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“CE” stands for Continuing Education. A “CE” refers to an event one attends or participates in and earns credits towards continuing their education. One may wonder what the motivation is to attend such events after years of higher education and professional experience in the field? This entry will illustrate the professional, personal, and social benefits of a CE.
The first benefit of a CE is that it helps professionals to work towards maintaining state board requirements. According to the Pennsylvania Department of State (2022), counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and psychologists must have 30 hours of continuing education to earn their license and renew their license every two years. There are no limits to the amount of CE’s one can attend in order to meet this hourly requirement, unlike other continuing education opportunities such as dissertations/supervision. CE events can be worth one to several hours of continuing education credits; If being licensed and maintaining licensure and board requirements is a professional goal, a CE will help professionals earn the necessary hours to do so.
A CE helps develop professional growth in specific areas of the field. CE’s can cover various topics; including theory, the helping relationship, human development, culture,
assessment, ethics, specific diagnoses, and research. Most graduate programs require students to take courses on these crucial topics. However, after graduation it can be easy to lose touch with research or knowledge in specific topics, especially considering new psychological research is being conducted everyday. A CE will benefit professionals by offering them the opportunity to expand upon their knowledge in specific areas, as well as exposing them to important areas they may not be as educated in. Not only does attending a CE foster professional growth, but personal growth as well. One’s sense of self-efficacy may increase by attending CE’s and increasing their knowledge in clinical topics. Carey (2009) defines self-efficacy as an individual's belief and confidence in their capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments. As one attends educational training, they may begin to feel more confidence in their ability to treat specific populations or diagnoses than before. Self-efficacy in health psychology is linked to several personal health benefits, and can help target the dreaded imposter syndrome many clinicians face.
Individual professional growth and ongoing engagement in current research through a CE helps ensure that clients receive the most effective care for helping them reach their goals.
Clinicians have an ethical responsibility to provide clients with best practice. The American Counseling Association (2014) code of ethics states that counselors recognize the need for continuing education to maintain awareness of current scientific research and professional information, and maintain competence in skills they use regarding best practices. The American Psychological Association ethical code (2017) states that psychologists undertake ongoing efforts to develop and maintain their competence and have or obtain the training, experience, consultation, or supervision necessary to ensure the competence of their services. A CE will benefit clinicians by giving them access to current research, and reinforce their competency as it aligns with ethical standards. If one does not have competency in a specific area, attending a CE can increase competency and ability to treat clients ethically and effectively.
A tangible benefit of a CE is receiving a certificate. CE’s offer participants a certificate for downloading upon completion that shows evidence they have completed the specific training. This certificate can be added to one’s professional profile, resume, or be used during interviews to increase likelihood of getting hired. It can be used to market oneself to potential clients in the community as being competent and trained in specific areas that they are seeking treatment for.
For some certifications in the mental health field, proof of intensive training is required. A CE certificate can show one’s ready to take the next steps in certification.
A CE can benefit a professional by introducing them to other clinicians from different areas of the world. CE events are inclusive; mental health professionals from all over the world have access. And, in a world where virtual meetings have become the norm, many CE events are offered virtual as well. The travel requirement for attendance is often eliminated, so people from diverse areas can attend the same meeting in the comfort of their home. This allows for different regional perspectives and wisdom to be shared, and can add to one’s subjective worldview while also connecting them to others.
If your goals are to become licensed or renew your license, grow professionally in a specific clinical area, increase self-efficacy as a clinician, provide ethical treatment, adhere to ethical standards, earn a certificate, or connect with other professionals, a CE will help you.
American Counseling Association (2014). ACA Code of Ethics. American Counseling Association. https://www.counseling.org/resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf
American Psychological Association (2017). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/ethics/code
Carey, M.P. & Forsyth, A.D. (2009). Teaching Tip Sheet: Self-Efficacy. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/pi/aids/resources/education/self-efficacy
Pennsylvania Department of State (2022). Professional Counselor Pennsylvania Licensure Requirements.https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/SocialWorkersMarriageanFamilyTherapistsandProfessionalCounselors/Pages/default.aspx
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