For most people, education is goal-focused. They take classes to graduate high school or earn a degree. Maybe they also took advanced training to gain some specific skill or certification they need for their industry. Once they get the degree or accreditation, education ends — and that’s a real problem. Everyone, no matter their experience or formal education, should be lifelong learners.
No matter what industry or market you serve, it is changing constantly. New treatments and products are developed, while others are discontinued. New information is discovered, and findings are refined. Technology changes, and there are trends in the way people communicate that popup. For this reason, many professions — like accounting, nursing, and education — require continuing education. Even if your industry does not have a formal requirement, continuing education is still smart. When you stay on top of your education, you ensure that your knowledge is up-to-date and current.
If you want to move up in your field, continuing education is what will help you get there. It improves your marketability and helps you develop areas of interest into a broader career. For instance, someone who wants to move up within a company may opt to continue their education within a particular industry, effectively becoming an expert, or they could choose something tangential. In this case, they may choose to take classes in business management, project management, marketing, or sales so that they can move past their current position to one that leverages those new skills in tandem with their existing education and training.
Confidence and Perspective
Continuing education doesn’t always have to result in a new career or promotion. Sometimes it has inherent benefits. People who engage in continuing education remain more relevant than their peers who do not put in that extra effort. By developing their knowledge, they remain valuable to their companies. In the off chance they do lose their job, they are already in a good position to find a new role that utilizes their cumulative skill set. They also boost their profile, which produces industry connections and collaborative opportunities.
Finally, people who have continuing education tend to have a different perspective on their industry. They have different ideas than people who have always done things the same way and those who are new to the field. They see things from both perspectives, and this gives them an edge.
Use Available Resources
Getting continuing education is easy. You can enroll in any number of programs — online or at a college, that culminates in a certificate or that doesn’t. Sometimes your best resource is not a continuing ed class or program — it’s a job-focused training. Amway is a great example. The direct sales company offers a training program that can help people develop the skills they need to succeed, particularly in sales.
“As an engineer, I was trained to be a skeptic and pick things apart,” says engineer and Amway Business Owner Jeff Miller. He thought that Amway could be a pyramid scheme, but once he got started, he found he was wrong.
“I dug in and realized I didn’t know anything about Amway, and the seeds were planted,” explained Jeff. “When we stopped simply going through the motions and began caring for people, lots of things started to change and grow. It’s not about convincing people, it’s about educating people. If you educate people, they can convince themselves.”
Continuing education helps you remain relevant in the face of changing industries and technologies. It helps you develop yourself professionally and improves your perspective. Getting there could involve a formal class or program, but you can also leverage job-skills training to fill in the gaps in your knowledge base.
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