By Sarah Stevenson
With budget cuts making an impact on the number of courses offered at public colleges and universities, more and more students are meeting their educational needs by getting their training online. In particular, private colleges and vocational schools are seeing an upswing in enrollment, as students choose flexible scheduling, streamlined coursework and increased availability of classes over the usually-cheaper tuition of a community college.
Classroom and Career Training Online Statistics
One only has to look at the numbers to see that specialized vocational education, distance or online learning, and other career-focused training is fast becoming a priority for both working students and adults retraining for new jobs. According to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 1,785,361 subbaccalaureate career and technical training degrees and certificates granted in 2010, the last year for which data exists.
Reasons to Pursue Career Training Online
In today's economic climate, increasing numbers of potential students are competing for classes at public institutions such as community colleges. At the same time, public colleges in many communities are filled to capacity, making it difficult to set a reliable schedule for completing a training program. It's a difficult dilemma for working students with limited hours to devote to school.
As a result, many students are turning to career-specific education through schools that offer accelerated vocational programs or training online. In an article in the Desert Sun, Brian Mendenhall, director of admissions at Kaplan College in Palm Springs, said, "We hear a lot from students that they can't get the classes they needed at the community college system."
Because many career-specific training programs do not involve the same general education requirements as those demanded by public colleges, vocational coursework is a more streamlined choice for those who want to focus exclusively on job-oriented training. For students who are retraining due to a recent job loss, the more quickly their education is completed, the sooner they can re-enter the job market. Alternatively, training online allows already-employed students to continue working while pursing their educational goals.
Types of Training Online
Those who decide to pursue training online will be able to find job-specific certificates and associate's degrees in a multitude of careers. If you have the inclination—and the time—for a full associate's degree program, you'll not only increase your earning potential and your employment opportunities, you'll also gain in-depth technical knowledge in your chosen field. And if you ever choose to re-enter college to earn a four-year degree, in many cases your associate's degree credits are transferable into a bachelor's degree program.
Online certification in a wide variety of fields is available from community colleges, technical schools, vocational schools, training online programs, and even four-year colleges. A certificate can train you for a specific job or help you gain additional skills that will be useful in your current career. In many cases, you can train for a job in as little as a year, in fields as diverse as accounting, early childhood education, and web design.
With the constant expansion of options for education, even those with limited time or financial resources are finding that their career goals are in fact attainable.