How to Love Lifelong Learning: Five Options for Continuing Education

Continuing education is part of lifelong learning — and we are never done! Whether you have been out of school for years, or you are looking for the next educational experience after finishing your MBA, learning opportunities are everywhere. This post reviews five different types of continuing education that professionals often choose to engage with.

  • Training and Seminars: From a one-day seminar to a full month immersive leadership program, training is a common type of continuing education program that organizations fund, usually for practical and near-term skills development.
  • Academic Courses: Many professionals find great continuing education value through local community colleges, vocational schools or universities. Most institutions allow people to take classes without being enrolled in a degree program.
  • Certification Programs: Maybe you just finished a degree program but want to demonstrate your ability to practical apply your skills. Additional certifications — such as a project management certification for a recent MBA, a technical programming certification for a business major or a customer service certification for an administrative professional — extend existing skill sets and provide an additional credential that benefits both the employee and the employer.
  • Conferences: Well-managed and well-structured conferences provide valuable continuing education in a specific subject area — often bringing together professionals in a specialized field to share best practices or advances in a field. Technical product companies also hold conferences, so customers can learn from each other.
  • Self-Study: Self-paced or live webinars, professional journals and books also provide important sources of knowledge and continuing education for motivated professionals. Some certifications, such as the Project Management Professional® certification, allow professionals to receive educational credits for these self-guided activities.

The best continuing education supports both the employee’s and organization’s needs. With options ranging from a one-hour event to a one-year course, there are many pathways to success.