The design and construction industry is constantly evolving, which is one reason professionals must continue to learn and grow throughout their careers. Design professionals who belong to the AIA must earn a certain number of continuing education credits to maintain their membership credentials. Many states also require continuing education to renew licenses, and for designers who are not yet licensed, some AIA credits may count toward the experience prerequisite.
Aside from the various requirements for continuing education, AIA credits provide a good opportunity to stay current on new regulations, products, materials, and technologies. There are many ways to earn AIA credits, many of which offer additional benefits. Take advantage of some of these five creative approaches as you fulfill your continuing education requirements.
1. Learn While You Earn
You can take AIA-approved courses on your own time, but if you work for a firm, chances are that you can attend them during the workday. Getting AIA credits at work is a great way to meet your minimum requirements without cutting into your personal time. Many companies also offer continuing education benefits that allow you to use a certain amount of time and/or money for ongoing learning. Check your company’s policies and get the most from this benefit as you grow in your career.
2. Learn While You Dine
Many continuing education providers offer lunch and learns, brunch and learns, or breakfast and learns. Attending these types of events allows you to take a break from the usual grind, learn during the workday, and get the bonus of a free meal. Some companies even host evening happy hours or events at local restaurants combined with an AIA-approved course.
3. Learn While You Shop
If you’re specifying a particular product or material and you need to do some research, check to see if the vendor offers AIA courses. If the vendor does, you can save time by having someone from the company come to your office for a lunch and learn. The training content is typically related to the vendor’s products or services. For example, a fireplace manufacturer might do a presentation on codes and standards, or a window vendor might cover R-values and U-values.
You and your colleagues can take advantage of a continuing education opportunity and earn AIA credits while you get all of the information you need about the vendor’s products. As an added bonus, some or all of this time could be considered billable if you’re doing research on behalf of a client.
4. Learn While You Network
Next time you attend a conference, look for courses that offer AIA credits. You’ll meet like-minded colleagues who face the same challenges you do, so you can learn from one another. Additionally, if you’re able to include a learning event during your trip, your firm might be willing to cover some of the costs as part of your continuing education benefit. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll be getting the most from your investment in the conference.
5. Learn from Your Desk
Not all AIA-approved courses must be attended in person. You can take online courses from the comfort of your home or office. These types of classes also offer the benefit of freedom of scheduling, and you can take each course at your own pace, starting and stopping whenever you want to. Many self-directed online courses provide a video or recorded webinar that covers the training content and follows it up with a test. When you pass the course, you get a certificate for your AIA credits.
Choose Relevant Training Courses
Continuing education is necessary, but that doesn’t mean it has to be inconvenient or expensive. You will get the most from this type of training when the content is relevant to something you’re already working on. Look for courses that apply to specific projects, or challenges you’re facing in your daily work, and earn AIA credits that allow you to immediately apply your new knowledge.
If you regularly design and specify fireplaces, it’s a good idea to stay on top of the most recent codes and standards as well as the latest technology in contemporary fireplaces. Schedule a lunch and learn with Ortal to earn AIA credits and learn more about our modern fireplace collections at the same time.