Lifelong learning is a 21st century necessity. No longer can you graduate from high school or college and check off your education as complete. Rapidly changing technology, globalization and economic realities require people to keep competitive and up-to-date to survive. Opening a continuing education business and offering a blend of courses can stimulate and benefit your students.
Deciding on Direction
Before you open a continuing education business, learn all you can from existing companies. While local competitors may not want to talk with you, comparable firms outside your area may be willing to share information. You have three choices -- start from scratch, buy a franchise or acquire an existing business. Franchises such as Berlitz and Dale Carnegie offer professional development skills, while the Online Trading Academy provides training in specific skills, such as investing. You must also decide if you wish to offer online or on-site instruction.
What to Offer
If you aspire to write your own programs, familiarize yourself with adult learning methodologies. Adults are busy, are likely to have jobs and families and may be paying for courses out of their own pockets. Your topics must be broad enough to attract a wide audience, yet specific enough to provide content students will pay to receive. As a rule, you need three learning objectives for each hour of instruction. Plan on using a variety of activities and group exercises to drive lessons home.
To provide the Continuing Education Unit, the standard unit of measurement, you must be accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). The organization offers support through webinars, online learning and workshops. Accreditation takes time and effort but it may be necessary if you want to attract corporate clients. Your entity must be incorporated, have been in business for at least a year, doing business in its current mode for at least three months and meet additional IACET standards. An evaluating commission takes three to four months to review your application, after which it makes a site visit before reaching a decision.
If you have a background in a field such as accounting, cosmetology or insurance, you may be able to open a school to provide training. Many professionals need continuing education to maintain their state certification. Check with your state's licensing authorities to see which professions require continuing education and what you must do to become an instructor. Many states extend reciprocity to neighboring states, so your accreditation may extend beyond your state's borders.
- Gaebler: Opening an Adult and Continuing Education Business
- Continuing Education Headquarters: Getting Started Writing Continuing Education Courses
- Evolllution: The Four E’s of Continuing Education -- Running a Continuing Education Program
- IACET: International Association for Continuing Education and Training
- Franchise Genius: Top Adult Education Franchises
- The Learning Annex:
- Photo Credit Ableimages/Digital Vision/Getty Images
How to Start A Small Online Business By Yourself
Starting a brick and mortar business can be cost prohibitive because of high commercial property costs, fees for legal services associated with...
How to Create a Continuing Education Class
Continuing education units (CEUs) are taken by professionals to maintain their licenses. From massage therapists to psychologists, nurses to cosmetologists, CEUs are...
How to Become a CEU Instructor
Is there a particular set of skills that you have developed expertise in either in school or in the workplace? If yes,...
How to Start an Education Business
More than 45,000 companies and 300,000 self-employed individuals post revenues of about $30 billion per year in the U.S. education and training...
How to Start a CNA School
Certified nurse aides (CNAs) play a critical role by assisting nursing staff in caring for patients. High turnover in nurse aides is...
How to Start an Online Teaching Business
Online teaching is a great way for both certified teachers and others skilled in various areas who want to teach to be...
Tax Write-Offs for Continuing Education Classes
Continuing education is a valid tax write-off whether you're self-employed or an employee. However, it must be directly related to your current...