Professional development is the skills and knowledge an employee gains to optimize her personal development and job growth. It includes learning opportunities, such as college degrees and coursework, or attending conferences or training sessions. Professional development is an extensive and collaborative process; upon completion, an evaluation of progress is usually performed.
Various types of people engage in professional development, including teachers, lawyers, healthcare professionals, and engineers. These individuals often have a desire for career longevity and personal growth. They are, therefore, willing to undergo the necessary training to obtain these goals.
Professional development is a critical aspect of some specialized fields. In the United States, some states require teachers to participate in career development. For example, in the state of Arkansas, teachers are required to have 60 hours of professional development activities yearly. Additionally, an engineer may have to undergo career development to stay abreast of new technology and practices.
The opportunities involved in career development can range from workshop attendance, to an entire semester of academic courses, to different services provided by various development providers. An individual can participate by taking the necessary classes on her own, or taking advantage of the benefits offered by some corporate human resource departments. The main advantage of achieving career development on the job is the opportunity to learn and develop leadership abilities or specific task skills. Furthermore, individual training may cost the employee financially, which she may not be able to recover if the company does not have a reimbursement program.
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