Professional Development

Advancing your career with online continuing education

Written by Guest Contributor

Have you ever felt like you’ve missed out on an incredible job opportunity because you weren’t qualified for the position? It seems that modern job listings feature extensive lists of requirements for candidates, which often includes substantial education demands.

However, you should never let an opportunity pass you by simply because it requires a certain level of degree or certification. It’s easy to utilize e-learning to fill your knowledge gaps and broaden your skillset — without having to go back to college.

First, it’s crucial to understand the difference between a degree and a certification. A degree is an academic rank granted by a college or university after an individual has completed the required coursework. A certification is a document that confirms an achievement and does not have to be granted by an accredited school.

Continuing education refers to any type of post-secondary learning, whether or not a degree or certificate is presented upon completion. The goal of continuing education is to broaden and diversify one’s knowledge of a particular topic.

But does online continuing education actually affect your ability to advance your career?

In short: yes. Hiring managers care about candidates’ willingness to learn and develop. Not only does continuing education prove your eagerness for learning, but it will also make you worth more than your less-educated peers. According to PayScale, there are five main factors hiring managers take into consideration when determining salary during the hiring process:

  • The organization’s reputation
  • Supply and demand of talent
  • Employee’s job performance
  • Cost of living
  • Experience and education

Companies value educated employees because these individuals are highly knowledgeable in niche subject matters and often have a wide range of skills. The more skills an employee has, the more valuable they are to an organization.

Luckily, you don’t have to go back to college to be considered a candidate for a job. Investing your time into continuing education will show hiring managers that you take your specific skill set or niche seriously.  Professional certifications, training programs, webinars, and networking events can boost your resume and prepare you for a more advanced role.

1. Free online courses

Online courses and webinars have made continuing education accessible and convenient. The ability to take courses online means professionals can sit down to learn on their schedule without worrying about having to physically show up for a class.

Many organizations offer free certificates to learn basic skills. Google, for instance, provides complimentary courses to learn a range of skills across their product suite. This will show hiring managers you have the proper training for important skills.

2. Advanced classes and certifications

Even with the vast amount of free information online, paid courses are still necessary in order to develop advanced skills. Some professionals, such as attorneys, are required to take continuing legal education courses to maintain active licenses.

Receiving a certification in a specific topic will boost your resume and make you stand out among the competition, even if your industry does not require you to fulfill annual course hours.

3. Conferences or events

Attending an event and networking with other professionals can reflect your dedication to learning. Conferences and events are often held in major cities but usually provide online options for those joining remotely.

Though you may not receive a formal certificate of attendance, you can include relevant conferences and presentations you’ve attended to your resume. This shows hiring managers that you are actively involved in your industry’s happenings.

Professionals do not need to take on the burden of pursuing a Master’s degree or Doctorate in order to learn new skills and broaden their job opportunities. Online continuing education allows flexibility to your schedule and is a convenient way to learn important skills. Simply dedicating time to taking courses or investing in a valuable continuing education program will help take your career to the next level.

About the Author:
Brittany K. King is the content marketing specialist for Lorman Education Services. A graduate of Pace University in New York with a degree in English Language & Literature, Brittany is passionate about education, development, and all things pop culture. She currently lives in Chicago with her dog and two cats. 

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Guest Contributor