Benefits of Continuing Education

Are you stuck in a rut at work, doing the same job year after year with little or no hope of moving up the ladder? Do you regularly wish you could switch gears midway through your career to pursue that dream job? Are you the idealist who believes Education is a continuous process and has an undying thirst for knowledge, or the realist who wants that promotion and the consequent increase in salary?

The situations described above may be different, but the solution to all of them is one—continuing Education. The term continuing Education, which includes degree credit courses amongst many other learning activities, refers to Education imparted to students older than the traditional age of university-going students.

What is Continuing Education?

After completing the traditional education and training pathway for a healthcare profession, healthcare providers engage in continuing education activities to stay up-to-date and rapidly adopt proven medical advances.\ Before creating a continuing education activity, educators and clinicians work together to identify gaps in patient care and outcomes, determine why these differences exist, and then design Education to address the causes. Continuing education professionals improve clinical practice, patient care, and outcomes by sifting through mountains of existing and emerging data and presenting educational content based on reliable scientific evidence.

Why is Continuing Education important to health care and patient outcomes?

Continuing Education is effective at improving patient outcomes and saving lives. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement reports that a key factor in closing the gap between best practice and common practice is the ability of healthcare providers and their organizations to spread innovations and new ideas rapidly. Continuing education is effective at spreading best practices to attain improved outcomes.


It takes 17 years for new research submitted for publication to be broadly accepted in clinical practice. Before medical advances become standard practice, the strength of supporting scientific evidence, the availability and cost of new and alternative therapies, the impact of laws and regulations, and the need for training must be considered. The continuing education process fosters the presentation of data examined, evaluated, and synthesized by the busy practitioner.

For example, since the year 2000, deaths from coronary artery disease have been reduced by nearly 40%. This reduction is due to numerous advances: new drugs (such as the statins that lower cholesterol levels), new technologies (such as drug-eluting stents that keep coronary arteries free of plaque), improved processes (such as the latest protocols for heart attacks that result in faster, more effective treatment); and a greater emphasis on prevention (by controlling blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol levels). These advances were communicated by organizations providing continuing education to education professionals such as physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, technologists, and others.

Healthcare professionals committed to lifelong learning take advantage of continuing education. Education is offered at national and local meetings, local hospitals, online education, high schools, medical centers, and online, print, and other forms of media. State licensure boards, certification boards, and other healthcare organizations understand the importance of continuing education, Educating quality care, and encouraging, or sometimes requiring, regular participation in continuing education activities.

Here are some of the major benefits of completing continuing education requirements:

Keep up with current research and advances in the field.

Continuing education conferences tend to showcase the latest innovations that would be of interest to industry professionals. Most meetings include a variety of lectures and presentations as a part of the program. These opportunities expose attendees to the most current advances in the field, perhaps even before they are presented to the public or published in industry journals.

Enhance skills through participation in labs.

Many continuing education events feature a laboratory component where participants can sharpen their technical skills and gain practical experience with new techniques or equipment. Labs are especially common within the animal health career community, particularly those working in the veterinary and veterinary technician fields.

Maintain professional licensure or credentials.

It is very standard for licensing organizations and professional membership groups to require that American high school education credit hours be completed (and documented) to ensure that credentials remain current. This helps them hold their members to a higher education standard so they can give their clients the highest quality care. The animal health professions are well known for requiring continuing education credit hours to maintain a license or certification to practice.

Network with other industry professionals

Many professionals attend continuing education events, which can be an excellent opportunity to network and make connections that could translate into profitable relationships or job opportunities. If you are an employer with an open position, it can also be a great opportunity to recruit new team members.

Broaden your knowledge of other areas.

Professionals are encouraged to select from various lecture and lab options to complete their continuing school education credit hours. This, in turn, encourages event attendees to expand their knowledge and consider other aspects of their field. Expanding your skill set can better prepare you for your current job, or you can learn valuable new skills that could prepare you for a career change.

Improve the quality of care.

Professionals who complete continuing education credit hours can offer high-quality care due to their exposure to the latest innovations, techniques, and research. Education has an overwhelmingly positive effect on patient care.

Increase job prospects

Continuing education can significantly enhance a candidate’s chances of securing new employment, and continuing education credit hours can substantially boost a candidate’s resume. Many documented continuing education credits can demonstrate the candidate’s serious commitment to the field and desire to provide high-quality service. A candidate with a strong educational background may have the edge over a rival candidate with fewer documented continuing education hours. Networking at conference events can also be a plus, allowing candidates to discover unadvertised job openings.

Disruptors in education may be necessary for some, but for others, it may not be possible to give up a full-time job to continue education. That’s where online degrees and distance learning are helpful—as they allow working adults to learn and earn simultaneously.