There are several careers that are well known for their continuing education requirements such as medicine, accounting, law, and teaching. In these professions, practitioners are required to continuing learning beyond their academic credits in order to keep their licenses. This is known as professional development, but it is also sometimes called continuing education. Professional development is not limited to just professionals that require certification. Some professionals engage in professional development to keep themselves informed of trends and issues in their fields. Some organizations offer professional development opportunities for their employees as a benefit. Here are some ways that organizations can bring for-credit and non-credit professional development opportunities to their employees.
Professional Development Options
- Professional Organizations: In fields where continuing education is mandated, the courses must be accredited in order to be counted for re-licensing. Many professional organizations offer these for-credit courses through professional seminars, online, or may even be willing to come out to your organization to offer them on site. Connecting with a professional organization in the field can broaden the options available to employees who are interested in learning
- Community Colleges or Universities: Some organizations partner with local colleges or universities to offer discounted tuition for employees. Other organizations offer tuition reimbursement to employees who successfully pass courses. These benefits can be for continuing education requirements or for full degree programs.
- Online learning options: With the advent of more and more options to access high-quality online learning, organizations have begun to offer employees access to subscription based services such as Lynda.com. These services will not work for continuing education, but they will satisfy the employee who wants to attend professional development courses to keep current.
- In-house training: In organizations with well-established training and development programs, there may be bank of courses that employees can access to learn more about their own organization. If not, in-house training can be developed in a few different ways. If there is a big interest, the training and development department of the organization may be willing to put the resources into developing a course to fulfill a particular interest. There may also be an employee within the organization that has enough experience in the area to lead the training initiative.
Professional Development Benefits
Offering employees professional development opportunities may cost the organization a little money upfront, but it will be worth the investment. Employees who feel that they are learning and have room to grow within an organization are more likely to be engaged in their work, motivated, and less likely to leave the organization. Additionally, good training spreads like wild fire. When an employee learns something new, they are often eager to share their knowledge with their co-workers. A great training opportunity can spark innovation not only in the employee who sits through the training, but also from within the team he or she works with.
If you are interested in offering professional development opportunities as an employee benefit in your organization, then you should check out Mindflash. Mindflash is an award-winning and user-friendly learning management system. To see how easy it is to get started, sign up for a free trial of Mindflash and check out the sample courses.