Continuing education usually refers to any form of post high school education, used to earn additional certification or as a requirement to maintain a professional license. This form of education is entirely meant for individuals who already have degrees.
Continuing education can take the form of online degree or certificate courses, seminars, conferences, workshops or self-guided study. Unlike other types of education, continuing education has no specific format or duration. Some programs may take a day while others span several weeks or months.
Students pursuing continuing studies for personal advancement usually do not receive college credits as the courses are not considered part of the formal training. Attending a conference or seminar that is open to the public, for example, does not give you any education credits.
Continuing education programs enable people who have already earned a college level degree to pursue additional education or advanced training.
Many careers require individuals to enroll for continuing study from time to time so as to keep up with emerging development in the field. This form of learning is referred to as mandatory continuing education.
Because of the highly competitive job market, professionals whose careers do not require continuing education often undertake it as a means to make themselves more marketable to potential employers.
Thanks to the advancement of the Internet technology, it is possible to complete continuing education online from the comfort of your office or home - providing you have a computer and reliable Internet connection.
Online continuing education programs are ideal for individuals who need an extremely flexible learning schedule. The main advantage of these online programs is the fact that student's can access them during their free time - meaning professionals don't have to give up their full time jobs to pursue higher education.
These programs usually provide the student with all the materials needed to complete a certain course: books, lecture notes etc. The students are supposed to complete the coursework at their own leisure, including sitting for the final exam.
While most online programs are entirely based online, some programs provide a low-residency format where most of the work is completed online, but the students are expected to go to the college for a week or two every semester to get practical experience and network with their faculties and peers.