Continuing education seminars are short-term educational experiences designed to provide professionals and tradespeople with ongoing, career-oriented education. Formats for continuing education seminars include classroom-based courses, weekend workshops, and online seminars, sometimes called webinars. The content, length, and delivery method of continuing education depends on both the subject matter presented as well as professional and licensing requirements established by professional associations and government agencies.
The completion of continuing education courses in order to maintain certification, organizational membership, or employment is not required in all trades and professions. Many do require the updating and expansion of skills that can take place in continuing education seminars. Some seminars are available at trade and professional association meetings and conventions as part of the general program. Other continuing education seminars are sponsored by vendors who serve a particular industry and can take place at an industry function or as stand-alone classes or corporate presentations. There are even some schools and companies that specialize in offering continuing education and do not offer other types of education or training.
Some colleges, universities, and trade schools also provide continuing educations seminars and courses alongside other educational offerings. Their continuing education courses may take the form of short seminars or day-long classes or may actually be held in a more traditional academic format. Some classes may be offered for both academic or continuing education credit, with each student selecting the type of credit he wishes to receive before taking the class. Another development in continuing education are online or phone-based classes. Online continuing education seminars can take the form of live webcasts or conference calls in which students log in or call into a live seminar. After listening to the seminar, participants may be required to complete an online test or submit an essay in order to receive continuing education credit.
In some jurisdictions, there is little regulation of continuing education and the entities that offer it. As a result, some continuing education seminars may not actually provide any real value to the people who take them. For example, some continuing education programs offered by product vendors may be nothing more than thinly veiled sales pitches. Other continuing education seminars may not be recognized by professional or licensing agencies, making them worthless for meeting credentialing and employment requirements. Individuals who are interested in taking continuing education seminars should ensure that they are approved by the licensing board, employer, or organization that requires their completion.