You're busy, but you want to upgrade your skills. Can you find the education you need without having to attend a class? Online educational opportunities extend your skills without adding to your commute. Here's how to seek the right opportunities and find a balance as you pursue your education.
Examine Your Industry
When you're looking into new educational opportunities in your field, take some time to look at the trends in your industry. What are the emerging insurance jobs? Which areas of insurance are booming? What new problems or questions exist in your field right now? By looking toward the future, you can prepare yourself to be ready when those opportunities come.
Talk to Mentors
As you determine where you'd like to move within your field, talk to mentors or those with a lot of experience in your area of work to determine what trends they see. Discuss your career path, interests, and background and see if they can recommend any areas of opportunity. For example, as an insurance professional who's interested in data management, you might speak with someone who can pinpoint opportunities for you to further develop your skills in current CRM and marketing software programs for insurance companies.
Where Are Your Gaps and Opportunities?
As you research your field and talk with mentors, remain conscious of your areas of weakness and your areas of strength and opportunity. You may want to use your education to bolster an area where you're weaker. For example, if you want to be a better marketer, you could take a class on inbound marketing. You can also take courses to further enhance your current specialties.
What Time Commitment Should You Make?
When you're looking at what education you'd like to get, consider your potential time commitment before you leap. Can you take a series of short webinars or would you like to improve your skills by taking a longer-term course? While you can take semester-long credit courses through a college, you don't necessarily need to go that route to find excellent online education.
Once you've chosen a course that fits your gaps and areas of interest, take a look at the course syllabus. How does this fit into your schedule? Once you've registered, make a note of key dates such as presentations and assignment due dates. Even if your course is not for credit, you want to plan ahead to get the most out of your class.
Set a Time to Connect
While some classes have a specific time to meet, others are available on demand. If you have discretion regarding when you can access the course, try to set consistent times to do so. Being consistent will help you progress through the course.
Your course may be online, but you can still ask questions. If you have the opportunity to engage in live chat, Tweet your instructor, or comment in a private chat area, do this. You can learn a lot from your peers, and this will help you make your online course experience as fruitful as possible.
When you're taking an online course, it's important to login often. This keeps you up to date on course content and discussions and gives you the opportunity to participate. Learning in small segments helps you retain the knowledge you've gained.
Whether you're curious about different insurance jobs or you're trying to grow in your existing career, you may need to use continuing education as a stepping stone to create your future. As you seek out educational opportunities, be sure to connect with the American Agents Alliance. Our membership benefits include continuing education courses that place you on the road to success.