What is Continuing Education Law?

Daphne Mallory

Continuing education law pertains to licensed professions and requires anyone licensed in that profession to take a number of courses each year. The purpose of these laws is often to ensure that the professionals have current information to keep the public safe, and the laws allow them to develop in their careers and to be aware of changes to what they originally learned when they became licensed. Not all professions are subject to continuing education law. Some examples of professions that have continuing education requirements include physical therapists, lawyers, and land surveyors. The laws in each jurisdiction vary, such that one area may require continuing education for a particular profession, but another area may not mandate it.

Continuing education law requires that certain professionals take a number of academic courses each year.
Continuing education law requires that certain professionals take a number of academic courses each year.

One common feature of all continuing education laws is often the mandate for those who are subject to those laws to take post-secondary courses in their field. Most jurisdictions do not specify which courses, but rather the number of credit hours professionals in an industry are required to take. The courses have to comply with the requirements of the continuing education law in order for students to receive credit. Laws often mandate that the organizations and individuals teaching the courses be approved by the region. If they are not, the professional may not meet the requirements to receive credits.

There are several options for places where professionals can earn the credit hours necessary to fulfill their continuing education requirements. Many colleges offer continuing education courses that individuals can complete in person or online. Some organizations are also approved providers under the continuing education law to offer courses to the licensed professionals. For example, the regional bar association is often approved to provide continuing education credits to lawyers who attend the seminars and workshops it offers. Hospitals and banks are also examples of institutions that may offer courses that are approved by the continuing education law.

Some employers offer in-house training that may count toward continuing education law requirements. For example, a doctor in private practice might hire someone to train nurse employees on a new method of administering medications. As long as the teacher is approved by the region, then the nurses who attend the training session may be able to apply the hours to their overall credit hours required that year. Employers often provide training for the professional development of their employees, which often translates into delivering a better product or service. The benefit to the employee is that he or she can fulfill any mandates for continuing education credits.

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