Most licensed professionals are required to complete continuing education, sometimes referred to as Professional Development Hours, in order to renew their state license. These requirements were put in place to ensure that licensed professionals serving the public are abreast of current regulations, technologies and trends to better safeguard the public welfare.
Before the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web professionals were mostly limited to attending live seminars and workshops to fulfill their state-mandated education requirements. These seminars usually lasted one or more days and were generally held only in large cities on specific and limited dates. The cost to professionals in both time and money were significant.
Today, however, many states allow licensed professionals to attain their education requirements through what is known as distance learning. One of the most popular forms of distance learning is taking online courses, which has several benefits over more traditional seminars and workshops.
The first and most obvious benefit is reduced cost. Most online continuing education providers can offer the same number of Professional Development Hours as a seminar at a fraction of the cost.
The second major benefit is time. Rather than having to adjust one’s schedule to accommodate a seminar held on a specific date and time online courses allow the student to read and study the course material whenever it is most convenient. And rather than having to dress for the public and sit for hours on end in a conference hall online study can be completed in the comfort of one’s own home or office and on one’s own schedule.
A third benefit is that there are no travel costs associated with online courses. Seminars and workshops are generally held only a few times a year and in only a few major cities. Those professionals who live outside of these metropolitan areas must spend even more time and money on travel and lodging in order to attend. Taking online continuing education courses eliminates these expenses and allows the professional to spend their time and money on more important things.
A fourth benefit of using an online provider is that they usually generate and email your Certificate of Completion immediately upon completing a course. Some seminar and workshop providers can take days or weeks to prepare the official documentation your state may require.
Another benefit of using online course providers is that most can track your course history. With a few clicks of the mouse a student can review the courses they have taken, their test grades and even reprint their Certificates of Completion. Being able to see a list of the courses you have taken over the last several years helps when deciding what courses to take next. This can be especially important as most states do not allow credit for courses taken more than once in three years.
Online continuing education course providers can also offer something most seminar and workshop providers cannot: a large variety of courses on many different topics by many different experts.