Online Continuing Education Courses

Participating in online continuing education courses has become easier than ever, and the scope of courses available is exciting for those who wish to increase their knowledge in a variety of subject areas. Once upon a time, continuing education was limited to a pamphlet which arrived in the mail from a local community college. Inside one could find a variety of options, from foreign languages to real estate certification classes to arts and crafts to opportunities for joining a sports class. Throw in a jewelry class and some instruction on handling personal finances and investments, and that pretty much summed up the offerings which were available. Fast forward to the Internet age. Now both local and distant colleges alike offer degree programs and courses for personal enrichment. Government agencies offer certification in various fields and hospitals utilize online courses to keep employees up-to-date on rapidly changing information and procedures relevant to their particular disciplines. Costs and transportation issues are minimized. Few obstacles remain for reaching long term goals, one course at a time.

Taking advantage of online continuing education courses cuts down on the effectiveness of several excuses which may have previously held individuals back from pursuing educational goals. Since there is no time or money spent in commuting, there is a greater amount of time available to spend on classes. Speaking of spending, most online continuing education courses are less expensive than traditional college courses. Some classes which are designed for personal enrichment rather than the pursuit of a degree may be free or have a nominal cost. Individuals suffering from physical limitations due to handicaps or health conditions can still benefit from online classes. A professional can keep working at a regular job while pursuing a degree which can enhance a resume or make the employee appear more valuable to an employer.

The number and variety of online continuing education courses is truly amazing. Websites direct individuals to courses offered in preparation for a specific degree, or according to the interests of the student. Individuals can earn an associate's, bachelor's, master's or even a doctorate degree from a distance learning program. Recognizing the growing trend of participation in online learning, most institutions are eager to facilitate this new source of paying customers. A specific advisor may be assigned to each student, and professors are available for individual consultation via email, forums, chat rooms or phone.

Some people worry that online continuing education courses are missing a vital aspect of learning -- the give-and-take between students as they interact with each other in class or informally outside of class. However, with continuing advances in technology, most of these issues are being resolved. While it is true that many people would prefer face-to-face interaction with teachers and peers, technologies which offer better interactivity within more realistic virtual classrooms continue to develop. Internet study groups can arrange their own forums, and lively exchanges and opportunities for networking are possible. One could argue, too, that some people who may not have had the courage to interact freely in a classroom setting may be better able to do so online. In this case, interactivity is enhanced, not threatened.

Technical issues can arise during online continuing education courses which temporarily disrupt the learning process. Computers will be computers, and these machines do not concern themselves with the fact that the breakdown may occur right in the midst of an exciting class discussion or in the middle of an exam. Communication can be thwarted in other ways, as emails and term papers may occasionally not reach their destinations. (The computer ate my homework, or worse, my term paper?!) Interactions on the Internet, as in real life, do not always go smoothly. However, these occurrences are fairly rare, and wise students will keep copies of any important documents in case of malfunctions.

Interestingly, online courses can be put together in a variety of ways. There can be interactive seminars, discussion boards, and even quizzes to ensure that students are progressing in their understanding of the subject matter. Web conferences and CD ROM materials may also be part of the course offerings. Web-based 'field trips' add an interesting aspect to courses. Many institutions offer students in their online continuing education courses access to extensive libraries. These libraries may include volumes, manuscript collections and microfiche holdings. Sometimes physical books may be delivered to the student, and articles and copies of manuscripts may be delivered via the Internet. An online program may utilize any combination of instructional methods in order to cover the course material. This also adds excitement and variety to the distance learning experience.

The outlook for a continuing expansion of online continuing education courses seems assured. The extent and variety of program offerings brings to mind the verse in Daniel 12:4 -- ...many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Advances in computer technology will probably continue to make the virtual classroom even more realistic. The market for online course offerings will continue to succeed as long as the important element of personal interaction is acknowledged and accommodated as this field develops. An Internet search will give basic information about course offerings through specific institutions. Be sure to check that the accreditation status of the long distance learning organization is in order, especially if a formal degree program is the long term goal. Then, enjoy the fantastic opportunities offered by online courses. Whether the aim of these studies is personal enrichment or the pursuit of a formal degree, progress can be made towards reaching goals one course at a time.

Physical Therapy Continuing Education

Attending physical therapy continuing education courses is essential for anyone in the profession. These classes are important for the continual evolving, growing, and gaining of new information for those seeking to help injured patients. The field of physical therapy is a highly regarded segment of the medical community. And just like every other doctoring and medical area, research and advances in technology are daily changing the way professionals practice. This is one of the many reasons why attending classes and seminars is vital, in order to stay abreast of the new findings and the changes in the field.

Physical therapists must complete education requirements before obtaining their license. Many colleges and universities offer a Bachelors degree in the field. And while that degree had been sufficient in years past, now many companies and hospitals require that physical therapists have a Masters degree as well. As a result, an increasing amount of students are pursuing not only a Masters, but also a doctorate degree. Universities are beginning to offer these post baccalaureate programs in greater numbers. But even for those individuals who attain a doctorate, the highest level available, physical therapy continuing education is still essential.

Physical therapists have to study a wide range of curriculum. Several different areas of study and subjects play a vital role in the understanding of the human body. Students hoping to enter the field must grasp material concerning biology, physics, and neuroanatomy. These are, however, just a small sampling of the subjects and courses contained in the course work for these students. In order for a patient to have and receive the best possible care, therapists must be informed and knowledgeable about new advances and new scientific findings. Physical therapy continuing education requirements are the only way to ensure a uniformly informed group of medical professionals.

Every state has their own policy on what physical therapy continuing education they require. Some states not only mandate these classes for physical therapists, but also for assistants. Assistants generally possess an Associates degree in order to find a job, and they function in a supplementary role, helping patients with exercises and other treatment plans. However, when mandated, assistants must find their own courses of interest to attend in order to stay current with licensing. These variations between licensing boards are generally not major, although the amount of hours necessary to fulfill all the requirements can fluctuate depending on the preferences of the boards. As a point of interest, students should know that the amount of time a certification is valid also varies depending on what state the practitioner lives in.

There are many important things to consider before embarking on a physical therapy continuing education course, and even several different things to think about before offering a course to others. Those looking to take classes in order to meet state regulated guidelines, need to make sure they have thoroughly read and understood what is expected of them before signing up. Some states may require that the classes be in a specific subfield. Others may have a higher, or even lower, amount of hours required. For those taking advantage of physical therapy continuing education opportunities for their own personal knowledge, they have more liberty and flexibility with what they can take.

Why should a person be concerned with continuing his education? As previously mentioned, daily, researchers, scientists, and doctors are discovering new pieces to the puzzle of human health. New methods are being developed, and old ones are being fine tuned. People are discovering that what worked sixty years ago is no longer sufficient, if they ever truly were, and sometimes that new tricks are not as effective as the tried and true ones. It is foolish to think that any one field, whether medicine or something diametrically opposite, like art, is ever without growth. Therefore, it is foolish to expect that an expert in any field would not have to continue to learn.

So it is not enough to merely have a passing interest in health journals and periodicals, one must, to truly excel in one's work, immerse himself in both the practice and in the theory. But there are many benefits to attending extracurricular classes. Attending seminars for post-degree education helps keep therapists in touch with colleagues in their field. One could also argue that by the very nature of the atmosphere and environment of a classroom, attending these courses helps to keep the students energized and excited about their work. In order to have a successful practice, it is essential to "Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house" (Proverbs 24:27).

There are several guidelines to think on before considering a physical therapy continuing education seminar. An instructor should, of course, be licensed in his field and up to date on the latest findings and happenings. Classes should only be offered to those in a particular field and who possess a license as well; any classes that do not require this of the participants should be regarded with skepticism, as no professional should be teaching techniques to unlicensed individuals. People should also consider the program fee before signing up for classes; is the fee reasonable? It is also often helpful to consult with others who have gone through the classes and to ask what they thought of the experience. Regardless of what specific physical therapy continuing education class or seminar one chooses, the most important thing to remember is to view the time as being well spent in the furthering and betterment of one's career.

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