A Guide to Professional Development: How It Can Be the Boost Your Career Needs

One of the inevitabilities of following any career path is eventually running into a roadblock.

No matter how knowledgeable you are about your specific line of work or how much you prepared for taking on a particular job, there’s still going to be a good chance that you will, at some point, feel as though you’ve hit a wall and you can’t figure out how to get around it.

Reaching that point can be incredibly frustrating. It becomes a real challenge when you become unsure of how you should proceed and how you can get past the obstacle in front of you.

The monotony of your day job can be difficult enough to deal with. However, when that is combined with the very real possibility that you may end up getting stuck in your current position, you need to take action.

For some professionals, moving past that obstacle means simply putting their head down and continuing to work. Others approach that challenge by initiating a bigger change in their life as they go ahead and switch careers.

There is no one right way to navigate a career roadblock, but you may want to consider professional development if you are feeling stuck as well. 

What Is Professional Development?

A group of teachers in professional development class

To put it simply, professional development is all about learning or receiving more training that pertains to your current career path. After graduating college and finding a job, many people focus more of their energy into their careers in order to earn promotions, higher salaries, and whichever perks may come with continued corporate advancement.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that approach to your career and it works for many people. You are not limited to that path however.

If you want to continue learning about your line of work so that you can become an expert in the field or simply become a more capable worker, professional development should be more up your alley. Professional development deepens your knowledge about your career. You can get more in-depth on certain topics that may have only been touched on during your college years.

Aside from providing you with a way to understand more about your chosen career, professional development can also help with keeping you updated. You can learn more about new trends that are emerging in your field if you put in the time for a professional development course.

Professional development can be considered as an extension of your studies during college, but it will enable you to concentrate more on topics that are most relevant to your current career. 

What Are the Benefits of Taking Up a Professional Development Course?

Knowledge is power written on a chalk board

The first and most obvious benefit of participating in a professional development course is that you are able to obtain valuable knowledge that can help you take advantage of career advancement opportunities. Your employer may be more inclined to give you a promotion if you are seen as someone who takes the initiative to improve. Along with that promotion, you can also count on seeing a larger paycheck.

You can also acquire valuable skills while going through a professional development course. For example, programmers and software developers may transform themselves into more capable workers by studying the newer programming languages. Suddenly, you have a leg up on others in your company if there is a need to develop something using a relatively new programming language.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that approach to your career and it works for many people. You are not limited to that path however.

If you want to continue learning about your line of work so that you can become an expert in the field or simply become a more capable worker, professional development should be more up your alley. Professional development deepens your knowledge about your career. You can get more in-depth on certain topics that may have only been touched on during your college years.

Aside from providing you with a way to understand more about your chosen career, professional development can also help with keeping you updated. You can learn more about new trends that are emerging in your field if you put in the time for a professional development course.

Professional development can be considered as an extension of your studies during college, but it will enable you to concentrate more on topics that are most relevant to your current career. 

Who Can Undergo Professional Development?

There is no limit placed on who can undergo professional development. If you want to learn more about your career and get better at your job, you can take the steps necessary to make that happen.

According to Study.com, professional development courses can tackle a variety of topics involving computers, focus on financial subjects, and even customer service. Folks out there who are eyeing management positions that are soon to come open because someone is retiring can also pick up a relevant course.

Teachers in particular are likely candidates to sign up for professional development courses. The Queens University of Charlotte notes that professional development can help teachers become better educators, provide them with the knowledge they need to handle anything their students may ask them, and it can also be a kind of reprieve from the grind of the profession. After spending many years as the teacher, it can benefit them to assume the role of a student once again. 

People Interacting Outside

Is a Professional Development Course Suitable for Me?

Women looking at a note board

There honestly aren’t a lot of arguments to be made against signing up for a professional development course. Cost is certainly a consideration because you may not have any extra available at the moment, but other hindrances can be overcome.

Spare time is not something everyone has, but if you can re-allocate time you spend on your hobbies and put it towards professional development, you could end up in a better position professionally long-term.

There’s also no need to worry about sticking out like a sore thumb if you decide to attend a professional development course. People of all ages go for these courses because they understand how helpful they can be for advancing your career. You will find a way to blend in and become part of the group even if you are a bit older.

Teachers in particular are incentivized to undergo these professional development courses because of how much it can help with promotion sometime down the line.

Professional development can only help your career and not hurt it. If it’s an accessible option for you, the smart move would be to take it. 

 

What Are the Professional Development Courses Offered?

Someone holding up an open book in a library

We can’t list all of the available professional development courses here because there are too many of them to enumerate, but there are ones that stand out for teachers and other professionals.

Teachers who are interested in professional development can select courses that will help hone their skills inside the classroom.

Differentiated Instruction courses are designed to help teachers formulate new ways to convey lessons to their students. This type of course can make it easier for a teacher to adapt to the different learning styles of the students under their supervision, according to Study.com.

The Assessing Students course is more about getting a handle on the newest teaching tools and techniques that are being used today. This course should also help you develop a better understanding of how students are graded, and the role standardized tests play in the educational system.

You can also spend your time in a Classroom Management course. This is the course you can benefit from the most if you’ve had trouble getting some of the rowdier students in class to behave. You can also create an environment that is more conducive to learning with the help of the knowledge you receive from this course.

Teachers who are tasked with handling students who didn’t grow up in households where English is used as the primary language can also study ESL (English as a Second Language) courses in order to make their lessons easier to understand.

Individuals in other fields also have several course options to choose from if they are interested in professional development.

Programs offered by Harvard include leadership courses that should prove quite helpful to people in management positions. These courses include lessons that will teach you more about communicating effectively as a leader, handling teams, and business skills that are essential for any high-ranking executive to have.

You can also pay for courses that are more focused on developing your negotiation and strategy-formulating skills. If you’re interested in artificial intelligence and the growing role automation has in the world of business it may be worth your time and money to enroll in their course that hits on that subject matter.

Learning how to code has also become trendy these days and for good reason. Given our increasing reliance on pieces of software that make so many aspects of our lives more convenient, you can count on there being demand for knowledgeable coders to last for a long time. Folks looking for a side job to supplement their income may find studying coding to be a good investment.

The Muse has more examples of professional development courses if you’re looking for something more affordable. 

 

Where Are Professional Development Courses Taught?

Students in lecture hall

Professional development courses are offered much in the same way as the college courses of today. There are usually varied options available for many of the professional development courses that are available.

These courses can be offered in more traditional settings if that is what you prefer. Certain people can absorb lessons better if they remain inside the classroom. You will be able to find those types of courses pretty easily.

Students who are more comfortable staying at home and working on their coursework in front of their laptops can go for the online courses.

Notably, there are professional development courses that blend elements of the two. The majority of the course teachings may be offered online though you could still end up being required to attend classroom sessions for exams.

Other courses may also require you to attend workshops and seminars. These can be great learning opportunities for you as well so don’t shy away from courses that come with those requirements. Prior to completing a professional development course, you may also be asked to join in on applied work experiences.

The Glossary of Education Reform also notes that professional development training could come in the form of you being paired up with a more experienced instructor. This happens often with teachers.

The structure of the course could be the difference between one being suitable or unsuitable to you. If you don’t have any preferences, you will have all kinds of options to choose from. 

How Long Will It Take to Complete a Professional Development Course?

Woman with her chin in her hand wearing a watch

While professional development courses share a lot in common with the more conventional educational courses that are offered to college and university students, the one area in which they do vary greatly is in duration.

Since students can devote most of their time to their courses, they can be spread out over the course of months and dive deep into a wide array of topics. That same luxury of time is not afforded to the typical professional development course.
Instructors and providers understand that the vast majority of people who take professional development courses can only use their hours after work or during the weekends to study. Because of that, professional development courses are designed to be shorter to take advantage of the free time students do have.

Many of these professional development courses require you to put in a set amount of hours. The hour requirements are not too bad, and you should be able to meet them in a few months.

Some of these courses do ask for a more significant time commitment on your part. Those will require you to attend more than one class per week over the course of several months.

Professional development courses for teachers are usually longer, but many of them can be taken during the off months from school when schedules are more open. 

Do You Need Your Employer’s Permission to Attend Professional Development Courses?

While professional development courses share a lot in common with the more conventional educational courses that are offered to college and university students, the one area in which they do vary greatly is in duration.

Since students can devote most of their time to their courses, they can be spread out over the course of months and dive deep into a wide array of topics. That same luxury of time is not afforded to the typical professional development course.
Instructors and providers understand that the vast majority of people who take professional development courses can only use their hours after work or during the weekends to study. Because of that, professional development courses are designed to be shorter to take advantage of the free time students do have.

Many of these professional development courses require you to put in a set amount of hours. The hour requirements are not too bad, and you should be able to meet them in a few months.

Some of these courses do ask for a more significant time commitment on your part. Those will require you to attend more than one class per week over the course of several months.

Professional development courses for teachers are usually longer, but many of them can be taken during the off months from school when schedules are more open. 

Employer pointing to a notepad for employee

Will I Ever Be Required to Attend a Professional Development Course?

Teachers in PD Training

The odds are that you won’t be required by your employer to attend any lengthy professional development course. At most, you may end up being asked to attend a few seminars and workshops here and there.

In certain situations though, you will have to pick up specific professional development courses.

You may have to acquire specific certifications and licenses if you want to be seriously considered for higher-ranking positions within your company. Teachers are also often expected to attend various seminars to gain promotions.

Attending a professional development course is not a requirement per se, but it could very well be your ticket to the higher positions in your company. 

What Is Continuing Professional Development?

If you’ve been doing some research online on professional development, you’ve probably run into the term continuing professional development (CPD) at some point.

So, what exactly is CPD about and is it something you also need to look into?

As pointed out by Oxford University Press ELT in this video, CPD varies from professional development because the former is less formal.

Professional development focuses more on typical coursework. They are more structured, and you may even have to answer exams and submit assignments.

CPD is considerably less formal. CPD could simply entail talking to colleagues or conducting your own research.

Of course, with CPD being less formal, you’re not going to get licenses and certifications. For those, you will still have to undergo professional development courses. 

Teachers in continuing education

Conclusion

Students sitting outside with their laptops

You have the option of investing in real estate, in stocks, and numerous other things you may fancy. Don’t forget that investing in your career is an option as well.

It can truly be difficult to find a path forward sometimes in your career if you’re already maximizing the skills and knowledge you have. 

The solution then is to broaden your skillset and add to your knowledge base. By doing those things, you can become a better worker.

Professional development courses have been engineered to provide people from varied career backgrounds with different options they can use to get better at their jobs

 No one may require you to undergo any kind of professional development course, but attending one is still worth considering because of how much it can benefit you in the long run.

The good news is that these professional development courses account for just about everyone. If you are indeed searching for something that can help further your career, investing in professional development, and by extension your personal development, will help out a ton.

Take the time to look carefully for the exact professional development course that will be most beneficial to you. Making the right choice here could open up your best career path. 

If you’re looking for professional development in early childhood education consider Role Model Professional Development.

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