I’m one of those people who is constantly enrolled in some class or another. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m pursuing a degree at all times (after all, a degree isn’t always beneficial), but I find that I do better at learning some topics in a class room environment than on my own. Having the resources that go along with taking a formal class — like an instructor who is a subject matter expert — makes the process that much easier.
Actually, certain classes are especially effective when you take it with an instructor, rather than teaching yourself out of a book. Add to the fact that some of these classes actually help you get ahead in the world, and the worth of a good instructor makes certain classes worth going back to school for. Here are 6 that I highly recommend you consider:
- Accounting: Most of us can learn bookkeeping on our own without too much of a struggle. But accounting can be a different matter — and it’s absolutely necessary if you want to run your own business or even handle certain aspects of your own financial planning. Because of the counter-intuitive nature of certain accounting practices, I was hard put to teach the topic to myself without having an instructor to answer my questions.
- Writing: While improving your writing can sometimes just be a matter of practice, it’s very easy to create bad grammatical habits without an instructor’s guidance. You probably don’t need a degree in creative writing to help you with your work, but even a short class with an instructor who can critique your work can make your written communications so much better.
- A second language: There are certain software packages that claim to be as good as the instruction that a language teacher can offer, but if they’re flat out admitting that in-person instruction is the gold standard, why not actually take a class? Considering the changing demographics of the U.S, as well as many other countries, knowing a second language can make a world of difference, whether you’re working for an employer or you’re running your own business.
- Project management: The skills necessary to complete certain projects, like software development, are often something that can be self-taught. To a certain extent, you can even teach yourself to plan such projects and get them done. But a good class exposes you to potential problems and situations that you would never dream up for yourself, dramatically side stepping the trial and error process that most people end up taking.
- First aid and other emergency management skills: There are now entire degrees available in crisis and emergency management — and the folks with those degrees are having an easier time finding jobs right now than other job hunters. That’s because the ability to respond quickly in any kind of emergency is prized. Even a single first aid class can make a world of difference.
- Shop class of any type: Especially since many school districts have eliminated shop classes entirely, it can be harder to acquire the skills necessary to use tools, fix cars and handle other common situations. Just being able to skip one visit to the mechanic can often pay for such classes, making it a worthwhile venture. There’s the added benefit of getting to learn how to use a variety of tools without having to buy them all yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, as DIY has its place. However, some people just learn much faster with the help of a structured class. If this is you, these 6 skills might be a good place to start looking.