Should I Take All My CE Courses In One Day?

Picture this. It’s late October, and you receive a notification in the mail from your local contractor’s licensing board. It’s time to renew your contractor’s license, but in order to do so, you need to complete 8 hours of continuing education courses. The letter even includes a list of resources you can use to make sure you complete these courses by the December 31st deadline.

“Got it,” you say to yourself, and you promptly place the notice in the Round File.

Fast forward to December 29th. Of course, you haven’t taken the mandatory CE courses yet. Now you have three days to complete your continuing education courses, or you won’t be able to get your contractor’s license renewed.

Now what? Do you apply online and take your courses virtually all in one day? Do you hope and pray that someone offers the courses you need in a classroom in the remaining three days you have?

There are options, whether you want to take all your CE courses in one day or not. Let’s take a look at them.

Last-minute continuing education courses for contractors

Honestly, the best solution to this problem is to not let it become a problem in the first place. Every state’s rules regarding continuing education courses for GC license renewal are different, but it’s safe to assume that your local Board will send you a reminder like the one we talked about above. When they do, treat it like a request for a bid on a job. Place it on your desk, on the top of the pile…not in the trash.

This gives you plenty of time to ask yourself, “when do I want to take these courses?” In North Carolina, we’re required to take eight hours of continuing education. Two of those hours are mandatory courses that everyone has to attend, and the remaining six hours are elective courses. If you address your CE requirements the moment you’re notified, that typically gives you up to 12 weeks to complete the courses.

You can then budget your time accordingly: one course-hour a week, for example. Look at your calendar and fit the courses into your schedule. This is a far better option than having to re-arrange your entire schedule, or having to throw that schedule out entirely to get your coursework completed. The last thing you want is for these continuing education classes to cost you money!

Cramming courses

As we discussed last week, different people study and learn in different ways, and the best thing you can do is take your continuing education courses in a way that’s best for your style. That said, some people fall back on the age-old practice of cramming for their exams. Hey, it worked in high school, why wouldn’t in work to renew your contractor’s license?

Because science. Although many people believe that cramming is effective, spacing out your studies has proven to be a far better strategy. In fact, one study showed that 72 percent of students thought that cramming was more beneficial to their academic performance, but reality showed that spacing out studying was more effective than cramming for 90 percent of the participating students

The best way to learn is to take breaks between study sessions to let your brain fully digest what you’re learning, and then to return to the subject repeatedly. This supports the idea that you should schedule your classes over a period of weeks or even months instead of cramming. When you’re able to review material more than once, you can comprehend and recall more of it. 

The other disadvantage to cramming your courses into one day is that your brain needs sleep to process information. And not just into short-term memory, but into any memory at all. In other words, by the time you reach class number six of eight, your brain could be so fried that it’s effectively impossible to pass the corresponding exam. 

Can I take all my continuing education courses in one day in one classroom?

In short, no. The same rules apply to live classes. Think back to high school or college.  In high school, most classes were never more than 50 minutes. In college, maybe there were lectures and corresponding labs that lasted as long as 3 hours, but that was it. And no one took two or three of those in one day!

The same goes for your contractor’s license continuing education courses. I teach these courses, and I’m telling you I’m not about to stand up there for eight hours to lecture you on the course material. So, if you’re a classroom learner—and most people are—it’s critical that you avoid waiting until the last minute to schedule your continuing education courses.

At a minimum, I recommend you give yourself two weeks to complete your continuing ed courses for your license renewal. This gives you time to take one or two courses daily, avoid weekends if you wish, and only have to fit an hour or two into your busy schedule. If you’re looking for either online or in-person courses, give us a call here at AJCEO, and we’ll help you set up your entire course curriculum!

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