What Is Professional Development?

Professional development is the pursuit of knowledge that helps students, teachers and other professionals achieve career advancement or enhance their personal effectiveness at school or work. Continue reading to learn about mandatory and voluntary professional development and to find out more about its different forms. Schools offering Accounting & Human Resources degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Background Information on Professional Development

Professional development can be defined as continuing education lessons in personal and career enrichment. The exact nature of professional development studies may vary depending on the needs of the individuals undergoing the development. The general purpose of most programs is to impart knowledge and increase effectiveness.

Important Information About Professional Development

Types of Professional Development Credit and non-credit courses, seminars, postsecondary programs, continuing education programs, internships
Purposes for Professional Development Career advancement, increased compensation, licensure renewal, skill building
Approaches to Professional Development Mentoring, individual or group study, work-study
Online Availability Some professional development programs are available online

Professional Development for Students

There are many different professional development resources available to students at postsecondary learning institutions. The majority of professional development programs on college campuses are primarily focused on career advancement. Many also offer studies in topics like community service and cultural diversity.

Many schools operate professional development centers that allow students to join or walk in and receive career counseling, internship assistance and job placement. Some colleges require students to complete a certain amount of professional development credit hours, which typically encompass service learning, resume writing or job interviewing skills. Many institutions also provide relevant courses for individuals not enrolled in college. Subjects range from computer training for professionals to job search assistance for welfare recipients.

Professional Development for Educators

In many states, teachers are mandated to participate in professional development. These requirements can be met through various forms of study, including workshops, conferences and continuing education courses, which are often offered at local colleges. Exact guidelines vary from state to state, but a set amount of professional development credits or units are usually required.

Many educators complete professional development credits with coursework specific to the subjects they teach; such opportunities are often available through professional associations, like the National Science Teachers Association. Numerous general education development courses are also available. These cover child literacy, student participation in classes, learning disabilities, instructional technology and classroom diversity.

Professional Development for Executives

Executives in many fields often choose to seek out professional development opportunities to increase their effectiveness or acquire relevant skills in hopes of receiving a promotion or raise. While these pursuits are often voluntary, many companies and business sectors require their employees to meet minimum professional development requirements.

In some cases, these obligations can be met by completion of charity work; however, constantly changing fields, such as medicine and engineering, require professionals to stay up-to-date on new developments in their sectors by attending continuing education courses. Topics covered in voluntary professional development classes can range from the general to the specific, such as leadership skills and nonprofit grant writing, respectively.

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