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The Importance of Continuing Education

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Shorter Version


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The Importance of Continuing Education

Even though you’re into a professional role, that doesn’t mean learning stops! In actuality, this an opportunity to put the skills you learned in school to good use. You will also identify what skills you still need to improve on. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of continuing education!

Budgeting and Planning

The first step in evaluating continuing education options is to determine your budget, timeframe, what opportunities you can do within your company, and what’s available outside your company. Firstly, set up a meeting with your supervisor to better understand if the company financially supports professional development opportunities

If they do offer financial support, create a plan with your supervisor to make a list of what training and certifications will best serve you in your current role and potentially longer-term as well. Look for opportunities with high ROI, such as LinkedIn Learning. That platform has a wide range of professional development topics from technical to social to help you excel in the workplace. The best part? You pay one fee per month and have unlimited access to complete as many courses as you like. 

Conferences and the Internet 

Industry-specific conferences are a great way to network and learn how to be successful in your field. Conferences can often be pretty pricey though, and if you aren’t getting funding from your company, you’re left footing the bill for flights, hotels, and food. 

For many fields, there are great free resources on the internet and YouTube that can put in-demand skills at your fingertips 24/7. Can’t afford InDesign? Check out Canva, a free design platform that allows you to create anything from presentations to social media posts. Can’t remember how to write that specific formula in Excel? YouTube it! 

The Importance of Continuing Education: Graduate School?

You’ve been in school your entire life and now you’re into your professional career and someone is telling you to go back to school? For many of us, that’s a hard pass. But there are some real benefits to getting a graduate degree. You can leverage higher future salaries, get a promotion, or move into a new area of an organization you may have not been qualified for before. 

I’d urge you to ask yourself—do you actually need a graduate degree to do what you really want to? Should you do it now or later? Can you pay for it? Will your employer support you (financially and socially) in progressing your education?

If you can’t see a clear relationship between what you’re studying in grad school and how it directly relates to pushing your career to the next level, I’d advise pursuing less expensive continuing education options and revisit grad school later in your career. 




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Actionable Steps


1

Determine What Type of Continuing Education is Best for You.

Not all continuing education opportunities are created equally. Some are very casual, “do when you can” kind of things, while others are full degree programs requiring years of commitment. Be intentional with what you commit to and make sure it adds value to your resume. Figure out if the education you want will help increase your marketability to employers or clients. You should also consider enhancing both hard and soft skills.

2

Find Out If Your Company Will Fund Continuing Education

This starts with remembering that a lot of employers understand the importance of continuing education. Many companies offer free internal training and education, with many more offering designated funds for employees to use outside the organization. If your company financially supports continuing education, use this resource! It’s part of your compensation package, don’t leave money on the table.  

3

Bring a Beginner’s Mindset.

You never know where your career will lead you. While you may not have a direct use in your current position to learn business analytics or graphic design, it might very well be the reason you’re approached or considered for a future opportunity. Continuing education can be used very intentionally to progress your career. It’s also a way for you to explore areas outside your current expertise, to gauge your interest and engagement levels before committing to a full career pivot. Be open!

Still need help? Ask the coaches!

About the Author


Nadia Ibrahim-Taney

Nadia Ibrahim-Taney

Career Coach

Nadia Ibrahim-Taney, M.Ed., MA is the founder and principal career coach for Beyond Discovery Coaching. Her mission is to help you design and build a happy and fulfilling career that makes you want to get out of bed every day. She is an experienced higher education administrator with a prestigious tenure working with students in the United States and the United Kingdom.

She has spent the past 15 years working with students in different roles across academia. In addition to career coaching, she is an experienced tutor who has helped students at some of the most elite universities in the US including Harvard, MIT, Tufts University, and Boston University. Contact Nadia if you need a career coach, or if you are a student looking for help with time management, academic planning, assignment planning, and accountability partnering.

1:1 Coaching | LinkedIn | Instagram


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