In the ever-changing world of business, continuing education is key to job retention and career trajectory. In fact, a Pew Research Center Survey found that 87% believe that continued training and education is essential to keep up with changes in the workplace. In addition, employees who have access to continuing education opportunities, either through work or subsidized by the employer, experience higher job satisfaction. These employees feel valued because the employer is making an investment in their continued success in the organization.

Types of Continuing Education Opportunities

There is not a one-size-fits-all rule for continued education in a work environment. Seminars and conferences can offer great opportunities, not only to learn but to also network with others in the industry. Some companies invest in a Learning Management System (MLS) to provide necessary training as well as additional courses that employees can access to expand their skills in preparation for a new position.

With today’s shortage of talent in many fields, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, many employers are willing to pay for or subsidize the cost of, college degrees, online courses or other training. They find that it’s cheaper to create the needed talent rather than get into a bidding war for someone with these skills. These situations provide great opportunities for employees who want to be at the cutting edge of new technologies or skills.

Online Skills Courses

While employer-based learning programs can be a good way to gain skills, some people choose to structure their own continuing education opportunities and create their own pathways to success. Online courses are a great way to manage this process, gaining the education and training needed to take a career to a higher level, or start a new one.

There are many reputable online course opportunities that can help you grow skills in everything from marketing and business to using specific software packages or brushing up on interpersonal skills. Some of the advantages of these courses are that many are taught by experts, offer a flexible learning schedule and are more interactive than the recorded lectures that were all the rate 10 years ago.

For people who want to learn a new skill, software system, or process Udemy offers great selection courses to fit nearly every need. Most are very inexpensive, ranging from $12 to $25, and there are periodic sales of some courses, which makes them accessible to someone on a tight budget. Udemy curates their courses, so you can trust that they will be informative and taught by highly-rated instructors.

If your focus is solely technical, Udacity offers the broadest selection of online courses in programming and development, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data science and more. In addition to offering classes for individuals, they also work with businesses to bring this training to their employees. For companies with skill gaps in these areas, this is a cost-effective way to fill them as well as support employee success.

Online College and Certificate Programs

To truly enhance your resume and take your career to another level, you should consider online college courses. Alison offers both certificate and college-credit classes on a variety of business topics including project management, supply chain management, human resource, and more. The best part is that many of these courses are free.

In addition, there are many free courses offered by big names in collegiate learning, including Harvard, MIT, and other amazing schools. Some offer certificates for the completion of a specific program of courses, which is a great benefit during a performance review or looking for a new job. Also, nearly every learning institution, from community colleges to prestigious universities, offer a wide range of online courses and programs.

Coursera offers classes accepted by many well-known colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Illinois, Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University. These classes allow you to complete a degree or begin working toward a new one, though some in-classroom time may be necessary to complete the degree.  

Global Learning

We live in a time of a global marketplace, with goods and services available from almost anywhere to almost anyone. As a result, most companies are investing in foreign language training for employees, either through corporate language training programs or language learning apps, to support effective business growth. There are even overseas language immersion programs that provide real-life learning opportunities and training on important cultural practices that must be experienced to truly appreciate.

If you want to expand your global business learning, the London School of Business and Finance offers a 4-day continuing education program throughout the year titled Digital Marketing and Social Media and the HEC in Paris offer an Executive Education short course in Digital Marketing. There is also the Oxford Summer School which offers a variety of topics geared toward younger adults.

Bottom Line Continued learning opportunities support career growth and when they are provided through the employer, boosts job satisfaction. There are so many flexible and low=cost opportunities to gain new skills or earn a degree that there is no reason to wait. Start learning today.


  • Brian Hughes

    CEO of Integrity Marketing & Consulting

    Brian Hughes is the founder and CEO of Integrity Marketing & Consulting, where he helps his clients build powerful brands through content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, pay-per-click advertising and web design. A seasoned digital marketing expert, Hughes is a frequent contributor to,, Small Business Trends, and When not helping clients cut through the digital clutter to conquer their online niche, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, doing ministry or playing golf.