Continuing education certification is obtained by professionals in a variety of fields by acquiring knowledge, education, experience, and skills required to keep them current in their field of employment. Usually, an initial certification is gained through a combination of education, internship, and successfully passing one or more exams that stand as proof the individuals have the necessary skills. Teachers, lawyers, medical personnel, and certain technicians first receive authorization to work in the chosen field by a license that is granted after the education and exams are complete.
After initial licensure, continuing education certification is maintained by completing either continuing education units (CEU) or continuing professional units (CPU). A unit is a specified number of hours of participation in an approved program that is designed for professionals in a particular field. For example, dentists might attend a symposium on new dental techniques to acquire the required units. Also, a certified public accountant (CPA) may attend classes or complete coursework that keeps him or her up-to-date on the latest changes in tax laws.
To obtain continuing education certification, it is necessary to enroll in coursework, webinars, conferences, or other activities that are sanctioned by the entity that governs the licensing process for the career in question. Then, copies of the certificates or proof of attendance are sent to the licensing body. In many fields, as a professional takes more continuing education, he or she has the possibility of being paid at a higher rate.
Continuing education certification also includes preparation for teaching. Regulations for licensure depend on the teaching locality. Minimum requirements, however, include a bachelor’s degree in the subject matter in which one intends to teach, as well as having completed a teacher preparation program. This includes not only coursework in subject matter, but also coursework on how to teach; quite often, there also is a requirement for passing one or more exams in the subject matter. In addition, an internship called student teaching could be required.
Also, continuing education is associated with adult education and may include activities for enrichment purposes rather than a process to maintain a current license. This includes non-credit courses offered by community colleges that target community members who may wish to take fun classes in the evening or on weekends. Many universities also have a department or division dedicated to these types of classes. Delivery of such courses may include traditional classes, correspondence courses, online courses, or video-conferencing classes.