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Types of Continuing Education for Healthcare Professionals

Types of Continuing Education for Healthcare Professionals

Types of Continuing Education for Healthcare Professionals

Types of Continuing Education for Healthcare Professionals

Many professionals take continuing education (CE) courses to advance the skills in their careers as well as train themselves on new skills. CE opportunities come in many different forms, and knowing the different types can help you fulfill your requirements even faster. Learn the various types of CE healthcare professionals may be able to take advantage of.

Types of Continuing Education

Post-secondary degree programs

These programs are the most common form of continuing education, including associate degrees, master’s degrees, and other degree programs. In California, for example, registered nurses can take college courses for CE contact hours, but they must be of an advanced level, meaning above the level required for licensure.

These courses can include but are not limited to pathophysiology courses related to subspecialties in nursing, physical or cultural anthropology, or child psychology.

Professional certifications

Certifications typically include education opportunities to learn new skills or learn how to use new technology and tools. Certifications can count towards contact hours for CE requirements but also can look great on a resume to appeal to recruiters.

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals offers Health Care Manager certifications. These certifications count toward 220 contact hours of continuing education.

Independent study

Independent studies are courses that you can either take in workshops or directly with a professor or other academic professional. These courses are usually tailored specifically to your career interests and the skills you want to develop.

Requirements vary based on profession and state; for instance, the American Psychological Association has its own independent study guide detailing the national requirements and approved courses for independent study.

Professional events

You can also earn continuing education credits by attending professional development events. These can take place through employers, professional organizations, or other entities in your industry. Some common events can include workshops, conferences, and seminars.

In December 2023, the California Hospital Association held its annual symposium covering several different topics within the healthcare industry. Attendees of the symposium could earn CE credits depending on their profession.

On-the-job training

Typically, on-the-job training can be completed through your employer if they have opportunities to train in other departments or even get a deeper understanding of your current position.

Note: Training must be approved by appropriate state, regional, and national health professional associations as well as other health and licensing boards as a viable source for fulfilling continuing education requirements.


Volunteering is not only another way to learn new skills but also contribute to your community and professional resume. There are a variety of programs that will incorporate and educate their volunteers in their industry, provide useful new tools and skills, and even provide on-the-job experiences.

The Medical Reserve Corps has several opportunities all over the country for volunteering, and some of the programs offer continuing education units and credits. Learn how to become a volunteer.


Conducting your own research or studies is another way to earn continuing education units and credits. Research will typically involve something directly related to your field and specialties. After completing research, you can publish your paper or study and earn continuing education credits.

EBSCO, an information research and publishing service, offers CE credits for physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, and allied health professionals who conduct research.

Online courses

Across the internet, there are tons of both free and affordable resources to earn continuing education credits. Courses can be found in practically any subject and skill that you would like to develop. This is a great option for those who don’t have the time for in-person classes or want to learn on the go. Always make sure that your course provider is an accredited source or part of an accredited organization, and confirm how many credits/units you will earn.

In California, registered nurses are able to get up to 6 CE credits by taking mandated reporter training online through

Sign up for Mandated Reporter Training’s continuing education course now! Button: Find a CE Course!

Language learning

Many organizations offer continuing education credits for learning another language. Knowing multiple languages is a skill that is sought out in almost every industry but is also especially important in healthcare. There are several courses online and in-person elsewhere that offer specific courses on interpreting certain medical interventions and practices.

The Medical Interpreting Training School offers multiple courses on various interpreting skills within the medical field and is approved by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) and the National Board.

Extension courses

Extension courses are offered by colleges and universities to people who are not enrolled as students. Often, these classes will be provided through evening classes or classes that take place in off-campus centers.

Extension courses are a commonly listed curriculum on almost all university and other educational institutions' websites. Extension courses will need to be taken in relevant and approved continuing medical education (CME) areas. Visit the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s tool at to find CME-approved courses and requirements in your state.

Quick Tips for Picking Your CE Sources

Consider your goals and interests

At the end of the day, you want your education to be engaging and enriching. When selecting what courses you need to take, consider your current position, what you’re interested in, and also where you see yourself working in the future.

Consider your schedule

Although continuing education is a requirement in almost every state, it’s still important to consider your schedule when choosing classes. Make sure that the classes you decide on are cohesive with your work and personal schedule.

Consider your learning preferences

It’s always important to explore the best ways that you intake information. If you are more of a visual/audio learner, online classes and webinars might be best. However, if you prefer reading, you can also earn CE through research and independent study.

If you are a registered nurse in California and looking for an easy and affordable way to earn CE credits, visit and earn 6 contact hours today.

Sign up for Mandated Reporter Training’s continuing education course now! Button: Find a CE Course!

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