Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Public Speaking: How to Become a Continuing Education Provider

Public speakers, have you ever thought about entering the lucrative field of continuing education? If you enjoy public speaking training and teaching workforce development skills, you may want to consider becoming a licensed continuing education provider.

Why is this a good path for public speakers to explore?
Many professional licenses require continuing education units (CEUs) for renewal and most people aren’t going to let their professional license lapse. Even in times of poor economy, there are opportunities to sell your knowledge to licensed professionals by teaching continuing education courses.

In order to train licensed professionals, you need to do several things.
You must first identify licensed professions that require CEUs. You must also be licensed by the state as a continuing education provider for the professions you want to train.

The first step in the process is to conduct research.
* Identify licensed professions that require CEUs.
There are license holders in every state who are required to take continuing education classes to maintain their license. To find licensed professions that require continuing education units, go online and visit your state’s official web site. Often, the state site will have links on the home page where you can find the individual licensing boards listed. If you don’t see a link, enter “licensing boards” in the search engine. The site will list links to all the professional licensing and regulating boards, and there are a lot of them. In Virginia where I live, there were about forty vocations listed, excluding medical professions. Don’t buy lists! You can find lists at no cost on state web sites. Scroll down and click on the links of any of the professions that you want to target.

* Investigate the licensing requirements to become a continuing education provider.
Visit your state’s official web site and navigate to the licensing board for the professions in which you have an interest. Each state has its own names for the department that manages the various licensing boards. You may find it under names similar to “professional and occupational regulation” or “business and special regulations.” Look for documents that describe the general requirements for obtaining a license as a continuing education provider. At this time, you are not going to apply. You are just gathering background information to familiarize yourself with the process so you can prepare the required paperwork and course descriptions.

Prepare your application materials.
* Develop your course package and complete all related paperwork to fulfill the board’s requirements for licensing or certification as a CEU provider. Courses have to be approved by the board. You will have to develop a course outline, objectives and evaluations. The state gives you the forms. There is a cost per credit hour when you file.

File your application with the board.
* Submit your application. The cost of applying for a license as a continuing education provider depends on the profession. Though the application process is usually very easy, it is time-consuming. You must have persistence because you may encounter lots of red tape as you wait for approval. In some states the board only meets once a month, so give yourself at least 90 days.

* When the board meets to review your application, be sure you are present for the meeting. When your course is up in front of the board, go, even if they say you don’t have to be there. Sometimes board members will misunderstand what your have in your application materials and reject it for no reason. If you are there, you can explain it.

Selling your knowledge to others can bring in the big money if you do your homework, be persistent and differentiate yourself from your competition.

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