In today's fast-paced society, a continuing education certificate program may answer the need to stay on top of all of the new developments in the career world. Selecting a personalized program to fit a particular path or career is a step-by-step process with a broad range of possibilities and options.
One of the first questions to answer is what type of continuing education is best. Some courses simply help the student to acquire practical skills to complement a former course of study. These newly acquired skills are highly valued in the world of industry, even though they may have been obtained through a non-accredited university. Other programs offer college credit plus a certificate; some award only the certificate. Of equal importance is the selection of the area of study. Courses are as varied as real estate, information technology, biotechnology, education, nursing, business, science, math, ecology, and human rights. Some classes are geared more toward life-long learning than a specific academic category. Both the type of program and the choice of courses depend on the purpose for continuing education. Does the learner desire to qualify for a new job, change careers, get a promotion, stay updated on new developments within the present career, or explore an entirely new field? Perhaps the adult student wants to earn credits for re-certification in the educational field, stimulate professional growth, or just deepen an area of personal interest. Most programs ensure that the individual will gain the knowledge and skills needed, plus provide a credential valued in the work place.
Several options are available for the learning format of the course, which is the third step in the process of customizing an educational program. The adult selects a strategy suited to his schedule and learning style: online learning, on-campus programs, or blended courses that combine biweekly or monthly classroom experiences on campus with online course material that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Both types may include networking with other students and with professors. Some courses start quarterly; others may begin every few weeks. Often the instructors, whether in the classroom or online, hold advanced degrees and have experience in the fields that they teach. Building an adult education certificate program around the type of course needed, area of study chosen and personal classroom preference is one way for the student to respond to the current demand for trained, updated professionals who have the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in today's world.