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professional development.

Professional development programs can give you the chance to expand your professional skills while giving you exposure to other aspects of your chosen field. Read on to learn more about professional development.

What is Professional Development?

Professional development refers to the continued training and education of an individual in regards to his or her career. The goal of professional development is to keep you up-to-date on current trends as well as help you develop new skills for the purpose of advancement in the field.

Some professions actually require professional development in order to renew certification or licensure and ensure employees are up to standard. However, you can typically pursue professional development on your own through programs offered by educational institutions, professional organizations, or even your own employer.

What Can I Study?

Computer skills, customer service, budgeting, and project management are just a handful of subjects available for you to study. Professional development topics can also be specialized depending on your profession, whether it be in law, education, the healthcare field, or the service industry. For example, if you’re a teacher, you may be focusing on new ways to utilize technology in your teaching methods.

How Are Professional Development Programs Structured?

Each program is unique and can vary depending on the subject matter and type of training. Generally, professional development is delivered in a classroom setting. However, your program can incorporate different learning methods depending on the needs of your job. Some professional development programs require you to participate in applied work experiences as part of the curriculum. Others may have you attending workshops or seminars. Some programs actually pair you with a mentor to give you one-on-one instruction during their duration.

How Long Do They Take to Complete?

Program length can also vary widely, but is typically designed around attaining a certain number of instructional hours. For example, more extensive programs may have you commit to several training sessions a week for up to 48 weeks. Other types of professional development, such as workshops and seminars, might be completed in a matter of days.

Usually, these training periods are completed after work-hours, but sometimes they may be factored into the workday itself.

Can Professional Development Be Taken Online?

Many colleges offer professional development courses totally online or in blended formats that combine online instruction with classroom settings. Online courses offer increased convenience, as you may be able to complete your coursework whenever you want and take your time going through the material.

However, even if the material is presented entirely online, there may still be synchronous course requirements, such as video conferences or assignments, depending on the program. Make sure to research individual programs to make sure you can commit the time and money, and that the course is in line with your professional aspirations.