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What Is Continuing Education?

Continuing education embodies the lifelong pursuit of knowledge, enhancing personal or professional skills beyond formal schooling. It's a commitment to growth, opening doors to new opportunities and keeping pace with an ever-evolving world. Whether through courses, workshops, or seminars, it's an investment in your future. Ready to expand your horizons? Discover how continuing education can redefine your potential.
Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco

Continuing education refers to any type of post-secondary education, used to either obtain additional certifications, or as credits required to maintain a license. Almost anybody can take continuing education courses for personal or professional enrichment; fitness trainers, nurses, and safety instructors are examples of professionals who fall into the second category. This type of education is aimed exclusively to adults who already possess a college or university degree.

That said, continuing education can still go over more “fundamental” elements of university-level fields. For example, if a student wishes to get a certificate in secondary education, they might need to take a calculus course. These courses also come with built-in support systems; to extend the previous example, institutions can connect students with calculus tutors or coaches to help them succeed in the classroom. As a result, students can ensure that they succeed even when tackling subjects that challenge them.

Some people continue their education by taking online classes at home.
Some people continue their education by taking online classes at home.

People take continuing education in the form of workshops, seminars, home-study or online courses, conferences, and hands-on training. There is no specific format or length for this type of program: some may take a weekend, while others can span weeks or even months. In the case of education for personal advancement only, students usually don't receive college credits, as the courses are not considered part of the standard educational system. A common characteristic to all continuing education programs is a registration process. Attending a conference or cultural event that is open to the general public does not give attendants any type of education credits, and cannot be considered formal training.

Some businesses pay for their employees' continuing education courses.
Some businesses pay for their employees' continuing education courses.

Mandatory continuing education is common in certain careers, such as dental and health professions. By law, certain individuals are required to keep up with modern developments, thus guaranteeing the best possible course of treatment for patients. Because of the highly competitive market, professionals who do not need require extra training often decide to undertake it anyway as a means of improving their resume and their chances for advancement. Critics of these type of programs argue that obtaining credit is becoming easier and easier, which means many professionals are attending workshops but not necessarily absorbing new information from them.

In some cases, continuing education may be necessary to keep up with advances in technology in one's field.
In some cases, continuing education may be necessary to keep up with advances in technology in one's field.

Some companies also pay for their employees to take ongoing education courses. These include both standard and on-site programs. While the first choice takes away from the free time of the worker, the second one allows employees to earn credits during work hours. People interested in enrolling on a continuing education program should first contact their university to see if special programs are available to graduates. Besides being a more convenient way to get started, a potential student can guarantee that the topics covered are in tune with their careers and interests.

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Discussion Comments

anon246732

It is pointless, unless you are going to be in law or medical, to pay an enormous tuition fee when you can obtain the same information the universities and colleges are giving you for a much cheaper price, and the knowledge you gain will stick with you unlike the facts that the universities and colleges are trying to program into you.

anon91589

i want to obtain masters degree. i have already completed my bachelors. now i want to change my subject, if it is possible, with continuing education in accounting.

anon72525

I would like to train in the field as a sonographer tech and go to school for a degree. Is this possible before going to school.

anon44715

i have a diploma as a physical therapy aide. what next?

lehongva1450

I am a high school teacher and have registered for a mediation training. The mediation training is 50 hours in duration. Do you think this qualifies as CEU's for education?

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    • Some people continue their education by taking online classes at home.
      By: a4stockphotos
      Some people continue their education by taking online classes at home.
    • Some businesses pay for their employees' continuing education courses.
      By: Nolte Lourens
      Some businesses pay for their employees' continuing education courses.
    • In some cases, continuing education may be necessary to keep up with advances in technology in one's field.
      By: Monkey Business
      In some cases, continuing education may be necessary to keep up with advances in technology in one's field.
    • Technology literacy is a major part of continuing education programs for older adults.
      By: 06photo
      Technology literacy is a major part of continuing education programs for older adults.
    • Individuals working in various trades may need to return to school to gain updated knowledge.
      By: Nomad_Soul
      Individuals working in various trades may need to return to school to gain updated knowledge.