The Value of Professional Education

With the kids back to school, it's a great time to turn your attention to your own professional education. Lawyers, doctors, teachers and many other professions require periodic re-certification and have strict requirements for continuing education. Likewise, many government agencies and specialty programs like the Presidential Management Fellows, require their employees to attain a certain number of training hours a year, but for the majority of people, continuing education is completely voluntary.

For those seeking ongoing professional education, there are a number of classifications and categories of education credits available. Some of the most common include:

  • CPEs - Continuing Professional Education. Offered by universities, professional organizations and private companies, these courses are typically accredited by the organization's governing body and help professionals stay current with their industry and its changes.
  • CEUs -- Continuing Education Units. These credits tend to be related to licensed professions and are tied to the renewal of those licenses.
  • Certifications - Certifications are an official marker of knowledge, study and mastery and are typically tied to a specific skill rather than a field of study.
  • CLPs -- Continuous Learning Points. This form of learning credit was created by the DoD and acquisition communities. There is no central governing body or uniform set of standards for issuing CLPs making the process for offering and awarding CLPs less rigorous than that for CEUs.

The value in pursuing educational credits, even when not required, is in the outward expression of your desire to continue to grow and expand in your career. Having certifications as letters after your name provides a level of credibility.

No matter your professional field there are plenty of events out there to help you earn required and voluntary education credits. We've pulled together a quick list of some coming up in the next several months.

  • Digital Transformation Summit (October 3, 2018; Washington, DC) -- Top influencers and innovators from the federal technology community will discuss how agencies can evolve to better serve their customers, meet their mission goals and succeed in the connected future including investing in modern infrastructure, automated delivery models, and new IT and cultural processes. 4 CPE credits are available.
  • Technology in Government: Where IT and the Mission Meet (October 11, 2018; Washington, DC) -The Association for Federal Information Resource Management designed this event to bring together agencies who are revolutionizing government services by tapping emerging technologies today. PDUs are available for this event.
  • Imagination Nation ELC 2018 (October 14-17, 2018; Philadelphia, PA) -- This event brings together forward-thinking leaders of government and industry to network, share, learn, collaborate, and together imagine and invent their future. The goal is to harness creative thinking, innovation and technology to form a more perfect union of government and industry, and forge actionable approaches and practices that maximize the value they provide to our nation's citizens. Organized by ACT IAC, the event qualifies for 28 CLPs.
  • CPIC Boot Camp New Orleans (October 16-19, 2018; New Orleans, LA) -- This 4-day intensive course covers the comprehensive nature of CPIC (Capital Planning and Investment Control) in-practice, guidance, and specifics relating to required artifacts and how to do them. It can help those pursuing Capital Planning Professional (CPP) certification or those looking for a deeper level of exposure to the CPIC Life Cycle Methodology. This year's event will focus on the newer framework and methodology for cost accounting in IT Cost Towers as dictated by Federal IT modernization initiatives. Attendees can earn up to 32 CLPs as well as other credits.
  • The 37th Annual Government Contract Management Symposium (December 3-4, 2018; Arlington, VA) -- The Government Contract Management Symposium (GCMS) is held annually by the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) to provide training for professionals in both government and industry contracting. The event qualifies for 12.25 CLPs and CPEs.
  • Management and Leadership Skills for Environmental Health and Safety Professionals (March 11-14, 2019; Boston, MA) -- Improving environmental health and safety performance within organizations requires an in-depth understanding of management principles and the leadership skills to drive change. This course, run by the Harvard School of Public Health, helps attendees develop the management skills needed to improve the EHS function while gaining the leadership skills needed to lead teams, make decisions, build stakeholder buy-in, and generate and sustain change. A variety of credit options are available.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the value of continuing education credits and the best places to earn them. Share your thoughts in the comments.

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