Smarten Up Your 2020 Plans With Continuing Education

READ TIME: 3 minutes

A degree from a two- or four-year college program doesn’t keep up with the real world. On the job training can’t teach you everything you need to know. That’s why continuing education–in the classroom, online, or at professional conferences–plays a critical role in qualifying you for more and better opportunities.

Here’s why continuing education should be part of your 2020 plans.

  • To take a deeper dive. In a niche industry like event planning, continuing education courses are sometimes the only way to acquire specialized knowledge, such as designing a trade show floor plan, calculating event ROI, or pricing your event planning services.
  • To get practical help. Continuing education courses expand your current understanding of a topic. They spark creativity, help you discover new ways to solve traditional problems, and save you money and time by showing you what works vs. what doesn’t.
  • To stay up to date. As the world changes, terminology, tools, and norms change too. Continuing education helps keep you abreast of the ongoing digital, economic, and social changes that impact your job and industry.
  • To learn from the pros. Continuing education provides you with an opportunity to learn from leaders, authors, and practitioners who aren’t normally accessible through your job or school. At the Event Leadership Institute, courses are taught by industry leaders who are passionate about sharing their expertise and wisdom with you.
  • To learn from and with your peers. Choosing to continue your education puts you on a path with others who have the same objectives. You can forge personal and business relationships with others and learn as much from their questions and comments as you can from the courses. 
  • To become certified. Completing a program can yield tangible benefits. Some programs provide certifications, such as Certified Special Events Planner (CSEP), Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM), and Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), which can make you eligible for more and better job opportunities.
  • To let you do your own thing. Continuing education is flexible. There is no requirement to enroll or qualify, and you can craft your own post-graduate education across multiple companies and courses. Want to learn about flower arrangement? Take a course on Ikebana (Japanese traditional flower arrangement) and follow it with Mindfulness Flower Arranging. The former is for your business and the latter is for yourself.
  • To enjoy the savings. Online courses can be very cost effective, in time as well as in money.
  • To feel good. Learning new things can be hugely gratifying. It fosters a sense of accomplishment, which boosts confidence. It can also save you from embarrassment in a professional setting when everyone else in the room understands the topic and you don’t. 

Continuing education fills a critical (and widening) gap between what you learn in school and on the job and what you need to know to evolve. It also democratizes knowledge across an industry by providing all learners with access to affordable and flexible learning. Ultimately though, it gives you options: for a better job, higher salary, and more influence. Make 2020 the year you prepare for your new future.