9 Best Continuing Education Programs to Transform Your Career

continuing education

Are you ready to advance your career — or start a new one entirely? Thanks to some of today’s continuing education programs, it’s 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

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.

Springboard, for instance, offers full tuition reimbursement if you’re not hired within the first six months of graduating. General Assembly has a 99 percent employment success rate within 180 days.

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. 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 9 continuing education programs

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 25 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
  • Prices range from $1,250 for part-time courses up to $13,950 for a full-time, immersive course
  • Partners with lenders like Pave and Climb Credit to help you pay tuition
  • 88 percent of graduates got full-time jobs within 3 months of graduation; after 180 days, 99 percent of graduates found full-time work in their field of study
Check Out General Assembly

2. Springboard

  • Intensive training courses in data science, data analytics for business, 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
  • Data science course has the guarantee that you’ll get hired within 6 months of graduating or you’ll get 100 percent of your tuition refunded
  • Self-paced workshops start at $399 per month
  • Data Analytics for Business workshop costs $1,499 for 12 weeks
  • Data Science Career Track program takes five to 6 months and costs $4,800
  • No financial aid opportunities
Check Out Springboard

3. Udemy

  • Over 45,000 online courses from expert instructors
  • Courses are available in more than 80 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
  • Offers some free courses
  • Most Udemy courses range from $20 to $200
  • 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
Check Out Udemy

4. Dev Bootcamp

  • Immersive full-time and part-time courses teach you Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and database systems like SQL and PostgreSQL
  • 19-week full-time program (50 hours per week) costs from $12,700 to $13,950 depending on your location
  • 9-week part-time course (15 to 25 hours per week) is open to students with no coding experience and costs $2,400
  • 2-hour project-based workshops give you an introduction to HTML, CSS, and Javascript
  • Courses are online or in-person in Austin, Chicago, New York City, San Diego, San Francisco, or Seattle
  • Career services help you prep for job interviews, prepare your portfolios, and craft your personal brand
  • Offers an employer jobs platform called Employ to help you search for jobs
  • $1,500 scholarships are available for veterans or people who identify as women or members of an ethnic group underrepresented in tech, including Black, African American, Chicano/Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islander individuals
  • Partners with Skills Fund to provide low-interest loans for up to $7,500
Check Out Dev Bootcamp

5. Thinkful

  • Online coding bootcamp with one-on-one mentorship from a professional developer
  • Bootcamp courses in web development and data science, as well as shorter term workshops in frontend web development, backend web development, mobile development, and user experience design
  • Guarantee that you’ll get a job within 6 months or be granted a full tuition refund
  • Full-time web development courses take 4 months and cost $14,000
  • Flexible web development and data science courses last for 6 months and cost $8,550
  • Short term workshops range from $300 to $500 per month
  • 93 percent job placement rate within 6 months of graduating web development bootcamp
  • Job-seeking graduates report an average salary increase of $20,975
  • Flexible payment plans and $100 to $300 scholarships (monthly) for self-identifying women and U.S. military members
Check Out Thinkful

6. Bloc

  • Programs help you become a software developer, web developer, or web designer
  • Skills-based workshops teach you the fundamentals of Rails, frontend development, UX and UI design, and development for Android and iOS
  • Mentors have an average of 9 years experience in their industry
  • Part-time and full-time programs fit with your schedule
  • Tuition ranges from $5,000 to $19,500, depending on the program
  • Financing plans available with repayment periods from 0 to 5 years
  • Partners with Skills Fund to bring you low-interest loans
  • Various tuition reimbursement guarantees if you don’t get a job within a certain period after graduating (must meet certain accountability standards to qualify)
Check Out Bloc

7. Flatiron School

  • Web development bootcamps online or in-person in New York City
  • 12-week full-time web and iOS development programs cost $15,000
  • Self-paced online learning for about $1,500 a month
  • Online certificate programs in HTML, CSS, Ruby, and JavaScript range from $590 to $1,000
  • Free intro courses will teach you the basics of coding
  • 98.5 percent of Flatiron students are employed within 180 days of graduation
  • Career services and one-on-one meetings with career coach helps you prepare for job interviews and land a job
  • Partners with Pave and Skills Fund to offer low-interest loans
  • $2,000 scholarships for students who belong to underrepresented groups in tech, including women and veterans
Check Out Flatiron School

8. RefactorU

  • 10- to 12-week web development, data science, and UX design bootcamps
  • 94 percent of graduates are employed within 6 months of graduation
  • Main courses take place at RefactorU’s affiliate campuses in Westminster, Colorado or Dallas, Texas
  • A few courses are also available online
  • Tuition costs vary by program, education affiliate, and location
  • Partners with various lending organizations to offer financing
  • Offers three diversity scholarships per cohort (27 per year) to those who identify as a woman or member of a group underrepresented in tech (grand prize: $4,000; runner-up prizes: $1,300)
  • Accepts GI Bill benefits for veterans
Check Out RefactorU

9. We Can Code IT

  • Part-time and full-time coding bootcamp programs
  • Full programs cost $12,000
  • 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
  • Partners with Skills Fund and Climb Credit to offer low-interest loans
  • Can pay up front or in four installments
  • $1,000 to $2,000 grants for women and minorities in tech or those who make less than $47,500 a year
Check Out We Can Code IT

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 and figured out your finances, you can choose the academy that’s right for you. For the full list of our favorite continuing education programs, head to the Student Loan Hero marketplace.

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