Advancing your education while working has become increasingly popular in the last few years, with online continuing education one of the fastest growing ways to improve your knowledge and skills while continuing to earn a living. In fact, most employers offer so many incentives for continuing education that over thirty million adults pursue some form of continuing education annually, with online courses making up a significant portion of those students.
If you are currently working and have been hesitant to return to school because you feel like you can’t afford the time or money to get an advanced degree or certificate, think again. Today’s businesses increasingly expect employees to push themselves to excel through not only their performance at work but through education and learning opportunities outside of the office or workplace.
Some of the reasons that today’s professionals are pursuing online continuing education include the convenience and the reduced cost. Enrolling in an online continuing education program saves you time. You can schedule your work according to your own schedule and don’t have to figure in commuting times or plan around someone else’s schedule. The cost savings is obvious. There is no commuting, no room and board, even if you are attending full-time via the Internet. A less subtle advantage can be that, if your employer is open to the idea, he may be more open to reimbursing you for educational expenses if you can show that you’ve taken a cost savings into consideration.
How Continuing Education Contributes to Success
It is easy to see why so many people who are already working bother to take more classes and get a specialized or advanced degree. It’s simple, in today’s rapidly changing marketplace, you have to have an edge to succeed and get ahead.
In certain fields, including the legal, information technology, criminal justice and health care fields, advanced are always being made. After a few years, even the most recent information can seem a bit stale. Taking new courses will introduce you to new trends, practices and protocols. With online continuing education, you can keep abreast of the most recent advancements in your field, making you a real asset.
Many industries expect employees to periodically update their credentials or licensing. Periodically taking courses to brush up on your knowledge will ensure you can pass any licensing exams with flying colors.
Higher education, especially when it is specialized, is a sign of expertise. You’ll advance more quickly in almost any industry if you can offer specialized knowledge that others don’t have. It will also make you the “go to” person who will be remembered at promotion time.
Some people worry that continuing their education with an online college or university may not be viewed as being as prestigious or impressive as doing so through a more traditional, physical campus. While this was a feeling with some employers two decades ago, recent studies reveal that this perception is long gone. In fact, today employers see no difference at all between a degree conferred by an online continuing education institution and a physical school as long as both are properly accredited. Some employers, however, do still favor an online degree that comes from a college that also has physical campuses since they have the same curriculum and demanding programs.
With over 2.6 million adults taking online classes in the fall of 2004 alone (and the number growing every year), it may be time for you to consider online continuing education.