At the NAA, our mission has always been to educate and inspire. We consider ourselves and our members to be lifelong learners. While Nutritional Aesthetics® is our educational focus, we know that learning takes many forms in our diverse lives, both personally and professionally. Whether you’re seeking to build on your current professional certifications, or you want to develop a new skill or hobby, continuing education opportunities abound. But it’s essential to choose wisely. This week, we walk you through some of the most important things to consider when considering your next continuing education opportunity.

We’d like to preface our post with one key note: if it’s professional education you seek, above all else have a clear understanding of what you’ll leave your program with, in terms of scope of practice within your state. Many online programs both in nutrition and aesthetics teach material that can only be practiced by practitioners carrying specific state-issued professional licenses in certain states, and regulation around those licenses is not standard across all states in either field.

Is Your Continuing Education Personal or Professional? Consider This:

  • First, be clear on what your needs and wants are. Are you looking to take a course for personal enrichment? Or are you hoping as a business owner to utilize more extensive hands on education to expand your offerings?
  • Not all continuing education programs in nutrition, coaching, or aesthetics are created equal. Nor are they targeting the same learners for the same reasons. It is up to the you to make sure that your goals as a learner are matched to the program you choose.
  • Keep in mind that a health coaching or nutrition certification conferred by a supplement company, or granted after a short-term workshop, is not likely to deliver adequate education or practicum to be able to add the service/modality to your resume or menu. Look instead for adequate practical education in addition to theory.
  • Aesthetics continuing education that is brand-specific may provide in-depth training on a particular product, brand, or treatment. It may help you use and sell the products of the sponsoring brand more effectively. However in general it will not grow your scope of practice or breadth of knowledge as a skincare professional.
  • If industry-specific accreditations are your priority, research carefully. Many online programs get accreditations from organizations that have nothing to do with the actual field of practice or industry, making the accreditation more marketing than meaningful.

How to Get the Most from Your Continuing Education

  • Find out who developed, and who teaches, the course you’re eyeing. Is the informing philosophy/perspective of the course instructors and content clearly outlined? If you serve a wide client demographic, a program taught from one perspective can be limiting, as clients do not have the same needs. Often an integrated approach requiring multiple modalities, tools, or approaches is what’s needed.
  • Have the course instructor(s) disclosed relevant financial and strategic relationships related to the course content? Disclosures can help you determine if the instructor has a bias toward certain products, services or practices in the program. Bias, of course, is acceptable, but only if it’s disclosed can you make well informed decisions.
  • Find out how often course material is updated and how long you will retain access to course resources. Education you purchase in an ever-changing industry could become obsolete rather quickly.
  • What is the course’s refund or cancellation policy? If this course does not meet your needs despite your analysis before signing up, can you exit gracefully?

Ready to continue your education? Remember, simply because you learn a skill or earn a certification doesn’t mean you’re allowed to use it unless you also have an up-to-date state-issued license granting you the ability to practice in that way. Stay informed of your legal rights, especially if after continuing your education, you plan to take on the role of educator or practitioner in any capacity.

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Where do you look for continuing education?

And what subjects are you hoping to learn more about in the future?