Continuing Education vs. Professional Development – Know the Difference

May 19, 2020

Service professionals, and anyone who wants to further their knowledge and gain confidence in their field or specialty, can benefit from either continuing education or professional development. However, only a few people know the differences between the two – especially now that the line demarcating one option from the other has begun to blur.

If you’re wondering whether continuing education is a good move or professional development is a better option, we’re here to remove the confusion. As experts in continuing education, we’re well-placed to assist you in making an informed choice. So, let’s begin.

Continuing education – what it is and who can benefit

After you’ve obtained the general or specialized diploma required to practice your profession, you may find yourself wanting to participate in formal education programs relevant to your profession in the course of your career. This is continuing education, which is training designed to advance your career. Continuing education programs and activities include the following:

  • Participating in seminars and other similar activities
  • Attending expert-led industry workshops
  • Coursework, including online and offline tutorials and formal degree programs
  • Self-study work following a specific, detailed curriculum
  • Obtaining certificates, accreditation or other credentials

Participating in continuing education can earn you units or credits that can help streamline your education, be used as part of the documentation of your professional competency and provide you some leverage during salary negotiations.

Moreover, you can learn new skills and improve your chances at promotion with continuing education. If you have state re-licensing requirements in order to fulfill requirements for graduation, need to submit a university transcript or prefer relevant and in-depth training, then continuing education is also for you.

Professional development – definition and benefits

Professional development includes all the training, certifications and education that an employee receives or undergoes to succeed in their profession. 

Since different jobs require different skills, each person’s professional development experience is usually different. Through professional development, employees can learn the skills they need to become better and more efficient at their jobs.

There are various pathways to professional development, including:

  • Conducting research and presenting/sharing your findings with others
  • Presenting papers at conferences and workshops
  • Membership in professional organizations
  • Coordinating events sponsored by a professional organization
  • Serving as an officer, board member or committee member of a professional organization
  • Participating in local, regional, national, and international meetings, conferences and workshops

Professional development programs usually form part of a company’s human resources programs to attract and retain top talent. By investing in their people, companies will benefit not only from the new learning and expertise brought in by those who participate in such programs but also from their enhanced industry reputation.

Continuing education – a part of your career growth

If you decide to pursue continuing education, with or without the sponsorship of your employer, you are actually investing in yourself. Earning certifications and learning new skills in a formal education institution is just the half of it. By continuing to study, you are upgrading your knowledge and skills and making yourself more marketable and competitive.

So, whether or not you are already employed, continue to pursue your goals of advancement by studying to become the best professional version of yourself.

We can help you attain your continuing education goals at AlphaLogic Career College.

Please reach out to us today.

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