10 Tips for Mid-Career Professional Development


New graduates are often encouraged to seek mentorship to continue their professional development. However, after 10-15 years of experience as a clinician, educator or business owner, most are busy and may not have the opportunity or realize the continued importance of mentorship or deliberate planning to pursue ongoing professional development. U.S. Office of Personnel Management indicates on its website that a mid-career professional is someone with more than 10 years of professional experience. In a professional career of roughly 35 to 40 years, you could reasonably consider a mid-career professional as being in years 10 through 25. At mid-career, professional goals and expectations often begin to change. Many begin to seek additional challenges or opportunities or opportunities are being offered to them within their institution, at the state or national levels. These challenges might include program development, leadership, a transition from clinic to academia or from employee to employer through various avenues of entrepreneurship. The purpose of this session is to provide mid-career therapists with techniques to help identify goals and a direction for professional development and tools to facilitate the development of leadership skills.

Methods and/or Description of Project

This session will explore professional development issues specifically related to mid-career professionals. The session will begin with what a mid-career professional is and what the challenges specifically related to mid-career professional development are. Tips, tools and techniques for mid-career professional development will be presented and demonstrated. Attendees will break into small groups with a speaker and discuss how these tips can be applied to their personal challenges. Speakers will then describe and discuss how to write professional development goals that are focused, directive and specific. Attendees will return to their small groups to write their professional development goals.


Participants will leave the session with practical tips to facilitate professional development.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education

Few sessions or options focus on mid-career professional development. The presenters have benefited from the 10 tips presented and hope to encourage others to continue to pursue professional development throughout their career paths.

Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education
-Walking the Talk: Leadership and advocacy
-Building tomorrow’s leaders


Baldwin R, DeZure D, ShawA, Moretto K. Mapping the terrain of mid-career faculty at a research university: implications for faculty and academic leaders. Change: The Magazine Of Higher Learning. 2008; 40(5):46-55.
Clarke M, Hyde A, Drennan J. Professional Identity in Higher Education in The Academic Profession in Europe: New Tasks and New Challenges. 2012;5:7-21.
Diamond S. Getting More How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World. NY, NY: Three Rivers Press; 2010.
Huston T, Weaver CL. Peer coaching: Professional development for experienced faculty. Innovations in Higher Education. 2008;33:5. doi:10.1007/s10755-007-9061-9.
Kalet, A. L., Fletcher, K. E., Ferdman, D. J. and Bickell, N. A. (2006), Defining, navigating, and negotiating success: The experiences of mid-career Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Women. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 21: 920–925. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00524.x
Mauer TJ. Career-relevant learning and development, worker age, and beliefs about self-efficacy for development. Journal of Management. 2001;27:123-140.
7.Palmer P. The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life. San Francisco, CA: John Whiley & Sons; 2007.
8.Patterson K, Grenny J, McMillan R, Switzler A. Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. NY NY: McGraw Hill; 2012.
9.Sinek S. Start with Why. NY NY: Penguin Group; 2009.

Course Objectives

Attendees will:
1.Understand the importance of mentorship in mid-career professional development.
2.Apply tools and techniques learned in the presentation for their own mid-career professional development.
3.Develop personal mid-career professional development goals.

Instructional Methods

Lecture, small group discussion

Tentative Outline/Schedule

A. Description and challenges of mid-career professionals (10 mins)

B. 10 tips for mid-career professional development: (30 mins)
Peer group (divas)
Book club (divas)
Start with Why, exploring options, Personal mission/vision statements
Leadership conferences in and out of PT
Learning circles
Crucial conversations / crucial accountability
Negotiation skills
Basecamp - creating online networks to achieve shared goals

D. Discussion - Applying 10 Tips to personal development (20 mins)

E. Tips, tools and techniques for establishing mid-career professional development goals
(10 mins)

F. Small groups - Writing personal development goals (10 mins)

G. Take home messages (10 mins)

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  • Control #: 2752075
  • Type: Educational Session
  • Event/Year: ELC2017
  • Authors: Karen Huhn, Dr. Patricia Kluding, Patricia McGinnis, Teresa Miller, Susan Wainwright
  • Keywords:

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