Continuing education

Continuing education (similar to further education in the United Kingdom and Ireland) is an all-encompassing term within a broad list of post-secondary learning activities and programs. The term is used mainly in the United States and Canada.

Recognized forms of post-secondary learning activities within the domain include: degree credit courses by non-traditional students, non-degree career training, college remediation, workforce training, and formal personal enrichment courses (both on-campus and online).[1][2]

General continuing education is similar to adult education, at least in being intended for adult learners, especially those beyond traditional undergraduate college or university age.

Frequently, in the United States and Canada continuing education courses are delivered through a division or school of continuing education of a college or university known sometimes as the university extension or extension school. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development argued, however, that continuing education should be "'fully integrated into institutional life rather than being often regarded as a separate and distinctive operation employing different staff' if it is to feed into mainstream programmes and be given the due recognition deserved by this type of provision".[3]

Georgetown University, Michigan State University, and the University of Denver have benefited from non-credit programs as it relates to strengthening partnerships with corporations and government agencies, helping to inform and shape the curriculum for degree programs, and generating revenue to support the academic enterprise.[4]


The Chautauqua Institution, originally the Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly, was founded in 1874 "as an educational experiment in out-of-school, vacation learning. It was successful and broadened almost immediately beyond courses for Sunday school teachers to include academic subjects, music, art and physical education."[5]

Cornell University was among higher education institutions that began offering university-based continuing education, primarily to teachers, through extension courses in the 1870s. As noted in the Cornell Era of February 16, 1877, the university offered a "Tour of the Great Lakes" program for "teachers and others" under the direction of Professor Theodore B. Comstock, head of Cornell's department of geology.[6]

The University of Wisconsin–Madison began its continuing education program in 1907.[7][8] The New School for Social Research, founded in 1919, was initially devoted to adult education.[9] In 1969, Empire State College, a unit of the State University of New York, was the first institution in the US to exclusively focus on providing higher education to adult learners. In 1976 the University of Florida created its own Division of Continuing Education and most courses were offered on evenings or weekends to accommodate the schedules of working students.[10]

For professionals

Within the domain of continuing education, professional continuing education is a specific learning activity generally characterized by the issuance of a certificate or continuing education units (CEU) for the purpose of documenting attendance at a designated seminar or course of instruction. Licensing bodies in a number of fields (such as teaching and healthcare) impose continuing education requirements on members who hold licenses to continue practicing a particular profession. These requirements are intended to encourage professionals to expand their foundations of knowledge and stay up-to-date on new developments.

Depending on the field, these requirements may be satisfied through college or university coursework, extension courses or conferences and seminars attendance. Although individual professions may have different standards, the most widely accepted standard, developed by the International Association for Continuing Education & Training, is that ten contact hours equals one Continuing Education Unit.[11] Not all professionals use the CEU convention. For example, the American Psychological Association accredits sponsors of continuing education and uses simply a CE approach. In contrast to the CEU, the CE credit is typically one CE credit for each hour of contact.

In the spring of 2009, Eduventures, a higher education consulting firm, released the results of a study that illustrated that the recession had made a significant impact on the views of prospective continuing education students. A survey of 1,500 adults who planned to enroll in a course or program within the next two years determined that while nearly half of respondents believed that the value of education had risen due to the recession, over two-thirds said the state of the economy had affected their plans to pursue continuing education.[12]

The World Bank's 2019 World Development Report on the future of work [13] explains that flexible learning opportunities at universities and adult learning programs that allow workers to retrain and retool are vital in order for labor markets to adjust to the future of work.

Method and format

The method of delivery of continuing education can include traditional types of classroom lectures and laboratories. However, many continuing education programs make heavy use of distance education, which not only includes independent study, but can also include videotaped material, broadcast programming or online education which has more recently dominated the distance learning community.

See also


  1. ^ McLean, S. (2007). "About us: Expressing the purpose of university continuing education in Canada". Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education. 33 (2): 65–86. doi:10.21225/D5CS3K.
  2. ^ Kirby, D.; Curran, V.; Hollett, A. (2009). "Non-formal adult learning programs at Canadian post-secondary institutions: Trends, issues, and practices". Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education. 35 (2): 63–86.
  3. ^ Schütze, Hans G.; Slowley, Maria, eds. (2012). Global Perspectives on Higher Education and Lifelong Learners. NY, New York: Routledge. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-415-67507-9.
  4. ^ Millard, E. (2014). { "Extra credit for non-credit"}, Template:University Business. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  5. ^ "Our History". Archived from the original on November 9, 2013.
  6. ^ "Cornell Era 1875-1876, February 16, 1877, p.131".
  7. ^ Schugurensky, Daniel. "1907: The 'Wisconsin Idea' Brings the University to the Community". History of Education: Selected Moments of the 20th Century. The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Retrieved March 1, 2009.
  8. ^ UW–Extension Chancellor's Office. "Highlight History of Extension in Wisconsin 1862 to 1999". About Us. The University of Wisconsin–Extension. Archived from the original on May 29, 2010. Retrieved March 1, 2009.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) New School Archives: Course Catalogs
  10. ^ UF Division of Continuing Education
  11. ^ "The IACET Standard: Continuing Education Units (CEUs)". International Association for Continuing Education and Training. Archived from the original on October 17, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  12. ^ [1].The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2, 2009
  13. ^ World Bank World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work.

Further reading

External links

BYU Division of Continuing Education

The BYU Division of Continuing Education (DCE) is a division of Brigham Young University (BYU) that oversees continuing education programs.

Columbia University School of Professional Studies

The School of Professional Studies is one of the schools comprising Columbia University. The School specializes in career advancement through professional and interdisciplinary education. It offers fifteen master's degrees, courses for advancement and graduate school preparation, certificate programs, summer courses, auditing and lifelong learning programs, high school programs in New York and abroad, and a program for learning English as a second language.

Continuing education unit

A continuing education unit (CEU) or continuing education credit (CEC) is a measure used in continuing education programs to assist the professional to maintain his or her license in their profession. Continuing education or professional development is required in many fields, including teachers, insurance professionals, interior designers/interior architects, lighting designers, architects, engineers, emergency management professionals, school administrators, educators, nurses, mental health professionals, psychologists and social workers. The continuing education unit is described as ten hours of participation in an education program.

The term CEU is not a trademarked term; therefore, any educational institution may use it to describe their courses. In this regard, there are no requirements for educator qualifications that are attached to each institutions courses when offering CEUs. There have been some bodies created which are attempting to standardize and accredit institutions using the term CEU, such as the International Association for Continuing Education and Training. Professions and industries usually regulate their approved continuing education within their bylaws and not one institute or accrediting body has become a standard to accept in this regard. Professionals should always consult their Association or regulating body prior to embarking on continuing education and not assume a CEU will be accepted as part of their professional development.

Continuing medical education

Continuing medical education (CME) refers to a specific form of continuing education (CE) that helps those in the medical field maintain competence and learn about new and developing areas of their field. These activities may take place as live events, written publications, online programs, audio, video, or other electronic media. Content for these programs is developed, reviewed, and delivered by faculty who are experts in their individual clinical areas. Similar to the process used in academic journals, any potentially conflicting financial relationships for faculty members must be both disclosed and resolved in a meaningful way. However, critics complain that drug and device manufacturers often use their financial sponsorship to bias CMEs towards marketing their own products.

Further education

Further education (often abbreviated FE) in the United Kingdom and Ireland is education in addition to that received at secondary school, that is distinct from the higher education (HE) offered in universities and other academic institutions. It may be at any level in compulsory secondary education, from entry to higher level qualifications such as awards, certificates, diplomas and other vocational, competency-based qualifications (including those previously known as NVQ/SVQs) through awarding organisations including City and Guilds, Edexcel (BTEC) and OCR. FE colleges may also offer HE qualifications such as HNC, HND, Foundation Degree or PGCE. The colleges are also a large provider of apprenticeships, where most of the training takes place in the apprentices' workplace with some day release into college.

FE in the United Kingdom is usually a means to attain an intermediate, advanced or follow-up qualification necessary to progress into HE, or to begin a specific career path, e.g. accountant, engineer or veterinary surgeon. It is available to students over 16 at colleges of Further Education, through work-based learning, or adult and community learning institutions.

In the United States and Canada, the term continuing education has a similar meaning.

Harvard Division of Continuing Education

The Division of Continuing Education is a part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) at Harvard University. It is responsible for various undergraduate, graduate and non-degree programs in fields such as liberal arts, information technology, social sciences, religion and environmental management. While non-degree programs have an open enrollment policy, degree programs do require a formal Harvard University admissions process, and full tuition on a per-course basis. Admitted students have full access to Harvard's faculty, laboratories, library system and facilities.

Institute of Continuing Education

The Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) is a constituent part of the University of Cambridge. The institute encourages people in all walks of life to take advantage of continuing education.

Master class

A master class is a class given to students of a particular discipline by an expert of that discipline—usually music, but also painting, drama, any of the arts, or on any other occasion where skills are being developed.

National Braille Association

The National Braille Association, Inc. is an American organization aiming to provide continuing education to those who prepare braille, and to provide braille materials to persons who are visually impaired. It is a member of the Braille Authority of North America.

The National Braille Association is a volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to providing transcriptionist training, production and distribution of Braille materials, including religious and secular music. Materials are available for a small fee to individuals. They also maintain a braille book bank.

National Education Mission

National Education Mission was allocated a budget of ₹385.72 billion (US$5.6 billion) in 2019 Interim Union Budget of India. The mission comprises four schemes viz. Sakshar Bharat, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha and teacher training programs.

New England Conservatory of Music

The New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in Boston, Massachusetts, is the oldest independent school of music in the United States, and it is widely recognized as one of the country's most distinguished music schools. NEC is especially known for its strings, piano, woodwinds, and brass departments, and its prestigious chamber music program.The conservatory, located on Huntington Avenue of the Arts near Boston Symphony Hall, is home each year to 750 students pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies along with 1400 more in its Preparatory School as well as the School of Continuing Education. At the collegiate level, NEC offers the Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts, as well as the Undergraduate Diploma, Graduate Diploma, and Artist Diploma. Also offered are five-year joint double-degree programs with Harvard University and Tufts University.NEC is the only music school in the United States designated as a National Historic Landmark and it is a pending Boston Landmark. Its primary concert hall, Jordan Hall, hosts approximately 1,000 concerts each year.

North Orange County Community College District

The North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD) is a community college district in Orange County, California that offers associate degrees and adult education certificates. It includes two colleges: Cypress College and Fullerton College.

Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

Oxford University Department for Continuing Education (OUDCE) is a department within the University of Oxford that provides continuing education mainly for part-time and mature students. It is located at Rewley House, Wellington Square, Oxford, England.

Some 15,000 students comprise the department, of which roughly 5,000 study for an Oxford University award or credit-bearing course. Other types of course offered by the department include online courses, short courses, weekly classes, day and weekend courses and summer schools.

The University of Oxford was one of the founders, in the late 19th century, of the so-called 'extension' movement, wherein universities began to offer educational opportunities to adult learners outside their traditional student base. The 19th Century saw an awakening social awareness to the needs of working-class people generally, and Oxford University signalled an educational responsibility to the general community by sending lecturers into towns and cities across Victorian England, bringing university culture to a diverse adult audience. The University of Oxford Standing Committee of the Delegacy of Local Examinations was established in 1878. The first of the early "Oxford Extension Lectures" was delivered in 1878. By 1893, Oxford University Extension Centres were bringing adult education to much of England and a few cities in Wales.In 1927, the university purchased Rewley House on Wellington Square in Oxford as the permanent base of what was then known as the "University of Oxford Delegacy for Extra-Mural Studies", and which later was renamed as the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. During the 1990s, Kellogg College was co-located here.

Ryerson University

Ryerson University (commonly referred to as Ryerson) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Its urban campus surrounds the Yonge-Dundas Square, located at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Toronto.

The majority of its buildings are in the blocks northeast of the Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto's Garden District. Ryerson's business school, Ted Rogers School of Management, is on the southwest end of the Yonge-Dundas Square, located on Bay Street, slightly north of Toronto's Financial District and is attached to the Toronto Eaton Centre. The university has expanded substantially in recent years with new buildings such as the Mattamy Athletic Centre, in the historical Maple Leaf Gardens arena, former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The university's administration services are also housed in 1 Dundas and 495 Yonge Street. The university is composed of 39,000+ undergraduate students, 2,600 graduate students, and 12,000 continuing education students. Ryerson is ranked 4th in Ontario and 10th in Canada by student enrollment.Ryerson University is home to Canada's largest undergraduate business school, the Ted Rogers School of Management, and Canada's third largest undergraduate engineering school, the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, as well as the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Communication & Design, Faculty of Community Services, and the Faculty of Science.

In 2017, the university was approved by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to begin working towards establishing a social justice and innovation focused law school. The school will mark the third law school in Toronto after York's Osgoode program and University of Toronto's Law degree.

In addition to offering full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate programs leading to Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degrees, the university also offers part-time degrees, distance education, and certificates through the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.

San Diego Continuing Education

San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE) is a public, noncredit educational institution in San Diego, California. It is part of the San Diego Community College District along with three two-year community colleges: San Diego City, San Diego Mesa and San Diego Miramar colleges. SDCE is administered by the San Diego Community College District and is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. SDCE is the nation’s largest separately-accredited noncredit continuing education institution.

SDCE offers noncredit career technical education; adult basic education and basic college preparation; life enrichment programs; general interest fee-based community education classes; and customized contract training classes designed for the business sector. Continuing Education serves approximately 40,000 students per year through its seven campuses: CE at Mesa College, CE at Miramar College, Cesar Chavez, the Educational Cultural Complex (ECC), Mid-City, North City and West City; it also conducts programming at various other off-campus sites throughout San Diego. SDCE is diverse: it is co-educational, multi-generational and multi-ethnic. It has a semester-based academic calendar with an added summer session as a regular part of its offerings.

Tyler Junior College

Tyler Junior College is a two-year community college in Tyler, Texas, United States. TJC is one of the largest community colleges in Texas, with an enrollment of more than 12,000 credit students each year with an additional 20,000 continuing education enrollments annually. Its West Campus includes continuing education and workforce training programs. The College also operates satellite centers in Jacksonville and Lindale. TJC offers Associate in Arts, Associate in Applied Science and Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees, two baccalaureate degrees, as well as tech prep and certificate programs.

University of Florida Division of Continuing Education

The University of Florida Distance & Continuing Education office is located on the East Campus in Gainesville, Florida. The division was founded over 40 years ago, but the University has been offering distance learning courses since 1919. Today, the Distance and Continuing Education (DCE) unit provides proactive support for the Distance Learning mission of the University of Florida by coordinating resources for developing and administering distance learning courses and programs. The primary goal of DCE is to assist academic units in extending the academic access and excellence beyond the traditional boundaries of the main UF campus.

University of Sydney Centre for Continuing Education

The Centre for Continuing Education (commonly referred to as CCE) is an adult education provider within the University of Sydney, Australia. It is located on Missenden Road in Newtown, an inner-west suburb, just south-west of the Sydney city centre. Extension lectures at the university were inaugurated in 1886, 36 years after the university's founding, making it Australia's longest running university continuing education program.

University of Washington Continuum College

University of Washington Continuum College, formerly Educational Outreach is the continuing education and professional development unit of the University of Washington (UW), in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 1912, UW Continuum College was originally the branch of the university offering correspondence courses. Today, this UW unit provides wide-ranging programs for non-traditional and lifelong learning students, including degree programs, certificate programs and select courses through UW Professional & Continuing Education, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), UW in the High School, UW Summer Quarter, UW Summer Youth, UW International & English Language Programs, Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning at the UW, and Conference Services. The programs provided are fee-based and self-sustaining and do not receive state funds for support.

In 2017, UW Continuum College released a new line of professional certificate programs called Career Accelerator, making their most popular programs available in four different formats: in-person, online, accelerated, and self-paced. Also in 2017, UW Continuum College created its first-ever scholarship program. The UW Certificate Scholarship covers 80 to 100 percent of the course fees for qualified applicants of select certificate programs offered through UW Professional & Continuing Education.

Offices for University of Washington Continuum College are located in the University District of Seattle near the UW campus, housed primarily in the UW Tower. The university purchased what is now the UW Tower from Safeco in 2006. Programs include offerings at the main UW campus and at various locations through UW Professional & Continuing Education.

The University of Washington Continuum College is directed by Vice Provost Rovy Branon. Branon oversees a staff of approximately 250 engaged in the development and administration of the UW's various fee-based programs.

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