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    How to Include Education in Your Career Plan

    Putting together a career plan means more than just thinking about what jobs you want to have; it requires you to think about your interests, values, skills and preferences; explore the life, work and learning options available to you; and ensure that your work fits with your personal circumstances.

    What Is Continuous Education?

    Education should be an ongoing part of any career planning. As you advance in your career, how will you update your skills and knowledge, and apply these new talents to your work environment? Continuing education programs are available at any point in your career and include experiences like college courses, skill trade trainings, seminars, conferences and a wide variety of certificate programs.

    Three Steps for Successful Career Planning

    Step 1: Seek educational and training opportunities

    Start by considering your interests and the educational opportunities available to propel you forward in your career field.  Prioritize opportunities that offer a certificate or credential — not only will they vouch for your knowledge and skillset, but they’ll increase your career advancement prospects and earning potential.

    Step 2: Explore new jobs and careers available to you

    Once you’ve received your necessary education and earned your certificate or credential, begin to research what new career advancement opportunities are now at your disposal. For example: your SAT scores, GPA, and high school diploma represent your qualifications as an 18-year-old high school graduate. These credentials give you access to a new level of job opportunities for which you wouldn’t otherwise be considered. The more education you receive, the greater the number of career options that will be available to you.

    Step 3: Land the job, and continue to learn

    Continue the progress you’ve made with your new education and qualifications by seeking new employment opportunities. Remember that the learning doesn’t stop once you’re hired. Take full advantage of on-the-job training opportunities – especially those paid for by your employer –  that present themselves and that could lead to a promotion, such as webinars, conferences, seminars and certificates.

    Most importantly, never get complacent. Keep your eyes and ears open, and be prepared to repeat step 1 as needed. Never stop looking for new opportunities to propel you even further in your career.

    Visit our partners at the American Association of Community Colleges to begin searching for local educational opportunities to advance your career. 

    Dennis Nelson
    Dennis Nelson joined Goodwill Industries International as a Career Navigation Program Specialist in June 2014. He supports the GoodProspects® for Credentials to Careers initiative, which is dedicated to supporting members that are engaged in training, credentialing and employment services for nontraditional students. Dennis is considered an advocate for social change and has devoted his career to serving people through civic engagement, career advancement, and professional development.
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