degree or recertification, it is important to plan ahead and anticipate the actions you will need to take in order to complete your desired courses. For your short-term educational goals, contact the school or company to determine the requirements and next steps for enrollment.
Improve Your Performance and Quality of Care
Continuing education is a vital tool in improving your performance, cross-departmental knowledge, and quality of care. For example, if you are a healthcare provider, you can easily take your PALS recertification online in order to refresh your skills and improve your treatment of children at risk for cardiopulmonary arrest. Learning activities can be completed in the comfort of your own home while facilitating the completion of your continuing education plan.
Promote Growth in Your Career with Continuing Education
In order to keep up with the advancements in your industry, you need to establish a continuing education plan. While some professionals may be required to complete a certain number of credit hours, education should be viewed as a valuable opportunity to grow within your role and remain competitive for new opportunities. In order to reap the benefits of continued education, you must have a clear path defined on which learning and training options you plan to pursue.
Keep up with the demands of a growing workforce by enrolling in a continuing education program that will improve your knowledge in your field. By committing to your own plan, you will be driven to accomplish your professional goals and aspirations.