The Value of Continuing Education
You probably heard it as a kid, “The more you know, the better you’ll do,” or some variation of that. It was a way of saying that you should keep learning because it may eventually pay off. This study indicates that could be true. Continuing education may pay off in terms of increased salary potential over your lifetime, and in terms of staying relevant in your industry.
A 2016 Education Pays report from the College Board backs up its 2013 findings that increased education generally correlates with increased earnings over your lifetime.
How Does Education Affect Lifetime Earnings?
The report states, “The average payoff of higher education is very high. Earning a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree leads to the highest earnings, the lowest unemployment rates, the widest range of career opportunities, and the sharpest differences in civic participation and health-related behaviors.”
Who Needs Continuing Education?
While increased earning potential from a degree is a draw for many, continuing education (CE), by definition, extends beyond the foundation of a certificate or degree. CE ensures that professionals have the latest knowledge in their fields. For example, there are new advancements in medicine all the time, and patients are more confident knowing that health care professionals are required to stay current. The same goes for teachers, who are better representatives because they must stay up-to-date on changes in teaching practices and methods.
How Do You Get Continuing Education?
CE is offered online, in coursework, in day-long workshops, or in multi-day conferences. You might also be able to earn CE credits for teaching or giving a lecture at a professional conference. Depending on the licensing board or certifying agency, a certain number of hours may need to be earned in person. In other cases, you can earn all your CE credits remotely if you want, such as in Ashford University’s Continuing Education Courses for teachers.
How Do You Find CE Providers?
You may contact your certifying agency, licensing board, or professional association for a list of qualified CE providers. You can also check your alma mater—many colleges have a CE department, and they can advise you on the merit of courses and what you need to stay up-to-date in your field. In addition, ask other professionals who've worked in the field longer than you have; they could have the inside scoop on the best CE providers.
Written by Ashford University staff.