The long-term benefits of short courses

Today’s fast-paced and bustling world requires the modern worker to become a jack-of-all-trades. But, rather than spending a lifetime studying degrees and higher qualifications, short courses can give you the opportunity to update your skill set in only a fraction of the time.

Ranging from one day to one year, short courses are perfect if you’re looking to formalise your skills gained in the workplace or build upon your qualifications gained through university. They can be the key to unlocking job prospects, promotions or new career ventures – and they’ll do wonders for your creativity!

Give your career a booster

Career enhancers

Short courses are a great way to fill the gaps in your knowledge and give you a competitive edge when it comes to job promotions. As technology evolves systems, programs and practices change, making it critical for workers to refresh their skills and stay on top of the game.

Courses in areas of self-development, such as leadership, workplace communication and conflict resolution, can make you the ideal candidate for a higher role in your workplace. As an employer, these courses can help you effectively deal with employee issues and workplace relations and earn you the ‘Boss of the Year’ award. Skills such as these are easily transferable from workplace to workplace and are a great asset on your resume.

Studying a First Aid Certificate can also give you skills that are transferable not only in your career but in everyday life. For some jobs, certified first aid knowledge is mandatory. For Maria Mu, her time as a flight attendant required her to have a current First Aid Certificate.

‘I was required to have it when I was a flight attendant, but in general it is a great thing to have. You’re prepared for any situation that might come up and having that knowledge is extremely comforting,’ says Mu.

If you’re interested in pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams then studying a MYOB or bookkeeping course can give you the skills to efficiently manage the ‘business side’ of your business.

‘Working every day on the same tasks, small business owners run the risk of their ideas getting tired and their minds uninspired. A short course, which may offer new ideas and skills, can really fire up the mind and inspire greater business success,’ says Leah Gibbs, Business Manager and Founder of Lifestyle Careers.

Short courses can also be used to turn your career towards a new direction. Studying a TESOL course, through a leading distance education provider such as SEEK Learning can open new opportunities for those wishing to travel and teach overseas.

Taste-test your career path

Taste-test a career path

Like a taste-tester at an ice cream shop, short courses can allow you to sample the wares before you buy. Gaining an insight into the type of knowledge required for a particular industry or field can save you the time and money of studying a full-time degree.

Starting off small can also give you a foundation to continue building your skills upon. Many short courses can be accredited if your situation requires you to further your qualifications. Short courses can be the ideal way to gain the skills you need at this stage, and are also an easy transition into Certificate I courses.

Some short courses, called bridging units or preparatory units, can also help you if you need to brush up on some knowledge for tertiary study and prepare you for the work level and study skills that are expected.

Some course providers allow you to study individual course units at a time. This gives you not only specific knowledge but also an insight into the nature of the whole qualification without having to make a three-year commitment.

Open Universities Australia allows students to study 13-week undergraduate units individually, in order for students to continue their other commitments while studying.

‘Our students have backgrounds that are more diverse than that of traditional, face-to-face universities. We offer students the opportunity to work around their personal and professional lives while still receiving an education,’ says OUA Chief Executive Officer Stuart Hamilton.

Grow your hobbies

Turn hobbies into something more

If you’ve always wanted to turn your interests into a hobby or even if you wanted to find a hobby you’re interested in, short courses can be a great way to start out. Studying anything from home gardening to life drawing can be a fun way to get yourself off the couch and learn new skills and knowledge.

‘Keeping the mind active is just as important as keeping the body active, and learning new things. Those who have completed short courses in fields unrelated to their careers show an open and interested mind, an enthusiastic attitude and a lust for life,’ says Gibbs.

Pursuing your hobbies can also be a great way to unlock new career options. If you’ve always wished you could turn your hobby into a full-time career then short courses can give you the professional skills and techniques to match your passion. 

Open Colleges short courses give you skills that are transferable from the home to the workplace. This means that if you plan on studying a Certificate in Animal Care to look after Pickles the poodle, you will also have the professional training to launch your career in the animal care industry.

Joanne Beckett’s studies in animal care compelled her to ask for work with her local veterinarian and pursue a career looking after animals.

‘I told him that I was currently doing Animal Care with Open Colleges and took along some of my assignments and results. He was quite impressed,’ says Beckett.

Learning a language through a short course is also a great way to pick up a hobby and give you a competitive edge in the workplace. In today’s global environment, being bilingual is critical to working and communicating on an international level and gives you that extra savoir faire.

Career quesitons

What you need to know

Short courses have a different fee paying structure to longer qualifications and it may not be an option to defer payment or gain government assistance. Make sure you are aware of all the financial considerations involved before you sign up for the course.

Also make sure you understand completely whether your course is nationally recognised or can be accredited towards further study if you are interested in using your qualification in the workplace or plan on pursuing further study.

Be aware that for some careers you may still require an undergraduate qualification – just studying a multitude of short courses does not equal a master’s degree. Also, be wary of listing all 20 of the short courses you have completed in your resume, unless they are relevant to the jobs you are applying for. Simply listing a few in your interests can help to show that you are a well-rounded, inquisitive person. 

‘Short courses show potential employers you are motivated, keen to learn and sharp. They show current employers you are not content to rest on your laurels, and that you see continual improvement as a priority,’ says Gibbs.

Although less of a commitment than studying a university degree, you are still required to put in time and effort to do well when studying a short course. Some short courses may require you to undertake exams, attend a certain number of classes or hand in assignments in order to complete the requirements. The onus is on you to succeed but the benefits are worth it.



Feeling inspired? With over 1000 short courses on offer at ShortCourseFinder, you're bound to find something to pique your interest. So whether it's gardening or growing your own business, get stuck into a short course today!

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