6 Flexible & Affordable Options for Professional Development

September is here which means many people are heading back to school to hit the books. September often represents a fresh start, kind of like a secondary New Years. A fresh start with a renewed mindset after a summer break filled with patios, mimosas, beaches and BBQs. If you’ve been out of the classroom for some time,this is an opportunity to gain some new information to enhance your skillset.

Whether you want to advance in your career, transition into another industry or just expand your knowledge, lifelong learning is going to be one of your vital keys to success. Learn-to-Earn. Whether it’s a course, certification or a refresher of some sort, the more you know keeps you up to speed with competition in the world of work. I acknowledge that most of you are working and would love to go back to school however can’t afford to drop the 9-5 due to the expenses that comes with adulting. Other people just might be dreading the thought of being in a classroom. Whatever your current situation, I’ve compiled some options that will allow you to keep your mind sharp and enhancing your skills all while making minor schedule adjustments and avoiding the large expenses that come with higher education. Below you will find some great learning options for you to explore that can best meet your needs and budget for professional development.

1. School of Continuing Studies– Colleges & Universities ($$$)

Whether you want to do a single course or sudy a program part-time, you can access the school of continuing studies at the college/university of your choice. These courses are often offered during the evenings, weekends or through distance learning (online). Whether you want to advance in your career or switch industries, I recommend checking out schools of your interest and seeing what courses they have to offer. Please note, although credible this is one of the pricier options of the bunch.

2. Learn4Life – Toronto Disctrict School Board- Evening Courses ($-$$)


If you live in Toronto, you may or may not have received this catalogue by the TDSB in your mailbox. We can be honest, you probably thought nothing of it and tossed it on the table for future review or it went directly into the recycling. However, I definitely recommend taking some time to review what’s available. TDSB launches evening courses for adults three times a year (Fall, Winter, Spring/Summer) which range from various topics and locations. Whether you want to learn accounting essentials, a second language, salsa dancing or graphic design, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re just seeking a hobby or getting into it with more of business-minded approach it's something to consider.

3. Online Courses(Free – $)

There are various online resources out there designed to enhance your skills and knowledge. Some of these courses are completely free while others may have a cost associated with them. Generally speaking you can take courses that vary from digital marketing, software development, photography, business, etc. These trainings are things you can use to further market yourself to employers and make great additions to your resume so I definitely suggest using it to your advantage.

(Side note, I’m someone who likes to practice what they preach. I actually recently registered for a Entrepreneurship course being offered by MaRS Discovery District. I’ll let you know how it goes!)

4. Community Workshops (Free - $$)