5 Sources to Further Professional Development
Updated: Mar 9, 2019
Every year new developments related to your chosen career field are being made. To stay up to date with the latest standards you have to continue learning long past graduating from school or participating in training sessions at work. If you don't, you risk your knowledge/approach becoming obsolete. However, if you continue your professional development you not only cement your place as an expert in the field, but become valued as someone who can bring your client/company into the future.
Below are my 5 favorite sources for professional development. Hope they help you as much as they have helped me!
1. Community College - Community colleges offer courses outside of the ones necessary for students seeking a degree, including ones geared towards professional development. Some of these courses are offered in person, but many are available online. This feature makes them a great resource to use when you have a strict schedule but want to receive a more formal education.
2. Accredited Organizations/Associations - Virtually every professional field has one or more accredited organizations/associations representing it. These organizations are great resources for professional development! Because they are recognized for maintaining a certain standard and/or giving out certifications, they usually have classes/workshops/webinars/seminars you can take to earn professional development credits. Even those that don't offer accreditation tend to give free resources you can use to further your education.
3. Nonprofit Organizations - In the same vein as accredited organizations, many nonprofit organizations offer free resources as well! These can come in the form of presentations or workshops led by experts in the field. Another way to further your professional development with nonprofits is to volunteer for them. By getting directly involved you receive on the job training (of a sort), and can learn new approaches you hadn't thought of before.
4. Webinars & Seminars- This may surprise you, but I've often found webinars and seminars from companies that have a product or service to sell. They offer free or reduced-price classes that provide valuable information (and encourage you to purchase their product). As long as you don't mind the sales pitch, you can get some fantastic lessons from these webinars.
5. Books, Magazines, and Newsletters - Last but not least, you can educate yourself through written materials. Books can be obtained from online retailers, bookstores, the library, or even thrift stores. Furthermore, most fields have an organization that offers monthly magazines or newsletters you can subscribe to. While learning this way isn't as formal as the other methods on this list, it's a valuable way to learn on your own time and build a personal reference library you can refer to when you need a refresher.
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