Getting Started

As reported by the UPCEA in A Mismatch Between Jobs and Education, working adults require education and training opportunities that help them meet the demands of the new economy, and provide career pathways and opportunities for increased wages. This means that you may need retraining, certification, or brush up on some skills. But how do you get started? Consider the following steps in pursuing Rutgers continuing education opportunities.

Preparing for Continuing Education

Before you begin your continuing education journey, you need to assess your needs, wants, and current situation.

  • Identify your knowledge, skills, interests, and goals. Ask yourself:
    • What are my professional strengths and where can I improve?
    • Am I looking for professional advancement?
    • Am I considering a first or new career?
  • Identify your formal education and determine if there are any gaps between your goals and education. Consider:
    • High school diploma including any specialized courses or training
    • College coursework completed
    • College degree(s)
    • Skill-based certificates
    • Industry or job specific certifications
  • Identify your support systems and resources
    • Time you have to dedicate towards your learning; short term and long term
    • Money that is available through personal resources, employer tuition assistance, or grants
    • Equipment necessary to pursue your education, such as a computer or Internet access
  • Explore courses and programs. Consider the various ways in which your education can be delivered and the method you may prefer:
    • Individual courses – self paced, online
    • Individual courses – instructor led online
    • Individual courses – instructor led, in person
    • Certificate programs – self paced, online
    • Certificate programs – instructor led, online
    • Certificate programs – instructor led, in person

Once you explore these areas, you can begin identifying your learning opportunities. Consider your personal and professional goals and how any future training or education will supplement your existing experiences. You will also want to explore resources necessary for you to pursue continuing education, considering the type of courses and learning you want to pursue.

Assessing Your Needs: Career Planning Resources

As you consider your options about continuing education, you not only want to assess emerging needs in your field, but you want to evaluate your overall career direction.  As a working professional, it takes time to ascertain your needs regarding your professional development. That's why we’ve compiled a listing of online resources that can assist you in your professional development and career planning needs.

  • CandidCareer.Com: Gain access to the career advice of industry professionals, and see it all on Video! features informational interviews to help you discover and explore your many career options. Search by Industry, Career Title, or Keywords. Gain honest and valuable insight from the men and women working in a particular field.
  • Explore Career Options: The U.S. Department of Labor offers free online resources that can help you assess your skills and interests, explore careers and wages, and find out about the outlook for particular occupations.
  • mySkills myFuture: A collection of career development tools and information sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • New Jersey Occupation Explorer: Occupation Explorer shows labor market information for a selected occupation. Your search results will give you a description of a particular job and will have a video the reviews the selected occupation.

Exploring Your Options

Based upon your assessment of your wants, needs, and resources, you can begin to identify the right learning opportunity for you. By browsing the main sections of this site, you can locate the individual course or learning experience that will meet your needs. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor offers a downloadable guide to students and job seekers chart their future career paths. The guide —What’s My Next Move? — connects people to career exploration resources available on the CareerOneStop (COS) website and the O*NET site My Next Move.

If you have questions about a course, you can contact us and a member of staff will call or email you.

Taking Advantage of Networking Opportunities

Networking is critical to continuing education as you can learn from others who have similar experiences or have received similar training and education. Most importantly, if you are pursuing continuing education as a way to advance your career, you may be exposed to new opportunities through your contacts.

Networking opportunities may exist through the course or program you are pursuing. Be sure to inquire about formal and informal opportunities to interact with fellow students and instructors during your experience. If you are pursuing an online program, most learning management systems provide tools for you to communicate and share with your newfound colleagues. But don’t let the networking end there! Stay engaged and connected after your program has concluded. Many programs will host gatherings, establish social media sites for ongoing discussions, or start a networking mail list to ensure that professional networking opportunities continue. Regardless of the way in which networking opportunities are made available, the most important thing to remember is that your participate!