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.
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.
Although there are boundless continuing education programs online and off, these six have tough-to-beat features and strong track records.
- 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
- Prices at General Assembly range from $750 for part-time courses up to $15,950 for a full-time, immersive course
- 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
- 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
- Data Analytics Bootcamp costs $6,600
- Data Science Bootcamp costs $8,940
- Lower-cost, self-paced workshops available
- No financial aid opportunities
- 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
- Offers some free courses
- Most Udemy courses are well below $200
- 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
- Full-time web development courses take five months and cost $16,000
- Flexible data science course last for six months and cost $7,990
- Flexible payment plans and $100 to $300 professional development scholarships (monthly) for self-identifying women and U.S. military members
- 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
- 15-week, in-person and full-time software engineering program costs $17,000
- Online, self-paced data science program starts at $9,600
- Income-share agreement lent directly by the school defers tuition charge until after graduation
- The Flatiron School partners with Climb and Skills Fund to offer low-interest loans
- Scholarships for students who belong to underrepresented groups in tech, including women and veterans
- 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
- Full programs cost $13,900
- Offers low-interest student loans
- Accepts GI Bill benefits for veterans
- Tuition installment plans
- Up to to $2,000 grants for low-income students and those who would bring diversity to the program
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 6 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.99% – 5.64%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.28%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 6.77%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|1.99% – 5.61%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! |
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
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 $4 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.
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 one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR 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%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 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.
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 September 10, 2020.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.