Related: Continuing Education, Erin McHenry

Professional Development: Should PD Be Mandatory or Voluntary (Part I)


Many occupations require coursework and testing before practicing as a licensed professional in that field.  Teachers, doctors, bus drivers, principals, real estate agents, nurses, barbers, and many more professionals all have to gain their respective certifications before they may legally work in their trade.  Almost all of those professionals must attend additional courses or trainings to keep those certifications.  Should those courses be mandatory or voluntary?

Some veteran employees would argue that their on-the-job experience is more valuable than extra training forced upon them by an administrator or even a politician.  Let’s consider the motivation behind the requirements and put the decision in your hands.  Imagine you were sending your child to a school and you had the choice between the following teachers:

  • A brand new, energetic teacher who didn’t pass the Praxis I test.
  • A 30 year veteran teacher who uses the same textbook he/she was given in 1982 and hasn’t ever attended a professional development training/course since completing their bachelor’s degree.

Certification rules were created to prevent either scenario, but the requirements for certified teachers to maintain their licensure often make them feel pinned down to a course that isn’t relevant to them, which opens the door for apathy.

All teachers in the U.S. need to take professional development courses to maintain their teaching licensure.  The number and names of courses vary state to state, as do the requirements, but most states require K-12 teachers to take 6 credits every 4-5 years.  If you didn’t need courses every few years to keep your job, would you voluntarily take them to learn new trends and techniques in your field?

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One Response to Professional Development: Should PD Be Mandatory or Voluntary (Part I)

  1. Pamela V. Porter says:

    Of course CEU’s should be mandatory. I am a Certified Addiction Counselor and certain courses are required in order to re-certified. They not only keep you up with the latest practices, they also help you to become a more diversed professional. I am always thankful for any information that allows me to service my clients more effectively.

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