How To Further Your Education: A Short Guide to Continuing Education

student presses continuing education button on virtual screen

Unlike other forms of education, companies requiring continuing education are on the rise. With attitudes towards traditional graduate education changing, it's time to explore the alternatives. 

Adult continuing education is more accessible than you might think. Whether you're a recent graduate, looking to move up in your industry, or a career veteran wanting to keep up with the times, you need to explore more education.

Learn more about signing up for continuing education classes and how they will benefit you and your career.

Your Guide to Continuing Education

There are many types of continuing education classes. Depending on your industry and professional requirements, different formats will benefit you best. You may also need to consider the length of time, accessibility, and cost of whichever programs you consider.

Below are the different types of continuing education courses you can choose from. Included are their pros and cons, which may help you choose a particular format.

Kicking It Old School

For those looking for continuing education in a classroom, you're in luck. Your local college or university likely offers continuing education options for certain industries. If you want traditional coursework and exposure to the classical method of education, a brick and mortar school is for you.

This course is for you if:

  • Your career is in transition 
  • You want to go back to school
  • You want to invest in higher-paying skills
  • You prefer in-person interaction
  • You have a college or university near you

If these classes meet any of the above needs, you'll benefit from a direct line to your course instructor. This opens the door for networking opportunities, too. The downside is that you do have to pay campus fees and the salary of an in-person instructor.

Short Course

Short courses or workshops cut short the time (and potentially the cost) of traditional continuing education. If you need to fast track your professional development or want a quick overview of some continuing education courses, you should explore a short course.

You should consider taking a short course if:

  • You want to briefly overview a deeper topic
  • You want personal or professional enrichment
  • You're exploring career paths with low cost

Short course continuing education classes offer low cost, both financially and in time committed. This may be ideal for a team member or project development, too. The downside to this format is its brief nature and dependence on self-motivation.

Total Immersion

Another alternative to the commitment of even short course or extended workshop is total immersion. You can explore a seminar or conference for a brief, hypersaturated experience. Conferences or seminars offer multiple benefits.

You should look into a targeted seminar or conference for continuing education if:

  • You want great connection and networking opportunities
  • You are extroverted
  • You want an informal, educational experience
  • You want to save on time invested

This type of social learning merges some of the opportunities for a short course, but on your schedule. You get the added benefit of increased professional exposure, too.

The downside of a conference is cost. Typically, your cost increases with the kind of industry and person(s) presenting. Conferences have to pay their speakers; that cost comes out of your registration fees.

Digital Education

For an updated approach to continuing education, you might look into continuing education. Digital education comes in full-semester courses, short courses, workshops, seminars, and conferences. It works for several types of personal and professional development, with more flexibility.

You should look into taking digital education courses if:

  • You're looking to fill the gaps between jobs
  • You're looking beef up your resume
  • You want a specialized course not offered nearby
  • You want to save on the cost of campus fees
  • You want more than continuing education
  • You work full time and need flexibility 
  • You work better on your own
  • You want a self-paced course

These types of courses are formal, as they offer often certificates at the end of the course. Like traditional continuing education, these usually require formal education to qualify. You can really benefit from a program like this if you want a higher quality experience from an expert.

The downside to this course is the price. Although you might save on-campus fees, you still have to pay the professor. 

Free Resources

There are plenty of free resources available for professional enrichment that don't come with the price tag or other continuing education requirements. Of course, depending on your profession or motivation, you may very well need accredited continuing education courses. 

Free resources are a great option if:

  • You prioritize affordability
  • You want to enrich your personal or professional life
  • You want to learn more about the functions of other team members
  • You can't commit time or money for development
  • You are good at pushing yourself
  • You have lots of free time
  • You like videos over text-based learning

Free resources require an expert eye and patience to sift through. The biggest incentive is the fact that this type of continuing education is free. The downside is that you get what you don't pay for.

Make sure the course source is credible. You might not get access to experts, but you also might. There are plenty of free courses offered by accredited professionals who simply want to share their passion with the world.

Time to Get Started on Furthering Your Career

Now that you know the pros and cons of each type of continuing education, it's time to get started. You simply need to look for "continuing education near me" and you're likely to find tons of options.

When choosing a program, be sure to keep in mind your personal and professional goals. Each format offers its own advantages, but your company or budget may be the ultimate deciding factor.

To learn more about how to do things like further your career, check out the rest of our site for more helpful information. 


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