The process of learning is an ongoing one. There should never be a moment in our lives where we stop and say “Okay, I don’t need to learn anything more”. Maintaining a teachable spirit for our entire lives keeps our minds sharp and our imaginations fresh.
Naturally, one of the ways of achieving this is through continuing education. While there are times when the option of continuing education is logistically difficult if not outright impossible, it’s something that should always be hovering in the background, ready to be taken advantage of when time, resources, and circumstances are more favorable.
Here are some reasons why the need for continuing education is absolutely essential.
In Some Cases, It’s A Requirement
Funny thing about some careers that require accreditation for a license; they expect you to stay current, year after year. That’s why some professions carry a requirement of annual training. As the article “AIA Continuing Education” points out, for instance, some states, and all members of the American Institute of Architects, must meet an annual requirement of a certain number of education credits in order to maintain a license and remain a member in good standing of the AIA.
The specifics vary from state to state, as well as by profession, but the simple fact is, things change over time. New rules are enacted, old standards and practices are discontinued. The more your profession depends on a strong knowledge base, the more likely you will need to keep up your education long after you graduated from school.
It Improves Your Marketability
Let’s say you’re in charge of hiring a professional for your company. As you look through the stacks of resumes, you notice that one candidate has kept up on the very latest information in the field, as opposed to the rest, who earned their last course credits back at the turn of the millennium. Really now; who stands out as the best candidate, the one who most likely will be familiar with all of the latest innovations, regulations, and practices?
By getting involved in continuing education, you make yourself a more attractive choice for hiring. If your field is especially competitive, this gives a distinct advantage.
You Can Make New Contacts
Sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Getting back to taking classes, whether online or in an actual classroom, means meeting new people, many of them quite possibly in the same field you are. You never can tell when a contact will pay off down the line, and getting back into a learning environment may have the collateral benefit of forging new acquaintances and friends.
It’s Good For Your Brain
Finally, continuing education actually has a long-term mental benefit. A brain that’s constantly being used, challenged, and expanded is a healthy brain, one that doesn’t slow down as much as it ages. There are findings that point to the idea, for instance, that a brain that’s kept constantly active is less susceptible to degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease. Granted, this may not be a big concern for people in their twenties or thirties, but establishing good mental habits early on in life will reap big dividends further down the line.
Bottom line, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose, on many levels, if you continue your education beyond graduation. Something to consider.