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Continuing Education: Good for You and Good for Your Career

August 15, 2011

The workforce is heavily dependent upon having an educated and skilled workforce. Just think of how much computer technology we need to know these days just to scan a document and email it as an attachment, or run a diagnostic machine. This requires continuous, usually incremental, learning yet using this knowledge of technology merely supports an SLP’s daily work – the more significant learning rests in staying up-to-date and effective in the actual practice of the profession itself.

Let’s face it: to be a speech-language pathologist, you have to like going to school. As a profession that requires graduate level education, speech-language pathologists are experienced students. While some may lament the continuous need to acquire CEUs and the cost associated with that, most SLPs acknowledge the fundamental value of continuing professional education because of its obvious value to patients. Of course, it is of great value to SLPs too: it keeps SLPs up-to-date on clinical and professional issues and provides intellectual stimulation and professional enrichment. Continuing education can encompass far more than CEU acquisition, however, and there have never been so many ways to obtain additional skills and education.

Continuing education can provide SLPs with the credentials they need to advance in their careers, maintain their ASHA certification, and prove that they are qualified to provide the services they offer to clients/patients. SLPs have a number of options when seeking profession-related education including SLP conferences, courses at local colleges and universities, and distance education (online) courses. Continuing education doesn’t stop at profession-related subject matter however.

Leadership, management, accounting, negotiation skills, small business management, recruiting, marketing, sales, and business writing courses provide valuable information for SLPs who wish to start their own businesses, advance to management roles within a larger company, or branch out into business roles in health care or in other sectors. The beauty of continuing education courses is that there are so many available that it’s easy to find one that meets the student’s scheduling constraints, budget, interests and needs. Course delivery can be in an actual classroom setting in a building, in a virtual classroom online, self-paced online, self-paced at home with support online or by phone, or a combination of these. Continuing education students usually know precisely what they want to learn, how it relates to their present work, and how they will apply it in their careers. Courses are usually taught by instructors who have significant industry or hands-on professional experience, and who understand the real-world environments in which students wish to apply their new knowledge.

No article on the subject of continuing education would be complete without noting that continuing education on any subject of interest will be personally enriching even if it has no direct benefit to one’s career. It’s important to pursue interests that don’t pertain to work, since we are each much more than just the profession that we practice.

If a career change, job change, or career advancement is on your horizon, give some thought to what you need to know to get to where you want to be, and then check out our online continuing education resources.  Enjoy!