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Next Step Academy | 2016 November

Keeping Your Health On Track During Winter

November 29th, 2016 by

Thanksgiving is behind us and now the major  holiday season looms ahead. With frost covering the ground and the prospect of snow no longer being a prospect for some regions, it can be hard to stay motivated to exercise — especially when it’s cold and there’s still leftover stuffing in the fridge. Here are six ways to stay motivated and keep your health on track this winter.

Find a friend. Having a workout buddy who will commit to joining you for morning jogs is a great way to stay motivated. You’ll be able to hold each other accountable and knowing someone is waiting for can be exactly what you need to get out of bed and into shape.

Warm up. Set your heater on a timer so it’s start warming your house before you wake up. If the temperature outside the covers is comfortable, you’ll be more likely to throw off the duvet and put on your running shoes.

how-to-stay-motivated-to-runPrepare ahead of time. This can be wearing workout clothes to bed or placing your sneakers next to your slippers. The easier it is to get ready, the more likely you’ll follow through. If you’re going outside, make sure your hat and gloves are ready too.

Take advantage of social. Exclaiming your dedication on Facebook, Twitter or your blog can help strengthen your commitment. You’ll be more likely to follow through if you’re telling your friends and family your fitness goals. Running and fitness apps also allow you to stay accountable — and the accolades from your friends won’t hurt either!

Find an exercise you love. Winter can be the perfect time to try out all of the classes you didn’t bother with over the summer. Look at your local gym or rec center for yoga, kickboxing, Zumba or pilates. Try different things until you find something you love to do.

Lastly, don’t let yourself feel guilty. Fitness isn’t about being perfect. Remind yourself that it’s okay to skip a workout and have some hot cocoa instead once in awhile. Life is about balance. Let go of guilt and enjoy yourself this holiday season.

To learn more about personal wellness check out Next Step Academy’s “Fitness” course!

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Careers in Law Enforcement

November 23rd, 2016 by

Law enforcement officers play an important role in society as public servants, dedicated to protecting the citizens in their communities. A person in law enforcement needs to understand the law and have a strong desire to make positive changes in the lives of those around them. This career can be physically demanding and dangerous. People in this field need to willing to give up their own rights to secure the rights of those they vow to protect.

Education

An associates degree in law enforcement or criminal justice will provide you with the necessary foundation for a career as a law enforcement officer. This will take two years on average to complete and will cover the basics of law and public safety.

Most police departments require applicants to hold a college degree, but this isn’t always the case. If you aren’t sure you want to dedicate two years to an associate’s degree, there are other options. Many institutions offer a diploma or certification program in criminal justice that cover the essentials and can be enough to grant you a position in the field, along with proper experience.

After college, applicants attend a training academy where they learn about local and federal laws, civil rights and ethics. Applicants also receive training for patrol, traffic control, self-defense, first aid and emergency response.

Career

The primary duties of law enforcement officer is to enforce laws and keep the public safe. A typical work day for a police officer includes patrols, traffic stops and responding to emergency calls.

The demand and duties of a law enforcement officer will vary depending on if they work at the local, state or federal level. There is also the opportunity to work in a different crime departments, such as narcotics, or special units, such as canine or SWAT.

Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary for police officers and detectives was $60,270 per year in 2014. The field is expected to grow by 4 percent over the next decade.

You can learn more about this career path and related fields with Next Step Academy’s “Careers in Criminal Justice” course!

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Going from Peer to Superior

November 21st, 2016 by

Congratulations — you’ve been promoted! On one hand, you’re probably excited to start the next phase of your career. On the other hand, you’ve just entered what can be one of the most difficult career situations you can go through: transitioning from peer to superior.

four-businesswomen-meeting-over-coffee_webHere are five tips to make the transition a little easier:

  1. Reevaluate your personal relationships with coworkers. You’ll need to accept that you can no longer be as close with the people you once called your peers. You are no longer a co-worker, you are now the person who assigns works and is in charge or productivity.

  2. Talk to the people in your department one-on-one. Have a conversation about the expectations you have of one another and how all of you can work together to make the transition easier.

  3. Remain professional at all times. You can no longer participate in break-room gossip or vent to the employees you once confided in. You need to establish boundaries and treat every employee with respect.

  4. If you did form friendships with employees, don’t allow them to affect your new duties. You can maintain those relationships outside of work, but you can’t give your friends special treatment.

  5. Remember that your new position isn’t about being popular. What’s more important is  being a leader and helping everyone in your department achieve results.
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3 Ways to Invest in Your Career

November 17th, 2016 by

Most people, at the beginning of their careers, set goals for the future. This could be a series of promotions, working towards a specific company or even starting your own business. The reality is you probably can’t achieve those goals by simply showing up and working the daily 9-5 grind.  You’ll need to put in a little extra effort to make them a reality.

Here are 3 ways you can invest in your career to ensure future development:14387367072_85312c31b3_b

Take on more projects. There are many benefits to taking on extra work. First, it will impress your superiors. Taking on extra projects will demonstrate your commitment to the field and to the company. Second, it will give you more experience. More work means you are spending more time developing your skills and improving your professional potential. Additionally, consider freelance work, if possible, to gain both experience and new contacts.

Seek out development opportunities. This can come in many forms including  networking events, conferences relating to your field or internal training programs offered by your company. You can take courses that improve your professional development. Learn HTML to increase your marketable abilities or take online courses like the ones offered by Next Step Academy. Anything that can expand your knowledge and give you an edge in the field.

Request feedback. While initially asking for feedback can be uncomfortable, it can be one of the best ways to improve and invest in your professional development. Ask your boss how they think you are doing in your current position. Ask about your strengths and possible shortcomings. You may also want to inform them of your goals and ask what it would take for you to achieve them.

There are plenty of ways to develop your professional potential. Learn more with Next Step Academy’s course “Realizing Your Professional Potential“!

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Careers in Speech Pathology

November 15th, 2016 by

Speech pathologists work with patients to diagnose and treat communication disorders. These disorders can include stuttering, social communication disorders, auditory processing disorders and swallowing disorders. They do important work to treat disorders affecting people of all ages.

Education

speech_client_web_5A master’s degree in speech pathology is the minimum requirement to become a speech pathologist. An undergraduate degree in biological sciences, physical sciences or behavioral sciences is the best way to prepare yourself for a master’s degree in speech pathology. A master’s degree will typically take you an additional two years to complete after your undergraduate degree.

Over the course of your master’s, you can expect to take classes in speech science, audiology and communication disorders. You will also be required to complete a certain number of clinical hours.

If you wish to become a speech pathology professor or researcher in the future, then you should consider completing a doctorate. A doctorate in speech pathology takes most people another four years to complete after graduate school. Your doctorate will comprise mostly of independent research and a dissertation.

Career

A speech pathologist diagnoses speech disorders and provides treatment. This often involves ongoing therapy with patients. Speech pathologists also need to be able to teach patients’ family members therapeutic techniques to be used at home in order to further help the patient. For patients with severe disorders, a speech pathologist can provide the patient with alternative communication systems. Some speech pathologists will also work with people without a diagnosed speech disorder, but who want to enhance their communication skills.

Salary and Job Outlook

On average, speech pathologists earn $69,870 per year, or $33.59 per hour as of 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The field is expected to grow by 19 percent over the next decade.

For more information on this career path, take Next Step Academy’s “Careers in Speech Pathology” course!

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In the News: Millennials are Changing the Workplace

November 10th, 2016 by

It’s not news that millennials have become the most influential generation when it comes to evolving the workplace. In fact, it is estimated that they will make up 75 percent of the workforce in less than a decade. Millennials bring a whole new set of attitudes and expectations for employers and this is affecting massive change in the workplace.

9023460951_e45d05becc_bMillennials are the first generation to grow up with technology playing an integral role in their lives, with most having no memory of life before the Internet. As a result, 93 percent of millennials expect up-to-date technology in the workplace and believe it is one of the most important aspects of an office.

What millennials expect from their employers is also much different than previous generations. They want flexible work environments with employers that care about their professional and personal needs. Employers are beginning to cater to these needs with voluntary benefits and benefits package education.

Voluntary benefits such as pet insurance, extended leave and financial counseling are becoming more common. The way benefits are presented to employees is also changing to get millennials more involved. Digital communication and offering engagement is key to millennial involvement. This means that benefits are often communicated via email or text message rather than a paper on a bulletin board. Additionally, employers are engaging millennials with surveys or offering them positions on committees so they work with HR and communicate what is most important to them.

Employers are also starting to be more flexible when it comes to where and when millennials work. Giving employees the option to customize their work schedule boosts productivity and satisfaction in a position. An employee can choose to take a nap after lunch to replenish their energy or take a break to spend time with their children after school. In fact, it is predicted that the 9-5 schedule will disappear by 2030.

Next Step Academy already operates on a flex schedule, with many of our employees working remotely rather than from an office. The flexibility of when and where we work allows our employees to work around college classes and busy family schedules.  

As the younger end of the millennial generation hits the workforce, more changes and adaptations to benefits policies and workplace culture can be expected. The ability to appeal to this generation is going to be crucial to control costs and increase the utilization and engagement of millennial employees.

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Find Your Focus: The 18-minute time management technique

November 8th, 2016 by

Are you losing focus during the day and finding it hard to stay on task? All you need is 18 minutes set aside throughout the day to get back on track according to Peter Bregman, the CEO of Bregman Partners and author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done.

Here’s how to use this technique and get things done:

Take 5 minutes in the morning to get organized. This is your time to sit down and think about what you need to get done during the day. The key is to be realistic about what you can accomplish and what will make the day successful. Make a to-do list, then put those into a calendar or daily schedule you can follow.images-2

Check in once an hour for a whole minute. Set an alarm every hour throughout the work day and take a minute to refocus. Have you been productive throughout the past hour? Are you on track to finish your daily to-do list? Taking a moment to breathe and evaluate the time you’ve worked so far can help you get back on track and prevents you from getting lost in the eight-hour work day.

Take 5 minutes in the evening to evaluate. Turn off your computer and put your work away, then review how the day went. Reflect on how you feel, what you learned and whether you finished everything that needed to get done. This reflection period can be helpful the next morning to be more realistic about can and cannot get done in a single day.

Need a little more help managing the work day? Next Step Academy has you covered with our “Time Management” course.

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Using Critical Thinking During the Election

November 4th, 2016 by

In less than a week, the people of the United States will choose a new commander in chief. Whether you’ve already decided who to vote for or if you’re still undecided, it’s important to utilize your critical thinking skills during this election. Here are some tips for exercising those skills before you decide who to vote for on Tuesday.

160302005451-trump-and-hillary-exlarge-169Decide what issues matter most to you. It may be helpful to make a list of issues and rank them from most important to least important. Next, research each candidate’s position on those issues. This should help you objectively see which candidate is more closely aligned with the issues that matter most to you, regardless of party.

Fact check and evaluate sources. You shouldn’t take everything you hear or read about a candidate at face value. If you find a piece of information that could influence your vote, make sure you perform your own fact check. This also means you need to evaluate the credibility of your source. Consider whether the source comes from a reputable organization and whether the author is biased one way or the other.

Investigate the past. Candidates make a lot of promises during a campaign. If you want to know the likelihood that the candidate will follow through on their promises, look at the candidate’s past. Has the candidate maintained their position on issues or do they flip-flop? How has the candidate voted in the past? Who has the candidate supported or endorsed?

Check your emotions. There’s nothing wrong with being passionate or having a gut feeling, but make sure you don’t rely solely on your emotions. Election campaigns use emotional appeals to make you like one candidate and mistrust another. However, you shouldn’t base your vote on candidate likeability. Don’t become susceptible to confirmation bias. Seek out information from both sides and make sure you are informed before making your final decision.

For more ways to develop your critical thinking skills, take Next Step Academy’s NEW “Introduction to Critical Thinking” course!

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4 Signs It’s Time for a Career Change

November 2nd, 2016 by

For many reasons, the career you have now may not be the best place for you in the future. Facing a career change can be scary when you consider starting over, but they can be necessary for personal growth and fulfillment. If you’re still not sure whether or not you need to rethink the future, here are four signs that it’s time for a change.

You are often tired or bored. If you are constantly tired or bored at the office, it could mean the work is no longer challenging for you. What was hard and rewarding when you first began has become an easy and passive task. This is a pretty good indicator that it’s time to find your passion again and look for a new position, or seek out a similar position that allows for more growth and challenge.

The future doesn’t excite you. When you first started working in your current position, you were probably excited about the work you were doing and where it could take you. If your future at the company no longer excites you or you no longer see a future, finding a new career could be the right move. This may mean you just need to find a different employer, but this could also mean that you need to change industries. Figure out what excites you now and move in that direction.

Your health is suffering. A job that overworks you, is physically demanding or is especially stressful can wreak havoc on your body. Physical and mental stress can weaken your immune system and cause headaches, ulcers and prevent you from concentrating. If a job is putting a physical strain on your body, then it’s definitely time for a change.

You dread going to work. There’s a difference between enjoying your weekend and living for the weekend. There are many reasons you could be dreading work, like you may not like your coworkers or your boss, you dislike the work you do, you don’t agree with the company’s ethics or you may not like the workplace culture. If your work makes you miserable, regardless of the reason, it’s time to move on.

Considering a career change? Brush up your resume and sharpen your Interviewing Skills.

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