Staying up-to-date on new information or developing trends in your field is always an ongoing process. In many fields, it is even required to keep your credentials current through continuing education, renewed certifications and licenses, or other professional development. Depending on the field, failing to meet the requirements can cause you to lose your credentials or worse, your job. Even some volunteer positions may require training, such as CPR certifications, to stay involved.
Participating in ongoing training to maintain and even expand your proficiency in your field is a worthwhile pursuit. It is helpful in a variety of ways. For example, training opportunities add to your knowledge base, practice and sharpen skills, teach new research or methods, and share insights from others.
As a faculty member, I am required to attend workshops on teaching excellence each year to hone my skills in areas like student engagement, providing feedback, and using technology in the classroom. Although these workshops are required, I see them as an opportunity for growth and collaboration with other teachers. I also attend conferences to keep up with the ideas at the forefront of my field.
Here’s a lesson I have learned the hard way: Getting a credential back is usually much harder than simply keeping it current. The key is to plan ahead so you don’t let it slip away.
First, find out exactly what is required to maintain your credentials. Then, look for at least three options that will fulfill the requirement. Having a few options to choose from will help you find the one that fits your schedule and aligns with your interests too. Next, add the testing, training, or whatever it is you need to your schedule well before the due date. You don’t want to get caught scrambling when the deadline arrives. Finally, make sure you submit the appropriate documentation to receive credit for the work you did. Proving you did something after the fact is more difficult than taking care of it right away.
Keeping your credentials current is an important part of staying active in your field. It also offers a practical way to sharpen your skills through relevant training and interaction with other professionals. By planning ahead, you can fulfill the requirements you need without the stress of racing a deadline.
Share your insights! What credentials do you keep current? How do you plan ahead to meet the requirements?