Continuing education is a common requirement in many industries and professions. But with so many different course providers to choose from, trying to filter out the good options from the below-average ones can be a real challenge.
5 Ways to Find Top Continuing Education Courses
What do lawyers, doctors, pilots, wealth managers, and real estate agents all have in common? They each have to participate in continuing education courses every few years to continue practicing in their chosen fields. Furthermore, they each struggle to consistently find quality continuing education that’s convenient and affordable.
Whether you’re in one of these occupations, or one of the dozens of others that require ongoing continuing education, here are a few important factors to consider in your search for the best and most reliable options.
- Reviews and Testimonials
Any continuing education provider can make bold claims on their website. The question is, do those claims hold water with the people who actually matter?
The best way to know if a continuing education course is worth investing in is to listen to the people who’ve taken the course in the past. Read as many independent reviews and testimonials as you possibly can. Look for the consistent threads throughout. The truth is usually found in the average of all opinions.
The worst thing that could happen is that you spend time and money taking a course only to discover it won’t actually give you the credit you need. Having said that, make sure the course you’re considering taking is certified and approved by the appropriate groups, bodies, and/or boards.
- Course Format
We all have different learning styles. Some people are auditory learners, while others are visual learners. Then there are students who would prefer to have all of the material in a textbook so that they can flip through it at their own pace. Make sure you choose a course that has the proper format for you.
Some providers, like Last Minute CEU’s, offer a variety of course types. For example, they have live seminars, live online courses, and self-paced online courses. This gives you the ability to choose the option that’s the best fit.
There’s nothing wrong with being new in an industry. However, you never want another company to cut their teeth at your expense. Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid new companies that don’t have much experience.
You want a company that has a track record of providing high-quality education. Pay attention to how long a company has been in business. If there are dissatisfied past customers, you’ll know. (Bad education providers don’t stay in business very long.)
If you’re being honest, you probably make most of your continuing education decisions based on the price. But we’ve intentionally included this as the last factor on the list. Because in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the ultimate factor.
Zoom out and look at the value of continuing education and how it can help you advance your career. Is it really worth saving $75 and taking a low-quality course, when you could spend a bit more and get a better quality course that equips you with two or three valuable nuggets of wisdom that can be applied to advance your career?
If all things are created equal, then certainly go with the less expensive one. But in many cases, you’ll find a correlation between cost and value. Make sure you’re investing in yourself!
Make the Smart Choice
It’s really easy to get so focused on the requirement component of continuing education that you neglect the actual education part. We’ve all found ourselves in that situation where it’s three days before a renewal deadline and we’re scrambling to find the quickest and most convenient course available. But if you really want to take continuing education seriously, you have to prioritize the quality of the courses you take.
There is no perfect choice for continuing education courses. There are, however, smart choices. It’s best to think about the options as resting along a spectrum. If you can avoid the below-average options on the left hand side of the spectrum and focus on the above-average options on the right hand side, you’ll tend to have better results.