Most states in the country require that licensed professionals, such as architects, engineers, land surveyors, interior designers and landscape architects, complete a certain number of hours of continuing education each year in order to renew their professional license.In years past most licensed professionals had to expend hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year to attain their state-mandated continuing education. Opportunities were limited to a handful of in-person venues lasting a day or more. Most of these seminars were held only in large cities, requiring many professionals to travel and stay overnight, costing both large sums of money and their valuable time.With the rise of the internet more and more state licensing boards allow what is known as “distance learning.” Distance learning, as the name implies, is learning from a distance, without the need to travel to an in-person venue in another city. Mail-order courses, webinars and internet-based courses are common examples of distance learning.As you can imagine, many professionals are opting for distance learning over in-person seminars not only because it saves them both time and money, but because it is much more convenient, allowing them to acquire their continuing education credits on their own schedule and at their own pace. Naturally, this has increased the demand, nation-wide, for internet-based continuing education course material.Most professionals have more than enough expertise in their field to become an author. They just may not realize it. Writing these continuing education courses can be both rewarding and profitable. With a little up-front work an author can reap the rewards of his or her courses for years to come with little or no effort. Simply write a course for one or more professions, submit it to an online continuing education provider and sit back and collect your “mailbox money.” Typically, authors receive 20%, even 30%, of the sale of each course. While each provider sets the price of each course the more successful and reputable providers can charge up to $ 35 or $ 40 dollars for each one-hour course. That translates into a commission of $ 7 to $ 12 dollars to the author each and every time the course is sold! With hundreds of thousands of licensed professionals across the country constantly in search of fresh, interesting online continuing education material the potential market for your courses is huge.Most courses are from one to three hours in length and can target more than one profession. For instance, a course about the use of heavy timbers in architectural design can qualify for continuing education credit not only for architects, but for engineers and interior designers as well, thus tripling your potential audience. A one-hour course is usually between 12 to 15 pages in a default Microsoft Word document, or about 6000 words. There is generally a test at the end of each course consisting of ten or more true/false and multiple choice questions pertaining to the course content.If you are a state licensed professional you have an excellent opportunity to earn substantial extra income by becoming a continuing education author by sharing your expertise and experience with others. In my next article I will discuss in more detail just how to go about doing it.