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Lifelong Learning: 5 Ways Individual Online Courses Can Boost Your Career

Looking for professional development opportunities that can enhance your career? Continuing your education through an online course could be the perfect option.

Management guru and author Peter Drucker once said, “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”1 It’s true, learning is a lifelong process. If you want to grow in your career and in life, it’s important to continually expand your mind and abilities with new knowledge, skills, and perspectives.

Taking courses online is a great way to further your education and develop professionally and personally. Online learning is convenient and flexible. You can learn from practically anywhere, at any time, which makes it an ideal choice for busy working professionals.

Today, many colleges and universities offer programs that make it possible to earn an entire college degree online. But if you’re not ready to commit to a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree program, you might want to think about taking individual online courses.

Some colleges and universities offer a wide selection of individual online courses for continuing education and professional development. With online courses in a variety of career areas—ranging from business to counseling to health to education—you can take a class (or more) on a topic that interests you and is relevant to your career. Depending on the online course and university, you could potentially apply credit toward a future degree program or to satisfy requirements for earning or renewing a license, credential, or certification in your field.

Here are five ways individual online courses could benefit you and your career:

1. Online courses help you stay current.
Change is constant in the workplace. To keep up, you need to keep learning. Individual online courses help you stay current on the latest trends, issues, technologies, and best practices in your career field. For example, a small-business owner might take an individual course on digital storytelling and online marketing. If you’re in elementary education, a class on the latest reading interventions might be a good choice.

2. You can refresh your skills and develop new ones.
We can all benefit by adding more tools to our toolbox. Updating and expanding your skill set through an individual online course not only will enhance your competence and confidence in your current job, it could also make you more marketable for future career opportunities. For instance, a nonprofit leader might be interested in a grant-writing course. Or, a nurse who wants to move into a leadership role might take an online course on management.

3. Online courses can grow your value and credibility with your employer.
Employers appreciate employees who are willing to grow and learn. By taking an online individual course, you are demonstrating to your current employer that you are a lifelong learner who is committed to professional development and becoming better at your job. Plus, adding new skills to your repertoire can make you all around more valuable in an employer’s eyes.

4. Learning new skills through an online course can boost your job performance.
Through an online course, you can gain fresh skills, learn the latest trends in your profession, and expand your knowledge in your career field. These are all the building blocks needed to perform better in your job. And keep in mind: Exceptional job performance could potentially lead to a promotion and a higher salary.

5. Lifelong learning can create new opportunities.
Individual online courses can open all kinds of doors. Learning new things can position you for advancement and unexpected opportunities in your career field. Or, you might discover a new interest and decide to pursue a completely different career path.

Taking an online course is also an excellent way to grow your professional network. You’ll be part of a global community of adult learners in your field. And if you choose an accredited university, the online courses are often taught by college instructors who are experienced practitioners and well connected to industry. You can make new professional connections all over the world.

Are you ready to boost your career by taking an online class? Walden offers over 240 individual online courses for professional development in education, counseling, business, information technology, psychology, health, and other areas. Discover the advantages of lifelong learning. Find an individual online course that can help take your career where you want it to go.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a wide selection of individual online courses for continuing education and professional development. Expand your career options and learn online in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,