Options Abound - Continuing Education

Options Abound - Continuing Education

Albert Einstein said, "Once you stop learning, you start dying." Seems rather dramatic—especially for a scientist—but when you consider humans never stop learning from the moment we take our first breath, you begin to understand what Einstein meant.

Everything we do from the moment we draw our first breath is learned. We learn what is hot, cold, mean, sad, happy. What walk, run, drive, slow, fast, moon, sun, love, hate are.

And on and on.

Much of what is absorbed has been a balance between conscious and unconscious learning.

As we grow into adults we become more and more unconscious of our learning.

Therefore, when we do want to consciously learn it is good to know there are wealth of options and opportunities awaiting us.

As a self-proclaimed addict of continued education I spend a lot of time looking into the various options hospitality industry professionals have when it comes to continuing to grow their knowledge and skill sets. And we benefit from a variety of options thanks to technology and the growing viability of the professionalism of our industry.

The key to continuing education as adults, is selecting how information is shared and disseminated based on individual need.  

Following are options I have compiled over the years. There are various types of learning environments, costs, and availability. It should be noted this list only scratches the surface on what is available to hospitality industry professionals. But it is a good place to start.

College Degree Programs

Degree programs are aplenty. From associate degrees (2 years), to bachelor degrees (4 years), graduate and Ph.D. programs—you have options. Many schools now offer programs specifically in the field of hospitality and event management.

For degree programs, a large amount of time and money is required to complete. With the advancement of technology, it has become easier for busy professionals to find online degree programs which better meet time requirements and often come at a lower cost.

Resources to check out are: thebestschools.org or besthospitalitydegrees.com.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs are offered by many different entities—community colleges, university systems, and industry organizations.

Certificate programs offer focused curriculum in a shorter timeframe and at less cost than degree programs. Most certificate programs are 10- or 16-week programs. You will need to do some research to find the program which specifically meets your needs.

Industry Specific Organizations

Almost all hospitality industry organizations offer some forms of conferences, conventions, seminars, regional chapter programs, webinars, videos, audio files and podcasts—many of which offer continued education units. You can find a thorough listing of these organizations through the Convention Industry Council's website.

Industry Designations

The industry also recognizes certified designations which, to acquire, fall under the category of continuing education.

These include, but are not limited to, CMP, CMM, CAE, CSEP and CHSE. A thorough internet search of "hospitality industry designations" will provide you with a lot more. MPI's Northern California Chapter provides the following list with summaries.

When it comes to continuing education one size does not fit all.

I would be remiss to end this blog without mention of the wealth of free webinars Meetings Today offers through its website. Make sure to check them out!

What continuing education environments do you prefer?

What suggestions do you have for learning?

Posted by Larissa J. Schultz, CMP, MHA

Larissa is a writer, author, and professional speaker in the hospitality industry.

Follow Larissa on Twitter: @LarissaJSchultz
Visit Larissa's Website: www.journey-widetravel.com

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