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When formal, compulsory education draws to a close many students who are not going to a four-year university or college choose alternative options for continuing their education. Some students might also decide at the time of graduation that they would rather travel, begin working, start a family, or have other experiences in lieu of formal college education.
One of the great benefits of today’s technology is that educational opportunities are now more accessible, flexible, and affordable than ever. It is never too late to go back to school, and now people who might not have been able to spend hours on a traditional college campus—like full-time employees or stay-at-home moms, for example—have the ability to learn via online, portable module-type, or hybrid programs that fit right in with a busy schedule. Without this technology, I certainly would not have been able to get my holistic nutrition certification and continue my own post-graduate education.
Expanding one’s knowledge used to be considered only a vehicle for professional advancement, but in truth it can serve several other purposes. New studies which focus on the benefits of further education reveal that individuals who choose to continue their education after high school gain increased knowledge and professional skills as well as experiencing improvements in personal growth and development.
Continuing education has been proven to help job seekers increase their earning potential: in the United Kingdom, a recently published government report entitled The Impact of Further Education Learning noted that 35 percent of men and 29 percent of women who participated in continuing education programs got better jobs as a direct result of these programs. Other benefits included promotions and increased job satisfaction. Earnings increased for students who had completed further education courses, as did the prospects for longer-term financial gain.
The vast majority of individuals who complete further education courses experience an increase in self-confidence and self esteem. These individuals tend to stay more active and make better use of their spare time, experiencing and enjoying an improved quality of life. They are also more likely to value the advantages of continuing education (having encountered them directly), and to consider further training or skills development should they feel the need or desire to learn more in the future.
People who are more confident about their skills feel they have more to contribute to society, and increased voluntary participation in community activities is a particularly notable result of further education and training. The same is true when it comes to helping children with schoolwork, as new knowledge gained about how learning works often boosts the ability to communicate more effectively with children as well as with other adults, including employers and employees.
I can tell you from personal experience that if my mind was not kept sharp due to my own involvement in continuing education, there would be no way I’d be able to effectively help my own kids with their homework. Seriously, they do not teach subjects like basic arithmetic the way they did when I was a kid! If my mind was still stuck in mommy brain mode, helping my daughter figure this stuff out would be a lot more challenging for us both.
Better knowledge and improved skills
Certain continuing education courses, such as those associated with a specific career, have the advantage of enhancing knowledge in a specific area and teaching associated skills. In many cases, these courses will also result in formal, widely recognized qualifications and certifications. For example, the role of medical assistant is one that is increasingly in demand. For example, in Florida, the Miami Medical Assistant degree course attracts a lot of attention from those who realize that qualified healthcare workers are very much sought after. This course teaches students to handle both administrative and clinical duties, enabling them to become very versatile members of the medical profession.
My own education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® taught me not just nutritional/dietary theories and coaching skills, but also valuable practical business and marketing skills that I never learned from my traditional college education.
Better recognition by employers
One of the most encouraging outcomes noted by those who have studied the impact of further and continuing education is the fact that employers are now taking the qualifications, endorsements, and certificates that result from these courses very seriously. Employers are noticing the enhanced motivation and positive attitude of students who have completed further education courses and are keen to put these to good use. Employers are also increasingly inclined to use further or continuing education courses to teach their existing workforce additional skills, regarding this as a cost-effective route to improving overall job performance.
With so many obvious benefits, further education offers a positive, effective way of addressing modern day skills shortages as well as underperformance in key employment areas. It also has opened up a whole realm of possibilities to people who might not have had the opportunity or desire to attend a traditional college degree program.
I am a lifelong learner and I am proud of it! This world has so much to offer, and education is an important gateway so people can live happier, more successful, and more fulfilled lives.