Where to Continue Your Education
Why continuing your education is so important
If you’ve been thinking about continuing your education but don’t want to enroll in a traditional college or graduate program, know that there are several other options. Not all continuing education has to be formal, but if having a degree or certificate will help you in your work, then that is certainly an option too. The good news is that there are numerous choices for where and how to keep learning.
About 25% of college students took at least one online class during their years of study, and some students completed all their coursework online. Because of the jump in interest and availability, many traditional institutions are offering online alternatives for at least some of their degree programs. For example, it’s possible to complete a USC online MBA or a University of Florida online bachelor of science in computer science. Most degree-granting online programs require a traditional application process. The only thing different about the classes is that they don’t meet face-to-face.
If you’re not necessarily degree seeking or want to try out a few classes in a new field of study, there are several MOOC (massive open online course) providers where you can skim through thousands of free courses on just about any topic you can think of. Many of the courses are taught by professors at leading universities like Harvard or MIT. The format is usually video based with ongoing discussion formats. There may be a fee if you’re interested in receiving a certificate of completion, but most of the classes are free to audit.
Community colleges are well known for their two-year technical degrees in the health care or IT fields; however, these two-year colleges often offer much more. Many offer career-advancing certification programs in a wide variety of fields such as welding, early childhood education, small engine maintenance or computer science. Often this type of college offers leisure learning courses too for personal enrichment such as yoga or CPR. Community colleges are usually not shy about offering developmental math and English classes for those who need to brush up on basic skills before moving on to other types of learning.
If you just love to learn, don’t forget to check out specialty programs in your area that focus on one type of skill. Many animal rescue organizations offer rehabilitation classes leading to certificates that allow you to care for injured birds for example. Most states offer volunteer master gardener programs run through a state university. To maintain your status, you agree to volunteer for a certain number of hours on local projects. Completing a specialty program is a great way to take a hobby to the next level.
There is hardly anyone who doesn’t wish they had learned a second language. If you’re itching to learn something new, language school is a great place to start. It has the real possibility of enhancing both your career and personal life. There is some disagreement as to the “best” language to learn, so let your reasons for study be your guide. If you know learning Chinese will help you increase business opportunities, you might choose differently than if your dream has always been to travel in Paris.
If you’re really just looking for an educational opportunity that feeds the soul, consider checking out the classes offered at the local art guild. Remember the pinch pot you made for your mom in 3rd grade? Maybe it’s time to up your pottery game. The great thing about taking a watercolor class, for example, is that you can’t really fail. You can paint for the sheer pleasure of it. Likewise, finding a dance studio that offers adult beginning classes in tap or modern dance can be very freeing. You can dance for the love of movement without worrying about grades or judgment.
Continuing your education at your own pace with your own interests in mind can be much more enjoyable than the years when you had to go to school. The different options now available are amazing, perhaps making it harder to choose just one course of study – so don’t!