Continuing education is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of educational opportunities. Used mostly in the United States and Canada (the term "further education" is preferred in the UK) continuing education generally involves any aspect of educational attainment by non-traditional students. This can include the attainment of a degree, work-related training, and personal enrichment.
Continuing education is generally restricted to adults who have already completed a Bachelor's degree program. Therefore, such basic educational programs such as literacy, vocational, or a GED program do not fall under the context of continuing education. These programs are generally understood to be the completion of one's education, not the continuation of learning throughout the lifetime. Continuing education includes the following:
- Formal lectures
- Any other similar type of educational program designed to educate
In the United States, a great deal of continuing education occurs in the nation's many community colleges. These institutions offer both credit courses designed for the completion of a degree, allowing non-traditional students to go to school part-time around their work schedule. Additionally, many community colleges offer non-credit courses designed solely for personal enrichment. This level of continuing education may be offered in the evening, at locations throughout the community, and may include a diverse range of interests, from cooking to photography, to ballroom dancing. The point of continuing education is to be a lifelong learner.