I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had a variation of this nightmare.
Despite my random exam dreams, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that I was, and remain, that person, who simply loved school, and learning new things. However, my continuing education habit is getting a bit out of hand.
Traditional Higher Education programs are simple. You do the work, get the degree, and for the most part are done.
Mine: B.S. Biochemistry, Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, M.B.A. Emphasis in Entrepreneurship.
Sure, there was continuing training, post-doctoral fellowships, endless seminars, conferences and lunch & learns, but you don’t keep re-testing to keep your degree the way you do with more “professional” or “certificated” education tracks. My journey through higher education allowed me many exceptional continuing education experiences designed to make me better at my job including:
- Skill development needed for my genetic linkage/association research work
- Training for women in higher ed administration
- Fundraising training to make me a more effective fundraiser for my academic unit
- Professional training in international business for an academic entrepreneur center I was running. That experience, exploring entrepreneurship and business education in China & Hong Kong meeting with CEOs, educators and economic development specialists over 14 days touring Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzen, and Hong Kong, remains one of the highlights of my academic career.
All of the programs were fantastic in their unique ways at helping me perform better in my various roles. But none of my traditional or executive education prepared me for the requirements of professional certifications. Since I transitioned out of higher education, I’ve picked up three professional certifications, two for my current job and one for my personal development.
For work I completed the training and certification exams for the:
- Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification. The initial certification was valid for 3 years. I have completed the necessary 60 hours of continuing education (approximately 2 hours per month), and my certification was recently extended through 2020. To keep the certification, I just need to keep doing the necessary training in each three-year period. In the case of the PMP, we oversee many technology projects and knowing the PMBOK processes and standards are helpful.
- Certified Salesforce Administrator Certification. In the case of Salesforce, I take 3 release exams each year to maintain the certification. To date, I’ve taken seven. Granted, these are essential since the platform is continuously being updated. If I want to retain my certification, it just never ends. Salesforce has many training paths that I’d love to do but the time commitment for each would turn simply maintaining the credentials into a full-time job.
The certification that I invested in just for me, was the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certificate in Exercise Nutrition.
It’s another certificate program that requires re-testing every two years. They recently updated the text book and training materials (the new v3 materials are fantastic!), so I re-certified in July 2017. I love what Precision Nutrition is doing. See e.g. My review of PN Coaching. I’ll be starting their year-long Level 2 Coaching program in October. If you’d be interested in volunteering to help me develop my fitness/nutrition coaching skills over the coming year, please let me know.
Otherwise, my continuing education hobby is bordering on ridiculous. In 2017, I have also completed or will complete the following job related courses: a 6 week MIT Professional Education Course on Cybersecurity: Technology, Application and Policy, a 4-week Esri Geo Apps MOOC on Udemy, and Harvard’s 3-day Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems program. I need to take a hiatus from new educational commitments when these are done.
Any recommendations for 2018? Favorite online courses? Things you love to learn?