Continuing education is actually an encompassing term in a rather large list of post-graduate educational programs and activities. The term is most commonly used in North America and the United Kingdom. If you are contemplating taking a course of action that may require you to upgrade your qualification, here are some ways that you can go about it.
To start off with, you'll need to look at what exactly is going on in your field. Is there anything in particular that you'll be needing to learn to keep up with? For example, if you work in health care, you'll have to have continuing education on medical terms and more specific areas like nursing or pharmacy. Your current employer will likely provide this type of training for their employees, so get to know what's available out there before you start planning.
Once you've figured out what areas of learning you want to expand upon, you'll have to decide what resources you'll be looking for. Keep in mind that when it comes to a program like this, you want to get your money's worth. That means you'll want to pick a course that's going to be both useful and interesting to you as well as your student.
One of the first things you need to decide is the type of course you want. While it's perfectly acceptable to take a general education class or two in addition to continuing your education, if you want to be able to study at home and not have to worry about leaving your job in order to attend class, you might want to consider an online class. Online classes generally require less effort on your part, but the outcome can still be pretty impressive, as they can take place from the comfort of your own home.
Once you've figured out the type of course you're looking for, you need to think about how long it will take for you to complete. While you don't necessarily have to take a specific amount of time to complete a certain course, you'll still want to make sure that you have enough time to make it through the entire process of getting a new skill or technique or gaining knowledge about a topic that you're interested in. Take some time to calculate how much time you'll have to dedicate to your studies before you start feeling guilty about dragging it out too much.
Finally, you'll want to determine how many credits . . . . . . you need to complete your education. The time limit will be different for each type of course, but generally speaking, you'll need at least a year of coursework to be able to obtain your Bachelor's or Masters degrees and more than six to achieve an Associate or Doctorate level degree. For most courses, this number won't change much, so that means you should begin by checking into what you'll be taking and what your time limitations are before you make any decisions regarding continuing your education.