5 Trending Tracks: Continuing Education

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Continuing Education programs are changing how our nation learns. These programs open doors for individuals who cannot afford or do not have time to complete a traditional four-year degree, help degree holders advance or change their career paths, and provide personal enrichment classes to enhance quality of life.

According to Lisa Parker, Director of Alumni, Professional and Personal Enrichment at Michigan State University, workplace productivity is at an all-time high. Thus, employed individuals have less time to learn new skills. Continuing Education courses address this issue.

A growing number of schools, such as Northwood University in Midland, offer online and hybrid undergraduate and adult degree programs. The Department of Education predicts the nontraditional student segment will grow faster than its traditional education counterpart.

As delineated in The New York Times, by 2018 more than one million new jobs will be created. Continuing Education programs focus on the fields and professions that are expanding fastest and offer the most promising job security. Here are five top areas of focus within this relatively new system of learning.

As our population ages, the healthcare industry grows in kind. Due to this growth, responsibilities that normally flowed to physicians are increasingly being given to nurses.

Grand Valley State University is experiencing a nursing boom. Simone Jonaitis, Executive Director for GVSU's Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, said the school's most in-demand healthcare program is one that allows registered nurses to obtain a baccalaureate degree in nursing. Increasingly, healthcare providers are requiring this four-year degree.

Nationwide, other popular healthcare related programs include those that train midwives, nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists. Continuing Education classes in medical administration, billing, and transcription are also prevalent.

Many employed individuals with an associate degree in business want to obtain their bachelor's degree, but lack the time to do so. To aid in this endeavor, schools such as Ferris State University offer flexible online degree-completion programs in business administration.

Graduate business students experience the same time crunch. In addition to traditional Master of Business Administration courses, schools offer online or Executive MBA weekend programs for these business employees. Deb Thalner, Executive Director of Online Learning at Ferris State University, notes most of the school's online MBA students focus on project management.

To read more about areas of study with strong projected job growth, click here to read Lisa Stickler's article in its entirety in the digital edition of West Michigan Woman Magazine.


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