Tips for Finding Professional Engineer Continuing Education
Professional engineer continuing education is a very complex career issue. Continuing education is absolutely essential for engineers, and getting the right balance of education can involve some patience and research.
Continuing education issues for engineers
There are some risks, as well as benefits, from forms of continuing education which can create career problems and sidetracks over time. This is a demanding profession, in which technology and new methodologies are creating a virtual “ongoing degree” requirement in education. Staying current is vitally important.
The issues aren’t obvious, but they need to be considered and you’ll need to spend some time on them to figure out a practical approach:
- Over commitment and under-commitment can both cause problems:
Over commitment: The workload in continuing education isn’t necessarily onerous, but this can be a highly mobile profession with an equally demanding workload and tough time frames. Getting the best out of continuing education means being able to achieve results and gain useful professional credentials, and that’s not easy to do when fighting times and space to do it. Work, life and education have to be well organized.
Under commitment: The other side of the commitment coin is the fact that a lack of credentials, or outdated qualifications which instantly disqualify you from career opportunities. Doing an occasional course doesn’t make much of an impression on this situation. An unstructured resume isn’t much of a professional asset, either, when employers want experts.
The best way to do ongoing education is the same way you did your original degrees, objectively, with a clear set of steps to your career goals. This will require some research to find the advanced elements you need. But it will do the job of ensuring that all your career needs are being well covered, and that you are making actual career progress.
Finding your best options
It’s best to speak to colleges and map out the possibilities in your areas of interest. It’s also a good idea to compare quality and prices.
The practical issues with education need to be addressed systematically:
- Gaps in qualifications: The holes in professional qualifications, particularly when moving into new streams, need to be plugged. Short courses, or elements in larger courses, can rectify these deficiencies without any fuss.
- Upgrading qualifications: If you’ve been out of the academic sphere for a while, you may find that there are areas that need to be patched up to do the current qualifications.
- Specializations: If you want to specialize in a particular area, or develop your existing qualifications, the academic paths are easy to follow. However, bear in mind that the gap and upgrade situations may also apply, so check out your options thoroughly.
Things to look out for
Accreditation: It may sound strange that a professional accreditation might be considered suspect, but accreditation comes in degrees of acceptability to employers, with matching pay levels. If you’re working internationally in particular, check out in depth the current industry accreditation standards for any new qualification.
Unnecessary extras: Some education facilities will load on extras of varying levels of necessity. Shop around until you find ongoing education which provides everything you need.