Investing in continuing education by taking advanced training courses and gaining new certifications is more important now than ever before. The challenges posed by today’s tough economic landscape have made for an even more competitive job market in recent years. Continuously improving your skills is one surefire way to stay ahead of the competition and advance your career.

Let’s take a closer look at seven benefits of continuing education for this year and beyond.

Grow Your Income with Continuing Education

What’s one of the biggest motivating factors behind people seeking out new certifications or training?

Money, of course.

And you’re smart to think that continuing education can secure you a higher income – many studies illustrate that educational attainment definitely correlates with earning potential. So the more education you get, the more likely you are to earn better money.

Having more valuable skills makes you more valuable to employers. They’re not interested in hiring three people to do different tasks if they could really all be done by one person. Become that valuable employee, so it’s possible to negotiate a better salary.

Gaining new skills and certifications can equally help you grow your income if you’re self-employed. Learning how to do something new (e.g. graphic design) means you don’t have to outsource these tasks to others.

Continuing Education Leads to Better Networking

There are lots of continuing education opportunities out there that give you the chance to meet new people. Even if it’s an online course, there are often forums or groups you can join to network and work together on projects. There’s also study groups, membership societies, special conferences, and other opportunities to learn and network at the same time. You might find that a certification you got in search engine marketing helped you connect with a new partner who can help your business grow. Keeping connections is essential for careers and business today.

Professional Development for Better Job Opportunities

Degreed professionals are not a rare thing in the world today. When you apply for a job, you’re competing with numerous other people with the same qualifications. Investing time and effort in continuing education is a great way to stand out from the crowd!

Having a few extra relevant certifications or training experiences can be just the thing you need to beat the competition. Even if it’s just a 4-week program that you completed online, it goes on your resume to show potential employers that you have something extra that others don’t. This can make all the difference in helping you land new job opportunities since you stand out from the crowd.

Climb the Career Ladder through Continuing Education

Getting advanced certifications isn’t just about adding credentials to your resume. You are also learning valuable skills that you can apply to your day-to-day job. This can help you become better at regular tasks that might otherwise be time-consuming. You can also take on new responsibilities that you once weren’t qualified for.

This is a really valuable way to get promotions and advance your career. Continuing education can help you improve job performance. You’ll also have special skills your colleagues don’t, helping you stand out from the crowd when it’s time for the boss to give out a promotion.

Hard work is only one important part of climbing the career ladder. Learning new skills can make it easier to get more work done and do a better job overall.

Stay Sharp and Healthy Inside and Outside the Office

What many people don’t realize is there’s a strong link between education and health. Continuing to learn new tricks even when you’re older helps keep your brain active and healthy. Learning new things can also help improve memory. Research has shown there’s a strong link between reading and overall health. Learning is a form of mental exercise that can keep you healthy.

Numerous research studies have shown that having more education correlates with better health and even having a longer lifespan. People who prioritize continuing education are more likely to develop healthy behaviors and less likely to suffer from illness. So believe it or not, continuing to learn throughout your life has benefits for both mental and physical health.

Develop New Professional Interests with Continuing Education

Society likes to make people think they need to choose a single career “path” to succeed in life. So everyone invests in getting a very narrow education without broadening their horizons to other interesting subjects. But if you give yourself the opportunity to learn about topics outside your chosen field, you will likely develop some new interests. You might even discover you have an innate talent for a field you never explored before.

When you take the time to dabble in different fields and get a holistic education, there’s just more opportunity to follow paths that truly interest you. You might be able to incorporate these new skills into your current job. Or you could end up changing careers completely to pursue a new dream.

Professional Development Helps You Innovate More

Learning about subjects outside of your normal discipline introduces you to new concepts and new ways of thinking. Different disciplines often discuss some of the same subjects using very different approaches from each other. Getting a broader understanding of a topic can help you brainstorm more creative ways to handle related tasks and challenges. Very rarely does innovation come from someone who’s always thinking inside the box.

Having a broader education can help you become more creative and innovative. In turn, this can help you stand out from your peers, climb the business ladder, or maybe even branch out on your own to create something novel. The best entrepreneurs today have a well-rounded education, and they’re always looking for new opportunities to learn.

Don’t Put Off Gaining New Skills

Hopefully, these seven points have helped illustrate the value of continuing education. In reality, continuing to gain new certifications and training experiences is mandatory if you want to stay competitive in today’s job market.

But instead of just keeping up with the competition, you can also prioritize continuing education to get ahead and increase your income even more. Since it’s a necessary part of success today, keep continuing education at the forefront to gain the most benefit from it.