Continuing Education 2: Online Career Training

Career training within adult continuing education can be broadly defined any self-contained training program designed to help adult learners with no prior knowledge of the field enter a career for which a college degree either doesn't exist, isn't required, or isn't necessarily the most efficient means of entry.

Typically, adult continuing education career training courses are taught in classroom settings by industry professionals with years of experience. However, certain career training programs may be available either entirely or partially online, making them much more flexible and convenient for working professionals or other busy prospective students. Many professional organizations have also begun offering professional development continuing education credits (CEUs) online as well.

Extremely hands-on professions like welder, chef, or automotive technician will almost never be available online, or at least not in their entirety.

Entirely Online

As Internet technology advances, more and more career training courses are becoming available entirely online. Offerings are constantly expanding, and due to the online nature of these courses, location doesn't necessarily have to be a limiting factor when making a decision. Here are just a few examples of online training programs you will find:

  • Medical transcription, coding, and billing all rely strongly on skills that can be developed independently and require only a basic computer and no specialized equipment or other hands-on interaction.
  • Information technology-related courses or certificates may also be attainable at home.
  • Legal/document-related careers in real estate or insurance depend heavily on outside reading and independent study to begin with, so professional organizations in these fields have begun offering training courses online to reach new demographics.
  • Bookkeeping/accounting programs taught entirely online are also not unheard of.

Partially Online

Some career training programs, while being too hands-on to allow an entirely online course of study, have started to realize the potential of offering part of their curriculum online with the remainder taught in-person in an educational setting. Good examples of this include the medical professions.

A medical assistant class might necessarily contain several sections of medical terminology, situations in laws and ethics, and anatomy and physiology classes to lay the foundation for in-class, hands-on training. Once these prerequisite courses have been completed, students would register for in-person classes. The combination of real world and virtual classes would yield a complete program. It's even possible for such heavily hands-on certificate programs as automotive technician to include some online modules, primarily focused on terminology and theory, but they will necessarily culminate in a series of real-world classes to develop the familiarity with actual automobiles that will be necessary for graduates to obtain employment after the class is over.

Professional Development

Though not specifically a type of online career training, professional development is a related variety of adult education wherein professionals in certain fields are required to take approved classes on a regular basis in order to maintain the validity of their credentials. Teachers, real estate and insurance professionals, and architects are just a few of the professionals requiring CEUs related to their respective fields.

A teacher seeking CEUs may take an online language learning course to help diversify their communications skills. A real estate agent unfamiliar with commercial rentals may take a course about working with small business owners offered online by their local association of realtors. Professional organizations have turned to the Internet more and more over the years in order to make CEUs more easily available to their members. Professionals are turning to the Internet more and more because it is convenient and can accommodate their busy schedules.

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