Monday, September 23, 2013

5 Professional Development Resources for Teachers College Students and Alumni

Editor's Note: This is part 3 of a 4 part series where we discuss professional development opportunities for each college at WGU. Stay tuned as we discuss resources for IT next week. See part 1 for Business College resources and part 2 for Health Professions College resources.


Teacher Professional Development is a necessity for any teacher who wants to recertify in the teaching profession.  Most states will require approximately 120 hours of professional development for re-licensure and most states allow teachers five years to complete these hours. 

Teachers can obtain professional development points (or CEU's - continuing education units) through the channels listed below.  The school district will maintain a record of those points, but it is always a good idea for the teacher to keep copies of their CEUs, professional development points, and certificates from conferences in the event a school loses them. The school or state certification officer will need a record of all professional development in order to re-certify the teacher.  Some school districts will pay for teachers to become members of an organization, so teachers should investigate that with their professional development funds.

Here are 5 ways for teachers to attain professional development CEUs:

- Complete additional college coursework in Education 

- Take advantage of on-site, school/district sponsored professional development offered after school or during planning periods

- Attend large educational conferences such as National Education Association or ASCD

- Attend regional conferences for a specific discipline (e.g. special education, social studies, science, math). A list of specific organizations and conferences can be found here. 

- Engage in online professional development opportunities. Some might have a cost associated with them, while others are free. It is the teacher's responsibility to make sure that their school district will accept these types of CEU's as professional development hours. Some reputable websites for online professional development include: 
a)      PBS Teacherline
c)      SimpleK12

 Note: A paid membership is required in both “b” and “c” for full access to their workshop calendar, however both offer some “free” sessions each week for non-members.

WGU students and alumni can find additional resources for professional development on our website. Please add more ideas or resources for professional development in the comments below.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

5 Professional Development Resources for Health Professions Students & Alumni

Editor's Note: This is part 2 of a 4 part series where we discuss professional development opportunities for each college at WGU. Stay tuned as we discuss resources for IT and Teachers College in future posts. See part 1 for Business College resources

As we noted in Part 1 of our 4-part Professional Development blog series, it’s important to keep yourself informed, educated, and up-to-date in your professional realm. Professional development is the on-going practice of attaining knowledge, skills, and practical experience to advance one’s career. 

Here are 5 resources for professional development for health professions college students and alumni. 
  • ExploreHEALTHCareers.org ExploreHEALTHCareers.org is a free, multi-disciplinary, interactive health careers website designed to explain the array of health professions and provide easy access to individuals seeking information about health careers. Whether you are new to healthcare or are researching the next step on your career path, ExploreHealthCareers.org gives users a reliable and comprehensive source of accurate, up-to-date information about the health professions. Links to professional associations, funding opportunities, and enrichment programs for each field are also provided.  
  • HEALTHeCAREERS Network - HeCN is your destination for healthcare careers and professional development opportunities with news, information, events, career resources and employment opportunities – all specific to your career path. Healthcare job categories include: Administrative/Executive, Academic/Research, Healthcare Information Technology, and Nursing. 
  • Professional Associations - Almost every occupation has a related nationwide professional association. These associations usually have a nominal membership fee which allows access to resources such as ongoing education, journal subscriptions, networking, job listings, and annual conferences/seminars. Find the professional association related to your occupation here or search the web for your desired professional association
  • SmartBrief - SmartBrief delivers free, targeted business news and information by industry directly to your inbox. You can subscribe to as many "briefs" as you'd like. Each email brief contains headlines and news relevant to the topic of your choice. SmartBrief publishes more than 40e-newsletters in health care including nursing news and information, health care IT news, and news for health care CIOs. 
  • Social Media - Effectively using social media can be a great, no-cost way to develop professionally. Join relevant health professions groups on LinkedIn and get involved in discussions. Follow thought leaders, health care industry experts, and news organizations on Twitter. Subscribe to health care blogs or start you own blog! 
WGU students and alumni can find more ideas for professional development on our website. Please add more ideas or resources for professional development in the comments below!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

5 Professional Development Resources for Business Students & Alumni

Editor's Note: This is part 1 of a 4 part series where we discuss professional development opportunities for each college at WGU. This week's focus is the Business College. Stay tuned each week in September as we discuss resources for IT, Health Professions, and Teachers College. 

Whether you are currently employed in the position you desire or searching for a new position, it never hurts to keep yourself informed, educated, and up-to-date in your professional realm. Professional development is the on-going practice of attaining knowledge, skills, and practical experience to advance one’s career.

Here are 5 resources for professional development for business students and alumni. 
  • Professional Associations - Almost every occupation has a related nationwide professional association. These associations usually have a nominal membership fee which allows access to resources such as ongoing education, journal subscriptions, networking, job listings, and annual conferences/seminars. Find the professional association related to your occupation here or search the web for your desired professional association. 
  • Social Media - Effectively using social media can be a great, no-cost way to develop professionally. Join relevant occupational groups on LinkedIn and get involved in discussions. Follow thought leaders, industry experts, and news organizations on Twitter. Use Pinterest to generate creativity and brainstorm. 
  • U.S. Small Business Administration - Many business degree graduates pursue self employment by starting their own business. The U.S. Small Business Administration website provides resources, tools, and services for individuals looking to start their own business.
  • Entrepreneur.com - The Entrepreneur website offers articles and resources on many business topics including start ups, technology, money management, marketing, and franchising. Even if you don't currently own a business or are not looking to start one, these resources can help you learn a new skill and keep you current on business topics and trends. 
  • SmartBrief - SmartBrief delivers free, targeted business news and information by industry directly to your inbox. You can subscribe to as many "briefs" as you'd like. Each email brief contains headlines and news relevant to the topic of your choosing. Topics include leadership, business, healthcare, travel and hospitality, retail, technology, finance, government/nonprofit, and more. SmartBriefs are an easy and efficient way to stay on top of industry news. 
WGU students and alumni can find more ideas for professional development on our website. Please add more ideas or resources for professional development in the comments below!