Keys to Cost-Effective Professional Development

By Melissa Venable & Melanie Reinersman

Congratulations on your goal to obtain professional development. Continuing education “develops your skills, keeps you current in your field, and allows you to deliver quality services” (NCDA, 2023, p. 3). Recognizing there are rewards and challenges with any goal, NCDA aims to support you with options for ease of obtaining more knowledge/skills in career development, as well as credit for continuing education, at a reasonable cost.

According to the NCDA Code of Ethics, one area of responsibility for the career professional is to seek continuing education:

Career professionals recognize the need for continuing education to acquire and maintain a reasonable level of awareness of current scientific and professional information in their fields of activity. They take steps to maintain competence in the skills they use, are open to new procedures, and keep current with the populations with whom they work. (NCDA, 2015, C.2.f.)

Additionally, career professionals who hold an NCDA credential, state licensure, or obligation to other authority (e.g., an employer), may be required to secure approved contact hours over a specific period of time. Thus, anyone in our profession could be seeking either professional development for their own benefit or aiming to earn continuing education (CEs) to fulfill a requirement. The options listed in this article include both professional development and continuing education so that you may choose how you wish to have your goals met.

Remembering the Budget

Just as there are keys to getting discounts on anything from buying a car, utilizing store coupons, or booking travel, NCDA offers cost-effective ways to achieve professional development. For example, anyone can watch a webinar and gain professional development on a variety of topics. Those that want CEs can register for a live webinar, or watch a pre-recorded webinar then submit a form for CEs and by using the Discounted Webinar Package, the more you watch the more you save!

Table 1 lists numerous options, as well as the effect on the user’s budget. While this list is extensive, it may not include everything NCDA offers. Some options are listed in more than one row to cover the different cost-effectiveness of the option. For example, everything in The Hub (NCDA’s new learning platform) supports professional development and CEs are offered for a range of costs and formats, such as watching videos, listening to podcasts, or reading publications. Please visit the NCDA website for more information.

Table 1

Keys to NCDA Professional Development and Continuing Education

Cost-Effectiveness NCDA Opportunity How to Obtain Professional Development How to Obtain CEs For more information
Free  Pre-Recorded Webinars Watch anytime (see discount key) https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/webinars
Free Career Practitioner Conversations (NCDA podcasts)  Listen anytime (see Hub options) https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sd/news_article/452893/_blank/layout_details/false
Free Career Convergence web magazine Read anytime 4 CEs for authoring a published article www.careerconvergence.org
Free Career Developments quarterly magazine Members may read anytime Anyone can submit an article for publication; 4 CEs for authoring a published article https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/magazine
Discount Pre-Recorded Webinars Watch anytime Watch 1-5 webinars, then click on the Discounted CE Webinar Package link to purchase your CEs.  https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/webinars
Discount The Hub Register and complete a course anytime Monthly discount on a select course for a range of CEs https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/learning_hub_courses
Discount NCDA Global Conference Volunteers receive a reduction in registration  For various sessions www.ncdaconference.org
Low Cost The Hub: Career Practitioner Conversations (NCDA podcasts) Register and complete a course anytime Register; listen to the podcast; take the quiz; print your certificate. Course CEs vary from 2-6 (to-date) https://careerconvergence.org/"94">Low Cost NCDA Global Conference Student-member pricing and/or one-day registration CEs vary and are earned by attending various sessions www.ncdaconference.org
Low Cost The Hub: Career Developments quarterly magazine Register and complete a course anytime Register; read the issue; take the quiz; print your certificate for 1 CE. https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/learning_hub_button
Low Cost (time) NCDA Committee Service time Service time as chair earns up to 10 contact hours https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/about_committees 
Low Cost NCDA State CDA or Committee Event Low or no travel costs (e.g. virtual events) CEs, if approved https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/events
All Ranges The Hub Register and complete a course anytime Register; Complete the course; take the quiz; print your certificate Course CEs vary from 1 to 10 (to date) https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/learning_hub_button


Support the Field of Career Development

NCDA invites Career Convergence readers and anyone in the field of career development to become members of our professional association. Members can benefit from all the professional development, advocacy, standards, and publications that NCDA has to offer. Visit www.ncda.org  and click on Membership.

Collage Of Logos 2023



NCDA. (2015). Code of ethics. https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/asset_manager/get_file/3395?ver=738702

NCDA. (2023). NCDA credentialing continuing education manual (5th ed.). https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/asset_manager/get_file/312355?ver=30775




Melissa Venable 2023Melissa Venable is NCDA’s Professional Development Director. mvenable@ncda.org






Melanie Reinersman June 2022 App ProfileMelanie Reinersman is NCDA’s Website & Web Magazine Editor. mreinersman@ncda.org


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