Are you stuck in a rut at work, doing the same job year after year with little or no hope of moving up the ladder? Do you constantly wish you could switch gears midway through your career in pursuit of that dream job? Are you the idealist who believes education is a continuous process and has an undying thirst for knowledge or the realist who just wants that promotion and the consequent increase in salary?
The situations described above may be different, but the solution to all of them is one – continuing education. The term continuing education, which includes degree credit courses amongst many other types of learning activities, is generally used to refer to education that is imparted to students who are older than the traditional age of university-going students.
According to a national survey of students in continuing education, the adult learners in both two-year and four-year college degree programs were considerably older than traditional students.
In its latest higher education projection, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reported that the total enrollment of students who are 35 years or older in a degree granting institutions is expected to increase 7 percent between 2005 and 2016.
One of the important reasons for continuing education could be the state of the economy. According to an annual report by Sloan Consortium, a group of organizations dedicated to quality online education, bad economic times often have a good impact on education. It pushes working professionals to enhance their skills not just to retain their current jobs, but also to improve their chances of advancing as well as increase their employability.
Some of the common benefits of continuing education are:
- By enrolling in advanced or graduate degrees in their field, adults improve their chances of climbing up the corporate ladder and an increase in salary. There are certain specialized roles, such as nursing administration, which usually require professionals to obtain advanced degrees.
- Many people pursue an education to enhance their skills and position themselves favorably in the job market.
- Sometimes, continuing education becomes necessary if you want to switch careers and you don’t have the qualification, training, or experience to enter the new profession of your choice.
- Some adults pursue education because they have a hunger for learning. For them, education is a lifelong quest. Some pursue degree programs related to their professions, while others choose fields that they are interested in, which may or may not be related to their professions.
- For some, the reasons for continuing education have nothing to do with learning or earning. They look at it as something which will improve their image amongst friends and family.
- Successfully completing continuing education courses is known to have a positive impact on people’s self-esteem and quality of life.
Education may be a necessity for some and a passion for others. But the fact remains that for many, it may not be possible to give up a full-time job for continuing education. That’s where online degrees and distance learning programs are helpful – as they allow working adults to learn and earn at the same time.
A wise old man (or woman) once said that it’s never too late to go back to school. The greatest tribute to that age-old adage is being paid by the working adult population of our country that fights all odds to go back to school!