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How do I Choose the Best Online Continuing Education Courses?

Barb Fitzgerald-Malone
Barb Fitzgerald-Malone

Continuing education is an expansive field that offers something for everyone from non-traditional students to professionals who are working to maintain licensing standards or otherwise advance their education within their chosen field. Continuing education once required participants to live near a community college or university, enroll in long-distance correspondence courses by mail, or schedule long weekends to attend conferences that could earn them continuing education credits. Many people in the early 21st century, however, enroll in online continuing education courses and study from the comfort of their own home, often at their own pace.

There are many types of online continuing education courses. One way to narrow down your options is to start with the ones that meet your most important need. That could be fulfilling continuing education requirements for keeping your professional license up to date or simply being a class on a topic of interest to you.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

Once you’ve narrowed it down that far, figure out how much time you have to devote to your online studies and when. Many online continuing education courses have recorded lectures that allow you to “sit in” on your class by watching the lecture video online at a time that’s good for you. Others require specific online meeting times for group discussion. Deciding whether you need complete flexibility or can be available when required can further narrow your course options.

Next, think about how much you can afford to pay for online continuing education courses — either for the fun of learning or to earn a degree that could help you advance in your career — and further narrow your choices to those courses that fall within that price range. You should also think about whether the time is right for you to take online continuing education courses. The support of friends and family can go a long way to making the effort successful, while too many other claims on your time can make it less so. Talking to others who have taken online continuing education courses also can help you decide what will work best for you.

Going back to school can be a daunting task. Making sure you’re prepared by doing the proper research and knowing exactly what you want in online continuing education courses can make the task less daunting. Choose wisely, and you can study in peace, confident that you have chosen the best online continuing education courses for you.

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