What are the types of continuing education programs that will advance your career?

There are multiple paths for continuing education courses that can suit different interests and goals. If you’re interested in continuing education, knowing the different continuing education options can help you find the best continuing education program for yourself.

Most people choose to pursue continuing education courses to advance their careers, learn new skills and more. In this article, we explain what continuing education is and provide a list of several types of continuing education programs, as well as highlight some tips for choosing between them so you can make the best decision.

What is continuing education?

Continuing education is a term that refers to a variety of types of post-secondary learning options, including degree programs, online courses, career training and more. Continuing education not only can help you advance your career by helping you gain skills and knowledge relevant to your industry but you can also include your continuing education experiences on your resume to show recruiters that you are willing to put in extra effort to learn and improve yourself. In the end lifelong learning provides a personal benefit and investment in your future and combing through all the different types will help navigate your decision.

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Here (in alpha order) are several types of continuing education:

Conferences and events

Attending professional conferences and events is another way to continue your education. Conferences and events can take place through employers, professional organizations and other entities in your industry.

Continuing education unit courses

A continuing education unit (CEU) is a credit unit that equates to 10 hours of a certification program. Therefore, CEU courses can be useful to professionals who need licenses or certifications. You can take a variety of CEU courses through academic institutions and online.

Courses Online

Attending courses online are another way to further your education. Utilizing a search engine you can find courses that suit your specific interests, budget, and goals. Often, you can work through online courses at your own pace.

Extension courses

Extension courses are courses that colleges and universities offer to people who are not enrolled as students. You can further your career, learn new skills, or work on your personal development by taking extension courses

Independent study

Pursuing an independent study are courses that you can design to fit your specific interests and goals. You can often work with a professor or another academic professional.

Language learning

Learning a language is another continuing education option and possible option for just enjoyment or other personal reasons. Knowing multiple languages is a high-valued career skill regarded across industries. Some ways to start learning a language are simply downloading a mobile app or signing up for an online course.

On-the-job training

Pursuing on-the-job training is additional training that you can complete after you get hired. On-the-job training can help you gain knowledge and learn new skills to apply to your current role and use throughout your career.

Professional certifications

Obtaining professional certifications can help you advance your career and learn new skills. You can also list your certifications on your resume to appeal to recruiters and expand your pool of job options.

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Professional license renewal

Completing training, classes and examinations necessary to renew your professional licenses will help you learn essential skills and knowledge for your profession. For example, if you work in education or health care, you may need to periodically complete additional training to renew your licenses.

Post-secondary degree programs

Earning a post-secondary degree is a type of continuing education that is key to advancing your career. Post-secondary degree programs include associate degrees, master’s degrees and other degree programs.


Working in academia, researching may be a valuable component of your role. By choosing to research a topic that relates to your career and specialties, you can then try to publish a paper or study. This can enhance your career credentials and expose you to more about your specialty.


Volunteering can also be an opportunity learn and to gain professional connections. Searching for a variety of volunteer opportunities will allow you to learn more about an industry, practice skills and gain experience.

Which course is best for career development?

Moving forward you might be wondering if hands-on courses are better than lectures and so on. Each learner is different and you have to choose what’s right for you- here are some tips that you can use to choose between the different types of continuing education courses:

  • Tip #1 – Assess your current interests?
    Choosing a type of continuing education might require you to list out what you are currently interested in. Search for courses that relate to your current hobbies, topics that interest you or skills that you want to develop. Over time these interests may develop and change.
  • Tip #2 Establish your goals
    Depending on your goals, you can choose courses that teach the skills necessary to succeed in your career field or courses that fulfill your personal interests. Including career, educational and personal goals, will help you choose the right type of continuing education.
  • Tip #3 Consider your schedule
    Timing is everting – If you work full time and have free time in the evening, you ideally want continuing education opportunities that you can attend or work on in the evenings.
  • Tip #4 Generate a savings
    If you are comfortable spending money on your continuing education generating savings will allow you budget and determine what kinds of continuing education you can afford. You can also search for free continuing education options, including community service and free online courses.
  • Tip #5 Research specific learning opportunities
    Lastly finding the right type of continuing education program for you might searchable because it is specific enough that searching for those specifics in your area will lead you to your next learning adventure.
What is the importance of extended learning experiences?

The importance and benefits from extended learning experiences surpass the need for just completing CEUs to maintain your license.

Continuing education will show a more advanced skill set which may help you get a promotion or even earn more money in your current role. Including it on your resume allows you to stand out from the competition and gives you an advantage when you’re looking for a new job. Perhaps the biggest benefit of continuing education is that it reminds you that learning is a lifelong pursuit and luckily if decide to learn a new language, or gain skills in a new hobby, you can.

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