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Non-credit college classes are free, but their value is immeasurable

Continuing education classes provide opportunities for adults throughout Siskiyou County.

Michelle Martin
for College of the Siskiyous
This college caters to diverse students with specific needs.

There are many reasons why people enroll in continuing education courses: to gain job skills, learn a new hobby or even improve their health. 

These non-credit classes are especially important for many adults who are busy with family or work obligations. And, for many people, they are often the first step toward enrolling in for-credit college classes — especially for those in hard-to-reach and underserved populations. 

College of the Siskiyous, a small community college located in far northern California, offers a wide range of continuing education courses that can benefit people of all ages and backgrounds. They include vocational, workforce development, technology, art, physical fitness and recreational classes — many of which are not available as part of the college’s for-credit, on-campus offerings. The classes meet online and at a variety of locations throughout Siskiyou County. 

Here’s a look at just some of the continuing education courses offered at College of the Siskiyous.

Non-credit courses

At College of the Siskiyous, education opportunities appeal to a wide variety of students.

Whether adults are hoping to start a new career, or they just want to learn new skills for an existing one, non-credit courses provide a wide range of opportunities. They include courses to help residents earn a high school diploma or build language fluency through English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction.

Non-credit courses are free, but their value is immeasurable. Although this coursework cannot be transferred toward a college-degree program, it can help bridge the educational transition to for-credit courses. Many students who are considering returning to school often start with a non-credit, continuing education class. 

College of the Siskiyous offers more than 500 career training courses, many of which can be completed in four to six months. These courses include access to a career counselor, job development assistance and externship opportunities. The college also offers over 1,000 professional enrichment classes that align with a student’s chosen career path.

Offerings include 250 different computer courses — ranging from beginning computer skills to information technology and software development classes, such as CompTIA, Cisco and Oracle; foreign languages; culinary and hospitality; skilled trades and industrial; and sustainability. In addition to English, some courses are in Spanish and Portuguese.

Professional development for teachers is also available with 25 continuing education hours for the nominal cost of $195.

Like many of the non-credit courses, these career-training classes can be completed within four weeks — and some within a few hours.

Lifelong learning and community education 

Students of all ages can learn something new.

Lifelong learning classes are also free and geared toward older adults. They include courses in computers, health and wellness, business, theater and visual arts. Through these classes, adults can keep their minds sharp while learning new skills and meeting new people.

Some classes held this semester, including body dynamics and the aging process, can help older adults implement a physical activity program. Other classes are lifelong fitness classes and include water fitness, football and soccer. Music classes are also offered, including community jazz band, concert band and chamber singers. 

Likewise, community education courses — fee-based courses that are entirely supported by student fees — are open to the entire community and taught by experienced professionals in their chosen field. Classes, such as arts and crafts, music, belly dancing and community service, are just a few of the options available as community education offerings at College of the Siskiyous. 

Classes are open to people with all levels of experience. 

Contract education 

In collaboration with businesses throughout Siskiyou County, the college’s contract education programs provide workforce development solutions that help to train and re-train the county’s workforce, revitalize the county and provide customized training courses and certificate programs that can increase a business’ bottom line.

The courses are often held on-site for employees, or in classrooms and labs that are developed specifically for a company’s training and development needs. 

Course costs, hours and location vary and are based on a business’ needs. In addition to on-site, on-campus and customized training, courses are also available for college credit and can be applied toward degree and certificate programs. 

To learn more about continuing education courses available at College of the Siskiyous, visit http://www.siskiyous.edu/continuinged/

Members of the editorial and news staff of the USA TODAY Network were not involved in the creation of this content.