Published on 2012/01/30

Professional Development; Accredited vs. Non-Accredited

Professional Development; Accredited vs. Non-Accredited
Can't choose a path? Photo by Oran Viriyincy

If you’re reading this blog, you obviously have a vested interest in the topic of continuing education (CE) and professional development (PD), so I won’t preach to the converted regarding its need and value.

Let me start off by recognising that all CE/ PD is valuable; whether pursued for professional or personal reasons. You can’t go wrong with a strategy of personal improvement.

As you will find when looking at sources of courses (whether online or classroom), there is a multitude of vendors in the marketplace. Your choice will only be limited by the type of topic or credential that you are pursuing: certificate, diploma, or degree.

So the question is: Should you choose an accredited College/ University or a private vendor for your course(s). The answer is truly personal; however there are a few considerations to throw into the mix, such as:

  • Am I interested in using the course for career advancement?
  • Is the course recognized by professional associations for CE credits?
  • Is this a personal interest course?
  • What is the reputation of the vendor?
  • What are the qualifications and tenure of the instructors?
  • What is the location?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Is the vendor recognized by employers?
  • Do I get a certificate/diploma/degree?

Be aware that in Canada most provinces have regulations allowing only accredited colleges and universities to issue diplomas and degrees. Included in this category are accredited private career colleges and for profit universities. The internet has made this a wild west of vendors, in that you can attend at a countless number of institutions from around the world without getting out of your pyjamas—but buyer beware.

If you’re pursuing professional development, it is important to choose a vendor that is well known and provides quality programming and instruction. Not to take away from the credible and competent independent trainers and consultants, however in the career development/PD space, nothing beats the value of recognized credentials, in our credential obsessed world.

We’ve all heard the saying: “Were did he get his diploma, from a diploma mill?” So, best to choose from a well known and respected source if you expect to leverage their good name on your resume!

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