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Continuing Education

Back to school at any age

By MARILYN SOLTIS
   By 2018 one in four workers will be over 55 years old. According to government statistics, people aged 25 to 54 will make up 63.5 percent and the rest of the labor force will be aged 16-24.
   Careers in healthcare and finance are the fastest growing fields, but surprisingly, there are some jobs that will be in even greater demand over the coming decade such as clergy, technical writers and curators. Math and science are requirements for many fields, and engineers rank number one as the most sought-after profession.
   To keep up with our changing economy, enrollment in colleges and universities is up as well as attendance at less expensive options like junior colleges and trade schools.
   Chicago has an amazing array of educational opportunities, whatever your professional or personal goals. It’s never too late to change careers.

Going to the next level
  Graduate degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago are ranked highly. For business there is The Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Northwestern), the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University, Roosevelt University, and the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
   For law, Northwestern University Law School, DePaul University College of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and the John Marshall Law School offer students excellent opportunities.
   For medicine, Chicago offers exceptional programs: the Loyola School of Medicine, Illinois College of Medicine at the University of Illinois, Feinberg School of Medicine (Northwestern), Rush University, and the Pritzker School of Medicine (University of Chicago).
    For the ultimate in intellectual curiosity and pursuit, the Graham School of Continuing Studies at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies allow you to take undergrad and graduate courses with some of the greatest minds in the world. You can gain credentials, earn a degree or broaden your knowledge. Career flexibility and lifelong learning are now mandatory in today’s fluctuating economy.

Just for fun
  Taking classes in subjects you are passionate about can be the most enjoyable. You don’t have to go to Paris to learn how to make delectable desserts. Take a course at the French Pastry School. Food enthusiasts can try Kendall College or Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts or venues like the Wooden Spoon or Chopping Block.
  Everybody wants to be a rock star, and the Old Town School of Folk Music has classes for wannabes in a wide range of musical genres. DePaul University has a highly-respected music school, offering bachelors, masters and post-masters certificates in performance. And who can’t use a few laughs these days? Study improve at Second City.
  Artists can study at the School of the Art Institute and the Illinois Institute of Art. Flashpoint Academy offers digital arts programs from film to game development. For more tactile creators, the Lill Street Studio is a northside mecca for pottery.
  Writers can hone their craft at Columbia College, National Louis University, Story-Studio Chicago, the Writer’s Loft and the Writers School at the Graham School of General Studies at the University of Chicago.
  Prepare for that dream trip with a language course at Rosetta Stone. Francophiles can immerse themselves in French at the Alliance Francaise de Chicago.

Online learning
  Learn for free on one of the many websites dedicated to the open courseware movement that lets you watch classes from some of the world’s best universities. OpenCourseWare Consortium has lectures and course materials from over 250 universities worldwide and has more than 13,000 full courses available.
  iTunes U has about 300,000 audio and video files from 600 schools and YouTube now has 200 full courses and 60,000 videos.
  The associate dean and director of Stanford’s continuing education program hosts Open Culture, a site that features what he considers the best of lectures, movies and books along with instruction in 37 languages.
  Academic Earth lets you sit in on the courses of ten elite universities. You can even give them a grade.
  Whether you are just curious or trying to add to your knowledge, thousands of free sites are at your fingertips.

Published: August 08, 2010
Issue: Fall 2010 Issue