Live continuing education is one or more courses designed to bring workers and professionals current information on their field of industry in order to improve their skills and knowledge base. The courses are designed for adults who either attend higher education institutions part-time or work in particular industries whose boards or licensing requirements mandate a certain amount of continuing education courses per year. Live continuing education courses are group study seminars, workshops, and conferences that provide attendees with real-time continuing education. It differs from independent study education, because attendees can meet colleagues, ask questions of their instructors, and brainstorm solutions with group members in regard to some of the challenges posed by their work and their industry in general. Participants can attend group continuing education courses by web conferencing, tele-seminars, or at designated facilities.
Each region has statutes that regulate licensed professionals in the area, which include the number of continuing education credit hours they must fulfill every year in order to remain in good standing. Regional boards often don’t outline the type of study that professionals must take, such as live continuing education or independent study. It’s often left up to the individual to determine what type of course to enroll in, as well as which courses to take based on required topics. There are often restrictions on which courses will be approved based on whether the institution is accredited or whether the speakers or organizations are approved by the regional board to provide continuing education. For example, lawyers who want to attend live continuing education that’s offered by their law firm would have to confirm whether that law firm is approved and whether the lawyers will receive credit for those hours.
Some organizations exist to provide continuing education courses to certain licensed professionals, and the courses are often on topics required by the applicable regional boards. Those organizations offer live continuing education opportunities on an ongoing basis, such as monthly or weekly. Courses can last for a few hours or as long as several days. For example, a continuing education course for dentists may last for a six-day period, with half-day sessions each day. Organizations are often approved by the state board to offer ongoing continuing education courses, and they may be required to obtain a license to provide those courses.
The method of delivery for live continuing education can range from local conferences or seminars to web conferences. Group attendance and the opportunity for group interaction is what makes it live continuing education, as opposed to online interactive courses that individuals can complete alone. Some professionals often prefer the live method for the networking opportunities.