6 Top Continuing Education Programs to Transform Your Career

 June 27, 2020
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Are you ready to advance your career — or start a new one entirely? Thanks to some of today’s top continuing education programs, it has never been easier to acquire marketable skills.

Many programs offer intensive professional training and connect you to a network of employers. Others simply allow you to learn about a subject you’re interested in.

And because many adult education classes are online, you can complete them wherever and whenever is convenient for you.

What to look for in continuing education programs
Top 6 continuing education programs
Are continuing education classes right for you?

What to look for in continuing education programs

Before spending your time and money, make sure a program is worth the investment. Learn what makes some continuing education programs stand out over others.

If you’re looking to improve your “hireability,” a program should provide high-quality training. It should offer a curriculum that meets industry standards and teaches marketable skills.

The syllabus should outline clear objectives and show how you’ll achieve them. Plus, some of the best programs provide a hiring guarantee to graduates, or at least have a track record of sending students into their preferred jobs.

Some schools offer full tuition reimbursement if you’re not hired within a period after graduating. Others publish employment success rates of their grads.

Before signing up for adult education classes, check out student outcomes and reviews. Take a look at a course’s pricing structure and location, as well. Some programs offer scholarships or refer you to low-interest personal loans.

Many continuing education classes are online, but a few academies have on-campus locations. Before committing to a program, consider your learning style, career goals and schedule availability. Make sure you understand exactly how much work and time you’ll need to put in to meet your goals — and maybe even find a better job.

Top 6 continuing education programs

Although there are boundless continuing education programs online and off, these six have tough-to-beat features and strong track records.

1. General Assembly
2. Springboard
3. Udemy
4. Thinkful
5. Flatiron School
6. We Can Code IT

1. General Assembly

  • Innovative training courses in a variety of fields, including coding, user experience, design, data, marketing, business and career development
  • Intensive bootcamp courses focused on digital and technology skills
  • Both online and in-person courses at 20 campuses worldwide
  • Part-time and full-time class offerings fit with your schedule
  • Courses are open to beginners with no previous experience in a field
  • 92% of graduates who participated in the school’s career services program got full-time jobs within 180 days of graduation

Cost:

  • Prices at General Assembly range from $750 for part-time courses up to $15,950 for a full-time, immersive course

Financing options:

  • Need-based scholarships and tuition payment plans
  • Campus-based income-share agreement
  • No-interest student loans — to be repaid over 18 months — for some part-time students

Learn More

2. Springboard

  • Intensive training courses in data science, data analytics for business, coding and UX design
  • Expert professionals help develop curated curriculum for each course
  • Courses are entirely online
  • Weekly video calls with a mentor who works in the field
  • Most courses include the guarantee that you’ll get hired within six months of graduating or you’ll get 100% of your tuition refunded

Cost:

  • Data Analytics Bootcamp costs $6,600
  • Data Science Bootcamp costs $8,940
  • Lower-cost, self-paced workshops available

Financing options:

  • No financial aid opportunities

Learn More

3. Udemy

  • About 150,000 online courses from expert instructors
  • Courses are available in more than 65 different languages
  • You can learn marketable skills like coding, web design and Adobe Photoshop
  • You can take classes in areas of personal interest, such as Greek literature, pet care or makeup
  • Some skills-based courses promise that you will learn the skills to become a paid professional, but they don’t help with the job hunt or track graduate career outcomes
  • You’ll get a Udemy Certificate of Completion (but this is not recognized in the professional world since Udemy isn’t an accredited institution)
  • Anyone can create a course and become a Udemy instructor as long as they follow course guidelines
  • Udemy features technology education company RefactorU

Cost:

  • Offers some free courses
  • Most Udemy courses are well below $200

Learn More

4. Thinkful

  • Online coding bootcamp with one-on-one mentorship from a professional developer
  • Bootcamp courses and workshops in software engineering and data science and analytics, as well as product management, digital marketing and user experience design
  • Guarantee that you’ll get a job within 180 days or be granted a full tuition refund
  • 84% to 86% job placement rate within six months of graduating engineering bootcamps
  • Job-seeking graduates report an average salary increase of $20,000
  • Thinkful acquired competitor bootcamp Bloc in 2018

Cost:

  • Full-time web development courses take five months and cost $16,000
  • Flexible data science course last for six months and cost $7,990

Financing options:

Learn More

5. Flatiron School

  • Web development bootcamps online or in-person in eight locations, including New York City
  • 93% of Flatiron students are employed within 180 days of graduation and report an average starting salary of $76,000
  • Career services and one-on-one meetings with career coach helps you prepare for job interviews and land a job

Cost:

  • 15-week, in-person and full-time software engineering program costs $17,000
  • Online, self-paced data science program starts at $9,600

Financing options:

Learn More

6. We Can Code IT

  • Part-time and full-time coding bootcamp programs
  • Campuses in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio
  • Small group tutoring and one-on-one mentoring
  • Career services to help you prep for interviews and find a job

Cost:

  • Full programs cost $13,900

Financing options:

Learn More

Are continuing education classes right for you?

Many of these adult education classes are focused on the skills you need for a career in tech. These web development bootcamps teach you coding, design or data science.

None of these schools are accredited institutions, but most provide career services and coaching. Some are so confident you’ll get hired, they promise a money-back guarantee.

Most of these continuing education academies have at least one program open to beginners, so you always have a place to start. They offer flexible scheduling and financing options to meet your needs.

Once you’ve identified your goals, considered cost and figured out your financial aid, you can choose the academy that’s right for you. For the full list of our favorite continuing education programs, head to our continuing education marketplace.

Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.

Prices listed were accurate as of June 4, 2020.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
2.75% – 8.90%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

2.50% – 6.80%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.81% – 7.21%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.49% – 7.99%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

3.24% – 7.99%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit NaviRefi

3.24% – 8.24%6Undergrad
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Visit SoFi

2.99% – 7.24%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

1.74% – 7.99%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Purefy

3.69% – 9.92%8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Citizens

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount. Fixed loans feature repayment terms of 5 to 20 years. For example, the monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 5.47% for a 12-year term would be $94.86. Variable loans feature repayment terms of 5 to 25 years. For example, the monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 5.90% for a 15-year term would be $83.85.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of October 1, 2022.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $9 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) and changes in the SOFR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%. There is no limit on the amount your interest rate can increase at one time. The Index is currently published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (“New York Fed”). If the Index is no longer available, it will be replaced by a replacement Index according to the terms of the promissory note.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of October 31, 2022. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.


3 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 10/26/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 2.81% APR – 7.21%APR Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.99% APR – 10.68 APR% Fixed APR with AutoPay.


4 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 3.99% – 8.74% APR (3.74% – 8.49% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (2.49% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.


5 Important Disclosures for Navient.

Navient Disclosures

You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 4.24% – 9.24% APR (3.99% – 8.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 3.49% APR to 8.24% APR (3.24% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.


6 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 3.24% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.


7 Important Disclosures for Purefy.

Purefy Disclosures

Purefy Student Loan Refinancing Rate and Terms Disclosure: Annual Percentage Rates (APR) ranges and examples are based on information provided to Purefy by lenders participating in Purefy’s rate comparison platform. For student loan refinancing, the participating lenders offer fixed rates ranging from 2.73% – 7.99% APR, and variable rates ranging from 1.74% – 7.99% APR. The maximum variable rate is 25.00%. Your interest rate will be based on the lender’s requirements. In most cases, lenders determine the interest rates based on your credit score, degree type and other credit and financial criteria. Only borrowers with excellent credit and meeting other lender criteria will qualify for the lowest rate available. Rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Terms and conditions apply.  


8 Important Disclosures for Citizens.

CitizensBank Disclosures

Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%-9.92% (3.69%-9.92% APR). Fixed interest rates range from  4.49%-10.11% (4.49%-10.11% APR). 

Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 6.39%- 9.60% (6.39% – 9.60% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.58% – 9.79% (6.58% – 9.79% APR).

Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).

Education Refinance Loan for Parents Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%- 9.09% (3.69%- 9.09% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.28% (4.49% – 9.28% APR).

Medical Residency Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).