Two Sides of the Same Coin: The Pros and Cons of Continuing Education

  • Val Livingston Norfolk State University
  • Dianne Davis-Wagner Norfolk State University
Keywords: lifelong learning, research-informed practice, professional development, continuing education effectiveness, client outcomes


Upon our initial entry into the field of social work, Dianne and I possessed an enormous thirst for knowledge and interventions that could help us help our clients. As emerging professionals, we wanted to know everything. Continuing education quenched that thirst for us. Through workshops and conference attendance, we were able to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Professional development became a passion for a number of years as we both embraced an understanding of what it meant to be a lifelong learner. As developing professionals, we understood the need to keep our skills sharp and remain relevant, particularly for professions requiring continuing education credits in order to maintain licenses or certifications. Despite the intended value of continuing education, some professional development opportunities may not produce the expected return on investment. Identifying, affording, and authenticating valid opportunities to enhance our professional competence is becoming more difficult.

Author Biography

Dianne Davis-Wagner, Norfolk State University

Assistant Professor of Social Work