What are the Different Types of Professional Training and Development?

Professional development can range from college-credit courses to short-term workshops focused on a single topic. Some types of training and development are very specific, and they are designed to teach employees a new skill. Others may instruct employees on how to carry out a new procedure. Some are very general, providing a forum for experts to share tips and ideas while also showcasing outstanding work.

Workshops, in-service, seminars, break-out sessions, conferences, and symposiums are all terms used to describe professional training and development. Medical conferences, for example, are often very elaborate and include social functions as part of their professional development. Employees may be paid to attend a training or conference their employer, including per diem. Professional development or training may be required at the expense of the worker in order to maintain a license.

Professional development and training can be very need-specific. When an employer notices that an employee requires additional assistance in a particular area, he or she may request that the employee read a specific manual or book in order to improve the employee’s performance in that area. A person’s training or development can also include pursuing a higher degree within their field of work, such as a paralegal pursuing a law degree. When an individual chooses to participate in professional development and training rather than being forced to do so an outside entity, it is generally more effective.

Many programs have the potential to fail because of a lack of follow-up after the training is completed. The training may be ineffective if it introduces a new technique that an employee is hesitant to try but does not require follow-up action or assessment. Allowing employees to determine their own professional development and training needs, and then monitoring the results, could be beneficial. Sending groups of people to training could also be a good idea, because they can help each other out when it comes to putting their new skills into practice.

Professional development does not have to take the form of a formal class or event. Professional development occurs when an employee learns and applies a new skill, even if it is as simple as figuring out how to use a feature on a piece of equipment. It’s a good idea to include any self-taught accomplishments when documenting activities for a professional training and development log.