There are thousands of books, websites, and other sources available for the sole purpose of making you a better person. They focus on topics ranging from weight control to increasing self-confidence to overcoming shyness. But, the type of self-improvement Im highlighting is professional-based; Im speaking of improving your position in your current career.
Sure, many of the self-improvement topics, including those I mentioned, will help you professionally, but theyll take you only so far in your career. Eventually, to make your way up the career path, you need to prove to others that Ïyou know what youre doing. Generally, this is gained through experience. However, there are other means of achieving the knowledge that typically comes with experience, but at a quicker pace. Continuing education in your profession will give you the knowledge that may (or may not) come with experience.
Through CSI, the member has a variety of sources available to build their knowledge base:
- CSI Webinars - These are 90-minute interactive telephone/internet education sessions on a variety of topics ranging from technical subjects such as ÏFundamentals of Joint Sealants and Joint Design and ÏRoof System Design: The Architects Achilles Heel, to productivity subjects like ÏFinding an Extra Hour Every Day and ÏManaging and Leading Great Staff and Team Meetings. To get more information on CSIs webiners, click here.
- Region Conferences - Hosted by local chapters, these conferences occur throughout the year and usually have education sessions that address our industry. The Phoenix Chapter is hosting the 2008 Southwest Region Conference this month, and has a day and a half of educational sessions for all categories of CSI members. You dont have to be a member of a region to attend a regional conference; so, the week after the Southwest Region Conference, you can hop on a flight to Pensacola Beach, Florida, to attend the Gulf States Region Conference. To get more information on the Southwest Region Conference, click here.
- CSI Academies - Held annually, the CSI Academies are 3 days of educational sessions focusing specifications, contract administration, and product representation.
- CONSTRUCT2008 - This is the new CSI annual convention and show and is packed with many educational sessions with titles ranging from ÏUnderstanding Metal Roofing to ÏWhy Building Enclosures Fail to ÏManaging Post-Construction Claims.
- Chapter Educational Seminars - The Phoenix Chapter frequently conducts educational seminars for its members and others in the construction industry. These sessions in the past have covered topics specification writing, construction documents, contract administration, MasterFormat 2004, roofing, and many more.
All of these educational opportunities are excellent means to expanding ones knowledge, but nothing exhibits Ïknowledgeable more visibly than a credential--a CSI certification credential. Participating in CSIs certification program is a smart way to show your colleagues, employers, clients, and customers that you have achieved a level of expertise within your career field.
Earning the Construction Documents Technologist (CDT) certificate is the foundation of CSI advanced certifications. The Certified Construction Contract Administrator (CCCA) is available for those individuals who deal with the day to day issues of managing a construction project. The Certified Construction Specifier (CCS) is the oldest certification program offered by CSI and is available for those who are in the field of writing construction specifications. And finally, the Certified Construction Product Representative (CCPR) is available for industry members in the field of sales or marketing of construction-related products.
The CDT has moved from its paper-based format to a computer-based format similar to that provided by other certification programs. With this new format, CSI can now offer the CDT nationally more than just once a year. Paper-based exams are still offered at the convention and most region conferences. Eventually, all of CSIs certification exams will be available in a computer-based format.
CSI is currently looking at expanding its certification program to include the National CAD Standard (NCS). No details on what the program will entail, but a task team will eventually be formed to develop the program.
Although you obtain the immediate benefit of the knowledge you gain through continuing education, your company and those you work with will also realize betterment from your knowledge by having you as a resource in the office.
The bottom line: Get the experience now through education, or get it through trial and error.
ÏEducation is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't. - Pete Seeger, singer/songwriter
Ronald L. Geren, CSI, CCS, CCCA, AIA, SCIP
Phoenix Chapter President