Continuing education has been a standard for technology and healthcare workers to keep knowledge and skills current in the midst of such rapidly changing fields. However, as a result of transitioning to a global economy, new digital technologies, and telecommunications advancements, continuing education has become imperative for employability in a great many fields today. Our economy is now one that values an educated workforce over and uneducated one. Employers are now seeking workers that are both educated and skilled, therefore the demand for continuing education has doubled.
Continuing education classes are typically taken by adults who have finished high school or college and already begun their careers. Usually classes are taken in the evenings by working people who want or need to learn a very specific topic to advance their career. There are two basic program types: degree-based programs and non-degree training or workforce development programs. Some careers require it in order to keep licensed. For instance, doctors, dentists and nurses will keep their licenses current or earn additional certifications. Accountants must keep up with tax code and regulation changes. Engineers and lawyers must stay current to industry regulations and laws. There are many fields where continuing education is key. Among them are criminal justice, sales, teaching, business, psychology, writing, sciences, and workforce training. Although many fields may require continuing education, employees who are not required, yet are ambitious enough to engage in it, are most likely to succeed in finding jobs in a competitive environment, or remain in jobs while many around them are being laid-off.
Competitive innovation is projected to produce hot jobs in the future. Technology forecaster Paul Saffo asserts that this is a brain race. It is no longer warm and fuzzy. Lifelong learning will be a forced march. If you stop learning, you will become unemployed and unemployable very quickly. A 2007 study by the Society for Human Resource Management concluded that Workers skills must evolve to meet the demands of an increasingly globalized, technology-driven workplace. Skills training and professional development can provide not only the skills needed by the organization now but can also address anticipated future needs. Continuing education is a mutually beneficial endeavor; the more knowledgeable the employees, the better the organization or institution will perform while employees gain an increase in wages and job satisfaction.
World renowned Internet marketing consultant Dave Synder advises on where to focus as you continue in knowledge, he writes. First, place your current knowledge status, and for Gods sake be honest with yourself. If you are new to the game then embrace that, if you are a ten year veteran embrace that. There are resources out there for every learning level. A good second step is to look into a local community college’s offerings. Rick Osborn, president of the Association for Continuing Higher Education, explains that, in general, community colleges have been more receptive to listening to what businesses want, and tailoring programs to those needs. It’s a new world we live in, business is anything but usual, but those with the drive to survive will prosper.