Guest Blogger: Emily Zeman, OTD, MS, OTR/L
You’ve arrived! You finally have your degree in hand, and you’ve passed your board exam(s)! There are initials after your name, and/or you have a license number as part of your signature. And, you have your first job out of graduate school! Now, you can relax.
Well, sort of! Aside from the nuances of learning the ins and outs of your new job, your commitment to your profession and your clients includes remaining current with the latest evidence, evaluations, and intervention/treatment techniques. To remain in-the-know, it’s not the same as going to the library or writing a paper with the research evidence. As a working professional, conferences, webinars, online courses, and other continuing education opportunities are all available.
But wait! Why, as a new graduate, with the latest education, should you think about adding more learning to your plate?
Believe it or not, the months and first few years go by very quickly in practice, and suddenly, you’ve hit your license or registration renewal deadline for your professional development points (PDPs) and/or continuing education units (CEU’s). The renewal form arrives in the mail, and you realize, you do not meet the minimum standard because you did not make it to any conferences. Or, you’ve read a few articles and had a few students, but did not keep track of the hours. In addition, new treatment techniques, new assessment tools, and new laws and regulations governing practice, are constantly churned out by our peers who are researching and developing the cutting-edge methodologies to offer effective solutions to clients and patients.
Take occupational therapy and physical therapy practice requirements in Massachusetts, for example. Just this summer, the Board of Registration for Allied Health Professionals has agreed that “For each renewal period, each physical and occupation therapy professional’s continuing competency points must include two points in ethics, laws, and regulations governing practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or some combination thereof.” If you practice in MA, have you started planning on how you will spend 2 points (equivalent) in time focusing your continuing education on ethics and/or laws? Since you graduated, have you developed a plan for meeting the requirements of your state licensure board?
Education Resources, Inc., offers clinically relevant, continuing competency courses, conveniently online and in-person, across the country, to help you learn the latest protocols in your profession that are evidence-based; have been vetted by seasoned practitioners; and are in-line with the current state and national requirements. Education Resources, Inc. can support you in meeting the goals of accruing the required continuing education units while networking with professionals and learning from peers who can teach specialty skills that you can apply to your practice population.
Are you a new school-based OT, SLP, or PT? Come check out the Annual Therapies in the Schools Symposium to hear about the tried and true strategies, and earn many contact hours in the process!
Can’t make it in-person? Try the Online Courses tab to see what fits your needs, while adding to the tally of your required CEU hours.
Your “new graduate” status is not only a wonderful celebration of all you’ve recently accomplished but also a jumping off point for gathering critical specialty and generalist skills while making your continuing education requirements, at the same time as networking and meeting others from whom you can learn. Soon, you’ll be the seasoned practitioner and completing your renewal application with the CEU’s from taking courses with Education Resources, Inc., and maybe even teaching a course!