What is a Professional Development System?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 December 2018
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A professional development system is an individualized education and training program that is designed to help a person improve his or her understanding of a profession, obtain important credentials, and explore advancement possibilities. A working professional may design his or her own professional development system, consult career development experts, or participate in state- or employer-sponsored programs. Many occupations emphasize professional development, including teaching, childcare, healthcare, and legal jobs.

Most professional development systems emphasize post-secondary education or vocational training so that an individual can gain the knowledge and credentials necessary to succeed in an occupation. Professional development in the form of ongoing education is important in jobs where technology and research lead to frequent advances and changes in procedures. Medical workers, for example, might need to take refresher courses to ensure they understand the latest developments in testing equipment, medications, and the administration of care. Employers frequently cover the some or all of the costs of continuing education, especially in healthcare and education occupations.

A professional development system may be administered by the human resources division of a company or an outside organization to improve worker productivity and motivation. Trainers often work with employees one-on-one and in group meetings to offer helpful information about communication skills, time management, and teamwork. They may also offer dispute resolution training or provide information on career advancement possibilities.


A career counselor, private organization, or publication might offer a professional development system that is intended to help a person determine his or her career goals. An individual might meet with a counselor, watch instructional videos, read career development books, or explore online programs. Many programs allow people to take personality and skills tests to see what career paths bet suit their interests. Once goals have been established, systems focus on helping people find the resources and employment opportunities to meet them.

Professional development is especially popular in school systems. Teachers may have the opportunity to engage in continuing education to pursue advanced degrees or participate in seminars designed to improve communication skills and teaching strategies. Instructors often attend classes presented by various organizations and government education departments to assess and improve their approaches to teaching. Many systems hope to improve collaboration between educators, school administrators, parents, and students. Depending on specific laws in a region, a professional development system for teachers may be voluntary, mandated by a school district, or required by a state or country.



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