Finding the right continuing education programs is worth the effort to maximize your return on investment. Here are some guidelines on how to find the best courses for your needs. We’ll cover some ways you can evaluate course options before signing up, enabling you to derive the greatest value from your education while avoiding wasted time and money. We’ll also look at some methods you can use to review courses you’ve completed in order to better plan future course selection. Finally, we’ll share how online resources can help you with finding the right continuing education programs.
How Do You Know If a Course Is Right for You?
Prior to taking a course, you can take a number of steps to help evaluate whether it’s suitable for your needs. Taking the time to make this evaluation can help you focus your energy on the most relevant courses and avoid wasting resources. Here are some criteria to help you select the right courses for your purposes. Use these guidelines as a checklist to guide you through your course evaluation process.
Preview the Content of the Course
One way to evaluate a course is by considering its content. The first thing to look at is the course’s title. Ideally, a well-crafted title will communicate the main topic of the course in clear, precise language. However, in some cases the instructor will opt for a catchy title rather than a descriptive one. This in itself can provide you with some insight into the instructor’s presentation style, indicating what type of approach they take to communicating material.
The course’s program description will often flesh out the title with an itemized list outlining the content. In CE-Credit.com course descriptions, you can view not only a detailed description of course information, including who the course is recommended for and what the objectives of the course are, but you can also see relevant continuing education approvals, what materials the course includes, and previews of exam content. This allows you to gain a detailed overview of the course before committing to it, empowering you to make an informed decision.
Once you’ve gained a perspective on what the course covers, you should consider how it fits with your learning objectives. Does the course cover an area of interest or relevance to you? For example, does it involve an emerging hot topic in your field which you should stay informed about? How could you apply the material taught in the course to your actual daily practice? Would learning the content be helpful to your staff or your clients?
Another item from course descriptions to consider is the instructor’s qualifications. Does the instructor have qualifications which lead you to believe the course will provide meaningful information? What degrees do they list? What practical experience do they have in the area of their course content? Have they been published in peer-reviewed journals? For published instructors, you may wish to search for their publications to gain a sense of their expertise and presentation style.
Is the Course Approved for Your Requirements?
If you’re taking a course in order to meet professional requirements, it’s critical to check whether the course is approved for those requirements. If not, you could be wasting your time and money. CE-Credit.com course listings include a CE Approvals tab listing national board approvals and linking to a tool for checking state licensing requirements.
What Do Others Say?
Another important tool for evaluating courses is to learn what others thought of them. What is the average rating from others who took the course previously? How many other ratings has the course received? Gauging how others responded to a course can help balance the information you gain from the instructor’s own description of their course.
Review Your Course after Completion
It can be equally valuable to review your courses after you’ve taken them. This can help you decide whether to take additional courses on related topics or more courses from the same instructor. It can also be useful when considering whether to recommend courses or instructors to other members of your staff or other colleagues.
To evaluate a course after completion, consider questions such as:
- What were your biggest takeaways from the course?
- How knowledgeable was the instructor?
- How effective was the instructor at communicating their material?
- Did the course help you achieve your intended objective in taking it?
- Would you benefit from additional courses on this topic?
- Would you benefit from additional courses from this instructor?
- Would others you know benefit from this course or this instructor?
- Was the currency of the information presented in the material is appropriate?
- Was the course material was appropriate to my education, experience, and/or licensure level?
- Are the number of credit hours is appropriate for this course?
- Is the cost of the course a good value?
Answering post-course survey questions such as this after you’ve taken courses can help you plan your long-term continuing education strategy, help you decide if you felt this course was a good fit, and derive more value from future courses you take.
Finding the Right Continuing Education Programs Is Worth the Effort
When you’re evaluating continuing education options, the place to begin is reviewing the course content. Look at courses titles and descriptions, evaluate them in terms of your learning objectives, and consider the instructor’s qualifications. Factor in your continuing education requirements and input from course reviews as well. After taking a course, reviewing your results can help you evaluate how valuable a continuing education provider is and plan your future course selection. Conducting this review process can help ensure that the time and money you invest in your courses pays off in the results you want.
To help you find the right courses for your needs, CE-Credit.com offers board-approved continuing education units for social workers, counselors, psychologists, and therapists. Our course menu currently includes 455 courses representing 1439 credits. Our courses cover a wide range of popular topics, including addictions and substance use, evidence-based interventions, clinical topics and methods, and working with children and adolescents. Register today to start a free course on the topic that’s right for you.