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Education Institutions – Miss the Mark With Continuing Education Credits

Have you recently graduated from a post secondary institution and are now faced with have to earn continuing education credits? Everyone involved in a continuing education program is in a position to reap multiple benefits: the student, the trainer, and the host or sponsor of the classes. The trainer benefits by being paid for teaching; the university or college benefits by gaining revenue, and the student reaps personal and professional value from the professional development knowledge or the skills learned in a course. In many instances, however, all three of the players in continuing education are missing out on significant additional assets if the offered courses are not accredited by a professional governing body. The key word is accredited.

“A Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is a unit of credit typically equal to 1 hour of participation in an accredited program designed for professionals with certificates or licenses to practice various professions.

Examples of people who need continuing education (CEs) include engineers, lawyers, CPAs, educators, nurses, human resource professionals, architects, certified financial planners, mental health professionals, realtors, and social workers. Continuing education credit completion certificates are used to provide evidence of completion of courses that have fulfilled continuing education requirements mandated by certification bodies, professional societies, or governmental licensing boards.

Certain professions require that practitioners earn a specific number of continuing education credits per year to ensure that they are up-to-date with current practices in their field and are mastering their soft skills. Proof of credits earned is necessary in order to renew a license or certification. The annual number of continuing education credits required varies by state and profession.” http://www.orau.gov/tdd/ceus.pdf

Harvard University and many other top-ranked colleges and universities do provide continuing education courses in their alumni programs or continuing education programs, but their offerings are typically not accredited for continuing education credits specifically for professionals with designations. Those schools lose tuition resources when students turn to certification-friendly associations or national governing bodies to meet their professional re-certification / maintenance needs.

Instructors who are subject matter experts and teach courses that are not continuing education accredited are missing the added value that the accreditation provides to the students’ return on their investment. As subject matter experts, they also are missing the opportunity that the approval provides for credibility exposure as an accredited subject matter expert curriculum provider and facilitator with whom one can receive continuing education credits. In addition to teaching courses on-site at universities and colleges, many qualified subject matter experts provide online courses. IF their curriculum were approved, their online courses would also receive the benefits of the accreditation and would expand professional access with that valuable hook.

Students, recent graduates of professional designation programs, are often left hanging when it comes to fulfilling professional requirements at educational institutions that host non-accredited continuing education courses. Muddling through the resources to determine where qualified courses are hosted can be a daunting process for a designated professional. Professionals need to know which institutions can fulfill that need, whether they take the courses in person or online. For the best return on their time and money spent, they will elect to take courses from educational institutions that are qualified for continuing education credit through a simplified, one-step process.

Take a look at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business Executive Programs. They offer Executive Education, a suite of conferences and educational leadership programs designed to meet the needs of busy businesses and executives. Whether at classroom facilities in Buckhead or on site at your organization, they combine faculty with industry experts to deliver programs that provide critical skills necessary for success.

However, although the courses offered qualify for continuing education credit, The Terry College of Business is missing the mark, because they are not offering the value of the credits as a marketing advantage leader and the additional return on the registrants’ investments by the added value that the continuing education credit offers.

The Terry College of Business offers the following professional designation industry certifications: Certified Financial Planner; Certified Personal Retirement Specialist; and Project Management.  The Terry College of Business and other educational institutions need to start to provide the graduates continuing education course offerings for re-certification hours after they complete their professional designations.  Courses at The Terry College of Business and other educational institutions could be accredited.  When the educational institutions start to offer credits for courses,  the return on the investment for the institutions and for the designated professionals will be massive.

“Who Can Award Official Continuing Education Credits for Training Conducted? There is no one specific location where professionals can locate and participate in continuing education courses. Many professional designation industries, such as nursing or CPAs, for example, will have their own accrediting processes for continuing education courses.” http://www.orau.gov/tdd/ceus.pdf It is often left up to the designated professional to source out and find courses relevant to their industry and their needs.

In some instances, the accrediting bodies disallow universities from applying directly for continuing education provider status, but nothing prevents their subject matter experts, the curriculum providers at their institutions, from receiving continuing education provider status. That hurdle can easily be overcome.

Clearly, a huge gap in the continuing education world needs to be closed to the advantage of everyone involved. One-stop shopping is the answer for professionals looking for credits, for subject matter experts looking to offer courses, for educational institutions looking to drive more business, and for an accrediting governing body looking to add more member value and increase their profits.

Always remember to be great and be your best,

Lisa Patrick

Lisa is the founder of XTRAcredits Group Inc. She is savvy, persistent and determined to continue her success. She attacks every business she is involved in with passion & tenacity to help support businesses & their people to achieve continuing success! She is considered the go-to expert for everything and anything continuing education related.

 

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XTRAcredits is the yellow pages for everything and anything continuing education and professional development credit related. XTRAcredits.com offers a catalogue of pre-approved on-demand professional development courses for continuing education credits anytime and anywhere.