Plenty of adults decide to go back to school and continue their education. From learning new skills, working on hobbies, or even boosting their careers, the reasons are endless.
But traditional degree programs aren’t for everyone. It’s important to remember that continuing education is not a one-size-fits-all process. And some of us have no need to spend thousands of dollars in tuition and many hours on campus for a degree.
If you have learning a new skill or studying a topic on your bucket list, you should know that lots of colleges offer non-credit courses that could be a good option. If you’re not very familiar with this route, here are the basics.
Non-Credit Courses vs. Credit Courses
Credit courses are intended for students working towards a technical/career certificate or degree. As you take classes, the credits accumulate and can also be transferred if you wish to attend another college or university. Those hoping to enter the program have to be admitted as a “credit” student, and there are entrance requirements that must be met.
However, non-credit courses are intended for people who are learning for personal or professional interest, but who are not working toward a degree. And while non-credit students can take advantage of many college services, non-credit enrollment status doesn’t require a formal admission process and there are no formal entrance requirements.
Benefits of Non-Credit Courses
We should never stop learning because there is always an opportunity to broaden our horizons. These courses offer personal development and intellectual growth opportunities. By continuing to learn, even as an adult, we are expanding our minds and learning new information.
If there is a skill that you’ve always wanted to try or a hobby that you’d like to become better at, taking classes from professionals is the best way. Without the pressure to earn credits, these non-credit courses don’t have the stress of graded assignments, deadlines, and academic consequences of failure. Students can just enjoy the academic environment as they research topics for fun.
Continuing Education Can Also Help Your Career
Even though non-credit classes won’t help you earn a degree, they will provide a ton of benefits to your work life.
Taking classes will keep you current in your field by helping you stay on top of the latest developments and new technologies. You’ll also likely find that this will help improve your job performance, as new information can help boost your productivity.
On top of that, sharpening your skills can make you more marketable. In a competitive job market, your continuing education could be just the thing you need to have an edge over other candidates. Even if you’re perfectly happy with your current job, this could help you in the future with progressing your career to the next level.
All in all, there’s really no reason not to further your learning with non-credit courses. They are a great way to learn in an academic environment, without the added pressure of a traditional certificate or degree program.