The term “continuing education” is one that is used mainly in the United States and Canada to describe a category of courses designed for those seeking to advance their learning in one of a variety of specialties. These courses differ from Adult Basic Education in that they target those who have already graduated from high school and are interested in advancing their career or degree. These course types span a broad spectrum of topics and they are open to all adult learners. They are offered online or in person by colleges, universities, places of employment, government agencies and other academic institutions usually as part of a Lifelong Learning or certification program. The continuing education category can be divided into three types of courses based on their purpose.
Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Courses
These courses offer one unit of credit for every ten hours of participation in an accredited continuing education seminar. They are designed specifically for professionals who are seeking to maintain or achieve a certain career status. A specific number of CEU’s is often required in fields like health care, education, counseling, real estate, engineering, and finance in order for an employee to maintain a certain license or certification. Registration in and completion of CEU courses can ensure that you remain current in your field of expertise.
Continuing Education Credit Courses
These courses offer college credits that can be applied to some degree or certificate program. Non-traditional aged students can take these courses either by enrolling in some university program or completing the courses privately and later transferring the credits to an accredited institution. These courses are advanced and often focus on continuing a person’s education in a specific field rather than teaching the basic skills of a job.
Non-Credit Continuing Education Courses
Non-credit courses are those that may be required by some institution or company or may be taken for the sheer pleasure of learning something new. Since no college credits are attached, these courses may be offered by any institution and can be completed in one session or be part of a series. They may pertain to academic subjects like World History or English Composition or to something less formal like Operating a Digital Camera or Floral Arranging.Employers often use these courses to improve the skills of their workforce in an effort to reduce turnover and promote from within. Continuing education and training have also been found to improve employee morale, productivity and engagement.
In short, continuing education is for everyone. Whether you can use this method to advance in your current career or simply want to learn new things, the courses are reasonably priced and easily accessible. Courses can be completed on line or in a classroom setting and are varied enough to accommodate your skill level and schedule. Regardless of your reasons for participating, the goal is always to broaden your knowledge base and to support your growth. That alone seems to make continuing education worth your time and effort.