Monday, January 22, 2007

The Value of Continuing Education

Learning is an ongoing process and hopefully we continue to learn till the day that our brain lets us down. There are some who say my day was yesterday, none the less I do not want the public confused with continuing to learn and those people who tout a particular designation because they require so many hours of continuing education a year or bi annually in order to maintain the registration.

CE as it is affectionately called is pretty much a joke. I have come to this conclusion as I think about the all day course I was required to take and Tom, the person who was authorized to teach it felt that he was entitled to a day off. Instead he had a subordinate teach it and report it as being taught by Tom. The person who did teach it also taught Ethics at a local college and the disconnect remains to this day.

Then there was a session on divorce planning which I attended. The only sad part about it was that there were severely fewer handouts than attendees and the attorney leading the discussion spent way too much time discussing her practice so that by the end of the time we had covered maybe ½ a page of a 6 page summary. Obviously the educational experience promised and paid for was not delivered yet the sponsoring organization reported that everything was fine.

The last instance covers a one day seminar that ran from 9 to 4 with 3 hours off for lunch and breaks. That means that there were four 60 minute periods and yet somehow the organization got 7 ½ CE granted for that day. Now one CE hour is 50 minutes and there is quite a shortfall.

I know that when it came time for me to report my own CE activity I did not include the first two and the last one was included but after I questioned how that many hours could have been granted.

The point is that much of the CE world is unregulated and filled with misrepresentations. I am not sure what a solution is, but I know that rather than having CE requirements, periodic testing on a knowledge base, done at a commercial location, may be more appropriate.

Next time an advisor is telling you how much CE they take or need, simply yawn and nod.