Kristina Ogilvie already had a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Humanities under her belt when she discovered an unknown talent and passion for graphic design. So rather than begin a four-year Bachelor’s program, she did the smart thing: she enrolled in a continuing education course.
For professionals like Ogilvie who are looking to enter a new field, continuing education classes are an attractive option in a tough economy. Not only are they faster and less expensive than Bachelor’s programs, but they often allow students to continue working while they gain the skills they need to make a career change. (Some courses are even offered online.)
In Ogilvie’s case, this new career will be one in which she can build on the graphic design talent she discovered in her current position as Department Assistant at Northwestern University. To complete graphic design projects that her department needed, Ogilvie taught herself the basics of Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and other essential graphic design programs. She hopes that the survey design course and Adobe Illustrator courses she enrolled in at The School of the Art Institute will take her to the next level.
“With these classes I’ll actually learn everything the tools can do, and how to make things look the way I want them to. I’m basically hoping to improve on what little knowledge I have of the creative suite, as well as think more like a designer and somehow be able to channel the rather far out ideas I usually have into more tangible, realistic designs. ” Ogilvie added.
These skills will also help her compete with other graphic designers in an economy that’s still on its way to recovery. And she’s not the only one using continuing education classes to further her career. A winter 2010 survey of community college presidents showed that enrollment across the country is up from 2009, with a portion of that growth in certificate, workforce and career enhancement programs.
And once she has her certification in hand, Ogilvie will be able to do more than just changer her career. She’ll be able to change her life.
“I’ve always wanted to move overseas, so I’m hoping this will make me a more attractive candidate to employers, and that it will help me get a more lucrative job,” Ogilvie said.
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