There comes a time in most careers when it’s required to learn new skills to get ahead. Studying topics like project management, time management, and business analytics will help you climb the career ladder. And professional development training is there to help.
Here you can discover everything you need to know about professional development. Keep reading to learn what this training includes, why you should consider it, and where you can get started. This article will show you valuable resources in professional development and take you through the most popular certifications.
What Is Professional Development?
There are many different types of professional development. Completing an undergraduate degree is professional development, as is attending seminars or earning career-specific certifications.
Also on the list is a course for presentation skills, a leadership diploma, and an HR certificate. An example of job-specific training is if a construction worker receives certification in project management.
Think of professional development as a form of continuing education for your career. In some instances, your job will provide this training for you. Or you might want to seek these opportunities out for yourself.
What Is the Professional Development Process?
Here is a broad look at a professional development training program. This is the typical process to grow your career skill set.
- Setting goals. Typically, you start with setting a goal and outlining what skills you need for your job. Your company can also provide this.
- Planning. Next, design a plan to start learning. You should look for a mentor who can tell you what needs improving, what extra activities are required, and point you to the right training courses.
- Coaching. Not everyone will have a mentor. But in some cases, you can receive coaching from online courses or workshops. This is a great resource for advice and training.
- Implementing knowledge. Next, implement the professional development training you have learned.
- Follow up. Your coach or colleague should check on your progress to see if there’s a need for further improvement. This is especially important in leadership roles.
- Evaluation. The evaluation is the end of the process. This is where you determine if you have achieved your goals and the process can begin again if necessary.
Types of Professional Development
There are a few different approaches to professional development. Below is a look at some options.
Professional development in education refers to gaining a diploma, bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD. Whether students are in high school or college, they can receive coaching on career prospects. Additionally, students in medical school, nursing school, or another professional program can continuously gain professional development through assessments and certifications.
Improving Job Performance
In many cases, career development involves keeping up with the latest technology and required job skills in your field. These can include IT skills, coding, or learning job-specific software. Employers might provide their employees with opportunities or a worker can look for courses, workshops, conferences, or specific events to help themselves grow.
Professional-development related job assignments can range greatly depending on your field. But they are meant to help you through experience, either within your company or as part of an outside project. For example, if a business were to assign an employee more team organizational tasks, the worker might use this opportunity to improve their management skills.
Learning Professional Development
Whether you are looking for an introduction to management, safety training, or to improve specific workplace objectives, there are plenty of courses out there to help. There are also various options, including short online courses, extended programs, hands-on workshops, and seminars.
Where you should enroll depends on your career objectives, the skills you are seeking, and the course’s requirements. For example, it may take longer to improve your coding than learning a better sales pitch.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Professional Development?
A diploma or degree will typically take two to three years (with medical school taking much longer). For the vast majority of professional development, post-schooling programs can take anywhere from two hours to 10 weeks.
How to Learn Professional Development: Step-by-Step
Here is a blueprint to fill in with your career-specific requirements. These are the types of skills employers look for and what can help you stand out. Follow this guide and begin your professional development today.
- IT skills. The first skill to develop involves the basics of computers, like using the internet. Start mastering programs like Word, Excel, Google Docs, Gmail, Slack, or other sector-specific IT skills.
- Communication. There are plenty of courses to help improve your professional written and verbal communication. Being able to communicate effectively could greatly improve your workflow. With some coaching, anyone can improve their communication skills.
- Teamwork. There is a reason why teamwork is often listed as a required job skill. It’s vital to develop your ability to work as part of a team in workshops, meetings, and job assignments. This ability takes a certain amount of emotional intelligence which you can learn.
- Leadership. There are many types of leadership and management courses you can take. Look into agile, project, strategic, and risk management options. This common type of professional development is easy to find online. Taking a leadership course is a significant step to becoming an executive.
- Business skills. Developing skills like sales, digital marketing, business software, finance, and budgeting are incredibly valuable.
- Health and safety. A lot of companies provide in-house health and safety training. This type of professional development is important for a safe work environment. It’s especially vital for jobs that require working with dangerous substances or equipment.
The Best Professional Development Courses and Training
Here are some professional development classes which include topics in electrical safety, strategy, risk management, and many more. Have a look to find the perfect courses for you.
In-Person Professional Development Classes
Here are a few in-person professional development training programs (some are currently online due to COVID-19) to get you started. These are usually held by industry leaders or universities and provide high-quality professional development.
- Arc Flash Electrical Safety NFPA 70E with Certification
- Where: A range of U.S. locations
- Length: 3 days
- Price: $1,790
This seminar is for workers who handle electrical equipment. The course covers worker safety by discussing electrical hazards, practicing scenarios, and teaching best practices. You can attend this course in Alaska, California, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Washington, and many more places.
Harvard Extension School
- Where: Online
- Length: Varies but no longer than four days
- Price: Between $1,450 and $2,850
These are some excellent intermediate to advanced professional certificates in a range of topics. Students can learn negotiation skills, digital marketing strategies, or how to lead effectively and authentically. These transformative courses will boost students’ confidence and stand out on a resume.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
- Where: Online
- Length: 2 weeks to 3 months
- Price: Ranging from $3000 to $3,900 per course, or $650 to $750 per month
Cornell University’s online courses are fantastic for professional development. They include in-depth studies on the psychology of leadership, management in technology, and business strategy. These are fantastic for those in a range of careers including software engineering or web development.
Online Professional Development Courses
Here are some more online professional development courses from industry leaders and top educational organizations.
American Management Association
- Where: Online
- Length: Varies
- Price: Varies
The AMA is a leader in business training across the U.S. It provides a range of great certifications, courses, seminars, and classes for professional development. These are perfect for beginners to intermediate professionals looking to improve their skills in areas like communication or project management.
The Linux Foundation
- Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS)
- Where: Online
- Length: 12-month access
- Price: $499 for the course and exam
Many companies use the Linux operating system. These courses and exams are great to learn Linux for your career in IT. Students will take a two-hour exam and receive a PDF certificate upon completion.
Michigan State University
- Where: Online
- Length: 12 weeks
- Price: $3000
Learn all about human resources strategy in this Michigan State certificate course. Students will learn methods for recruiting, evaluating, hiring, and developing employees. This is a perfect intermediate course for those who own their own business or work in HR.
Free Professional Development Courses
Check out some of the best free courses for those who want to begin learning a skill or brush up on the basics. Although these options will not provide you with professional certification, they can help you learn about a topic before investing in a certificate course.
- Where: Online
- Length: 9 to 30 hours
- Price: A number of FREE options or part of $19.99 per month Pro Plan.
Codecademy is a great tool for those who want to learn to code or create a professional website. With free courses, it’s a fantastic educational resource for future programmers.
- Where: Online
- Length: 2 weeks
- Price: FREE
Here are three free Future Learn courses to boost your digital, remote working, and decision-making skills. Future Learn also has good paid courses for professional development.
Professional Development Books
Here is a mixture of creative, professional, tech-filled, and general books to help you research your professional development further.
The Practice – Shipping Creative work, Seth Godin
This incredible book should be the professional development bible for those in creative careers. Seth Godin, an American author and entrepreneur, provides exciting insights alongside an entertaining read. In fact, this book is excellent for anyone struggling to find the motivation to sell their skillset.
Including personal anecdotes and a 23,000-participant study, this book details the keys to growing your leadership skills and improving employee satisfaction and job performance. It also explains how empowering employees positively affects customers and profits.
New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown brings us this great book that examines the emotions and experiences of leaders. She found that leaders in all organizations face similar challenges, making this a fascinating read.
Professional Development Certifications
Here we have listed a few of the most popular professional development certifications out there.
This is for anyone involved in bringing a project to completion. You don’t necessarily need to have the title of project manager to take this course. But taking it might just lead to that position. This course requires you to have over 35 hours of experience managing projects. Reports indicate that those with the PMP certificate are likely to earn 25% more on average.
The CBAP is for those with experience in business analysis. You need a minimum of 7,500 hours of business analysis work experience within the last ten years to take this course. The CBAP exam has 120 questions and takes around 3.5 hours.
The CSCP is for business owners or those working in a business to showcase their end-to-end supply chain knowledge. This certification is useful for a broad range of sectors including manufacturing, consulting, education, healthcare, government, services, and more.
Online Professional Development Resources
Below are a couple of helpful resources to help you with your professional development.
Here is a health care resource for counselors, social workers, nutritionists, teachers, and more. This site also has some continuing education courses.
Get top government tips on different topics and careers. Although the website is for product managers in government, you can find guidance on agile management, data, tech, and much more.
Should You Study Professional Development?
Professional development is a natural process for most people. We all want to develop better skills to create a successful future.
You should consider whether you need specific certifications to access a wanted job or promotion. Discuss with your supervisor or mentor whether you should learn another skill to move up the ladder. If the answers are yes, then you should start taking professional development training courses that suit your needs.
Here at Career Karma, we wish you every success in your growth and progress. Keep striving to become a better version of yourself, and take it one step at a time. We hope this article informed and inspired you. If you are interested in self-management skills, hard skills vs. soft skills, or more professional development content then check out our other articles and chat with our community.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.