How to upgrade your skills with continuing education programs

Learning is a life-long process. Many individuals return to school to refine their skills even after completing a degree. Some take courses to update or add to their current knowledge. Others venture into new learning opportunities to fill gaps in their knowledge. Regardless of the intention, continuing education is a viable option to help individuals improve in their field or branch off into a new one.

Read on for some options for continuing to develop your career through education.

Free online courses

Several institutions offer courses that can significantly improve one’s business knowledge in their free time. These courses cover various topics that individuals can complete at their leisure.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Introduction to Financial and Managerial Accounting

This course educates students on basic financial and managerial reporting concepts. The course focuses on readers’ viewpoints of financial and managerial reports instead of the accountants who prepare them.

Those interested can apply here.

Yale University: Financial Markets

This course provides an overview of the ideas, methods and institutions used to manage risks and establish enterprises. It details practices used today while outlining future industry prospects. Additionally, it introduces risk management and behavioural finance principles. The course aims to enable students to understand the functions of securities, insurance and banking industries.

Those interested can apply here.

Harvard University: Data Science – Productivity Tools

This course is part of Harvard’s Professional Certificate Program in Data Science. It teaches students how to use Unix/Linux to manage files and directories and keep them organized. Students are introduced to Git, a version control system that tracks changes in scripts and reports. Students also learn how to use GitHub to store work and encourage collaboration.

Those interested can apply here.

Stanford University: Entrepreneurship Through the Lens of Venture Capital

This course invites guest lecturers and utilizes mentorships to enable students to explore the workings of a successful start-up. Guests include experienced investors and entrepreneurs who can provide valuable insight into funding, managing and scaling an enterprise.

Those interested can apply here.

Note that the courses listed here are not the only ones each institution offers. Explore their websites further to find more options.

Certificate programs

Students can earn professional certifications through these programs. Most require students to complete a certain number of required courses and electives. Students can typically complete these programs within a few years, and many are available online to allow for flexibility.

Harvard University: Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This four-course program teaches students how to generate and develop ideas. Students practice aligning innovation and creativity with business goals. Students are required students to take one course from each of four categories:

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Business models and frameworks
  • Entrepreneurship: tools and skills
  • Application of knowledge and skills

Some course options include:

  • Strategic Business Insight:  How businesses create and sustain value, drawing on past and current examples for interactive learning.
  • Applied Systems Design and Thinking: Aims to help students see everything as non-linear systems. Students learn how to analyze and critique the effectiveness of systems.

The courses include both in-person and online offerings.

McMaster University: Advanced Accounting

This six-course program can help students work towards their Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Registered Professional Accountant (RPA) designations. Students learn the ins and outs of accounting within an organization. They also learn how economic and political factors influence accounting practices.

Some course options include:

  • Introductory Financial Accounting: Explores basic principles and techniques for preparing public financial statements.
  • Introductory Management Accounting: Introduces students to systems used in manufacturing and service industries to determine income. The course focuses on the contribution of accounting information to management business decisions.

The courses are available in virtual classrooms and online or self-study formats.

University of Toronto: Business Management

This eight-course program teaches students fundamental business concepts, such as project management, enterprise assessment and human resource management. Students are required to take one of the following mandatory courses:

  • Accounting: The Fundamentals
  • Understanding Financial Statements
  • The Budgeting Process

Students are also required to take seven additional elective courses. Some options include:

  • Business Law: A general study of Canadian law and its applications to business. Topics include contracts, professional liability and agency relationships.
  • Foundations of Project Management: Focuses on practical exercises and group work to teach effective project management.

In-person and online learning options are available.

Western University: Business Analysis

This three-course program teaches students several analysis techniques to develop and implement new business processes. Students learn how to identify business problems and facilitate solutions. The program is comprised of the following courses:

  • Planning and Communication: Teaches foundational knowledge and techniques for determining the effectiveness of business analysis processes. 
  • Elicitation, Documentation and Analysis: Teaches students to elicit, document, analyze and validate business requirements.
  • Enterprise and Strategic Analysis: Students learn to identify business opportunities, analyze possible solutions, and prepare business cases.

All three courses are completed online.

University of Guelph: Certificate in Business

This five-course program focuses on the functional areas of a business. Students are required to take the Introduction to Canadian Business Management course and four electives. Elective courses cover a wide range of topics. However, specializations such as accounting and marketing are also available. Some elective options include:

  • Assessment and Management of Risk: This course teaches techniques for assessing risks to human health and the environment. It also covers methods for managing and reducing risk to safe levels.
  • Labour Relations: Explores the processes that govern relationships between employers and employees. Students will study topics such as contract negotiation and maintaining bargaining rights. 

This certificate is completed entirely online, allowing students flexibility.

Again, these institutions (and most others) have many certificate options available. Research their websites to find the program that best fits your professional development and learning objectives. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *