Because innovations in technology and changes in career practices occur so often in certain industries, the people working in those fields frequently must return to school for continuing education. About 44 percent of adults participate in some form of continuing education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics ("continuing education" includes skills training, work-related courses, personal interest courses, apprenticeships, ESL courses and part-time degree programs).1 This is a sizable amount of potential students, and it can be of great value for career colleges to offer these "refresher" classes to students.

Pharmacy Technicians

According to the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, 20 hours of training is required for pharmacy technicians during every two-year recertification cycle. The hours must fit into certain categories, including pharmacy law, patient safety and relevant college courses such as chemistry.2 Additionally, many states have their own requirements on top of the national standards that pharmacists must complete.5 Since recertification is required on such a frequent basis, it is likely that courses such as these would be popular. Many applicable courses may already be offered by your college, but it can be beneficial to offer a program based around the purpose of recertification.


Whether or not continuing education is required for paralegals depends on the state in which they are practicing, but it is recommended throughout the United States. The courses that are most relevant for paralegals are those that address recent changes to court rules, recent important legal decisions and technology software for legal professionals.3


Nursing is another profession where continuing education requirements depend on the state. Most states require pharmacology hours, but there are a variety of other courses that may be necessary. If your institution is interested in providing these courses, they should check on individual state requirements. They may include topics such as medical laws, domestic violence and AIDS/HIV care.4 Health care is a constantly evolving field that will always be in high demand, so investing in continuing education for nurses and other medical professionals is a safe and logical choice.

Computer Programmers

Computer programming is not a field that "requires" refresher courses, but it is certainly necessary to professionals who want to stay educated and up-to-date. In technology-based fields, it is easy to fall behind on trends, as things change so rapidly. Consider providing a constantly updated curriculum in computer programming, especially as the field continues to grow in popularity and importance.

Even if a career does not require continuing education, many people are now motivated internally or by their employers to stay up-to-date on their practice. With changing technology and a more educated population in general, it is beneficial for schools to be proactive in offering these programs.

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Resources: Photo credit. (1) Fast Facts: Adult Learning (2) PTCB Continuing Education (3) Paralegal Education (4) State Boards of Nursing CE Requirements (5) Pharmacy State CE Requirements