The decision to launch into a continuing education programs is a tough one, attended by so many variables, factors, financials, persons, problems, situations, outcomes, costs, benefits, results, and consequences. In the end, you may end up deciding against continuing education, if for no other reason than because the decision is so hard to make. At this point, you need simplicity and objectivity. Here are five factors to consider as you evaluate and decide on your continuing education program.
- Proximity: Like buying a house, one important factor in deciding on a continuing education is the location factor. Location is important, especially since continuing education means a long-term commitment and a lot of money. Can you afford to uproot, quit a job, sell a house, rent another one, transfer the children’s schools, etc., to get an education? Thankfully, many schools now offer online continuing education programs, which makes this factor less of a showstopper than it used to be.
- Reputability: A school’s reputation is important. A good reputation ensures that the school has built a solid credibility in the world of academia and professional achievement. Keep in mind that a school’s reputation is built on more than just its sport team’s performance.
- Affordability: For continuing education to be “affordable” does not mean that it is “inexpensive.” Instead, consider your education to be an investment. Investments gain returns. Well-made investments gain big returns. Even a big-name expensive school can be affordable when considered in this light. You should also be familiar with the variety of grants, loans and scholarships that may be available to you.
- Flexibility: An adult in a continuing education program is far different than a high school grad going to college. Playing the hardball game of real life while pursuing continuing education is a factor to consider. Is the school flexible with the times that classes are offered? If you are considering an online degree program, the question is easily answered. Otherwise, you should find out how your current schedule may or may not mesh with a class schedule.
- Future ability: Finally, does the continuing education program that you are considering have good results to show? In other words, if a school is considered successful, it is only because their graduates can get jobs—good ones—in short order. It’s not hard to find an answer to this question. Online forums, casual interviews, and a modicum of research will tell you what you need to know.
Your goal is to get into a continuing education program that will get you a good career. Asking the right questions will get you the right answers, and lead you toward the continuing education program that is right for you.