What Does The Future Hold for Professional Associations?

If you seek out knowledge from and ultimately become a member of a professional association, you know that they're an invaluable resource for earning the continuing education credits you want and need in your field. Typically, associations offer in-person seminars, conferences, classroom-based instruction, and increasingly in recent years, online education.

There are close to 67,000 professional associations in the United States, with most offering online learning courses for their members, according to ASAE — the American Society of Association Executives. For many associations, training, education, and certifications are mission-critical. It's what they're all about. They exist to help pros in their field advance to the next level, keep up with changing information, and stay relevant in today's changing marketplace.

For employers, encouraging and even requiring employees to take continuing education courses, and earn the digital credentials they provide, ensures that you have the best of the best in your workforce. For them, it's an incentive to gain more skills and knowledge to move up the ladder.

Digital credentials are the verification that the learner hasn't just phoned it in, but dug in and learned what they were there to learn. Digital credentials are proof of accomplishment.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on virtually all in-person events, including learning and testing (whether multi-day conferences or a single evening class), we're all left doing it virtually now, almost without exception.

The shift to online learning is not confined to continuing education, of course. Ask any parent and you'll hear about their child's transition to online learning, regardless of age. The shift is happening up and down the educational spectrum.

Is it permanent? There is no good answer to that, no matter who you ask.

One thing is likely: There will come a day when in-personal classes and conferences make a comeback. They are valuable in so many ways, not the least of which is the opportunity to talk to and network with one's peers. The industry knowledge shared in-person at a conference can be invaluable.

As valuable as that is, in-person learning is not going to be the gold standard anymore. It's simply more effective and efficient to earn those credentials online.

It's true for myriad reasons, but time is among the most important. Learning is available on your employees' schedule, not the other way around. That means your people who are seeking CLEs won't have to choose between the course time and an important client call. There is no downtime at work while your employees attend a seminar away from the office.

Learning can be all be done at their desks, during their lunch hours, or whenever they have some downtime. That's a win-win for your company and your employees, and your professional association is the key to helping you make that happen.

If you're interested in learning more about how your employees can earn their continuing education credits via digital credentials, fill out the form below and we'll show you how to get started.

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By Patricia Diaz