Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Benefits of a "non-credit" Education

I've been looking at ways to expand my current work skill-set. I came across this website, which offers many different kinds of courses on-line:

Online Courses:

Comprehensive online course in a convenient six-week format

Expert instructors lead each course

Engaging student discussion areas

New sessions starting monthly

Confirmation of completion awarded with passing score

These courses are non-college-credit courses, so they cost much less. You do get a certificate of completion afterwards, so if you use them to learn business skills, you have something to show that you studied the material and passed the exam. You just can't apply it toward college credit, which is fine if you aren't aiming for a degree.

You can take these courses directly from the website. But it's worth noting that Ed2go also has partnerships with colleges, where the college offers these courses as part of the college's own website. My local community college does this, and cost of taking courses through them is more than 1/3 cheaper than taking courses directly from Ed2go.

The courses I looked at took six weeks to complete, with an additional two week grace period to complete the work and take the completion exam.

If the courses that Ed2go.com offers are not substantial enough for you, they have a link on the lower right side of their front page, to more substantial offerings:

Online Career Training Programs:

Learn in-demand skills recognized by employers

Start anytime - work at your own pace and complete in 3 to 6 months

Textbooks and learning materials are included

Support offered via phone, email, or live chat 7 days a week

Expert instructor assistance provided

These are also non-credit courses, but more specifically oriented toward job goals. For instance, their Bookkeeping course is for preparing the student to take a national exam to become a certified bookkeeper. Their Pharmacy Technician course prepares the student to take the Certified Pharmacy Technician's exam. Etc.

The Gatlin website is also run by Ed2go, but these more advanced courses are not offered directly by Gatlin or Ed2go; they must be taken via a participating partner school. They have a page where you can type in your zipcode, and it will show you the nearest partner school to you.

Even so, since these courses are on-line, you can usually register with the partner-school for the courses without ever having to set foot on their physical campus.

These courses are typically 3 to 6 months long, you can do them when it's convenient for you, and if you don't finish by the end of the course, you can get a 6 month extension to compete it, free of cost.

I like this a lot, because you can take the courses at your own pace, you get the benefit of the knowledge and a certificate to prove that you did the work, but you don't have to go into debt borrowing money to earn college credits that you may not want or need.

For anyone who is just looking to increase their job skills, I'd say it's definitely worth checking out.


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