Dedicated funeral service professionals strive to give their client families the very best of everything – the best customer service, the best funeral service options and the best overall experience. In addition to investing in your firm, it’s important to make an investment in your own professional training and development to be better equipped to meet your high expectations for yourself and your business.
There are many benefits of continuing education for funeral directors and preneed professionals (beyond, of course, meeting the licensing requirements for your state). Here are just a few of the reasons continuing education can help you perform to the best of your ability.
1. Stay focused with goal-based learning.
For more than 20 years, Steve Whitaker has experienced just how important it is for funeral professionals to receive up-to-date insights about topics that impact their firms. As Homesteaders’ Educational Services Director, he travels the country to facilitate on-site training opportunities for our continuing education program.
According to Whitaker, successful continuing education course designers should start with the course objectives and then develop materials that achieve those goals. “The first step is for the trainer to define what they expect the student to be able to do after they complete the course, and then work backward from there,” he explained. “Ultimately, you end up with a course that teaches a student what they really need to know.”
Whitaker noted that Homesteaders’ continuing education courses are continuously updated to ensure they meet the changing funeral service landscape and the needs of the funeral directors and preneed professionals who attend.
2. Benefit from fresh perspectives through discussion and participation.
Professional training often includes an interactive element that encourages participants to share their experiences with their peers. These exercises aren’t just designed to add variety to the training sessions – they’re meant to encourage professionals to consider how their learning could apply in real-life scenarios.
“I like to ask thought-provoking questions, and that often generates lively discussion,” Whitaker said. “Students come away from the class having learned about topics that they need to understand as funeral directors and preneed professionals, but they also have fun doing it.”
3. Get practical training you can use immediately.
Well-designed continuing education opportunities provide practical insights you can put to use immediately at your firm. As Director-Field Training and Development Wanda Sizemore shared in a recent post, you’ll be more likely to see benefits from continuing education opportunities if you hold yourself accountable to implementing key lessons right away.
“The old adage, ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it,’ certainly applies to [education] opportunities – it is critical to make an action plan for how you want to implement what you’ve gained from training,” she explained.
4. Enhance your professional development through a network of peers.
Successful professionals seek out others in their industry to form long-term connections. When you stay in touch with a group of people who are interested in your progress, you’ll be more likely to stay motivated to use what you’ve learned during the training.
Professionals with all levels of experience attend continuing education events. Through participation in training activities, you’ll gain useful ideas from both tenured and new professionals who have unique insights to share. You may even find opportunities to establish and foster mentoring relationships with other funeral professionals who can provide these fresh perspectives on an ongoing basis.
Homesteaders’ continuing education program provides training on a variety of topics that are relevant to today’s funeral professionals, including ethics and insurance principles.