There are numerous options out there in terms of part-time education. Universities, Institutes of Technology, ETB’s, private college’s and various organisations throughout the country all run part time courses in some shape or form. The first thing to do is to decide if you want to do a course purely for interest purposes, or to improve your CV and gain a qualification.
Part time courses usually run for 6 – 10 weeks and cost in the region of 60 – 120 euro. Don’t despair if you’ve missed the last round, there will usually be other courses on offer again soon, and some organisations run classes all year round.
If you are looking for a course to improve your skills or develop your career, there are also plenty of alternatives. Most Universities and Institutes of Technology offer adult and continuing education courses from Certificate to Degree and Post Graduate Level. In addition there are numerous private colleges throughout the country offering courses in anything from law to counselling to computing.
Modes of study and attendance will vary, depending on the college but most are designed to accommodate people in full-time employment and usually offer evening or week-end classes. If you don’t want to attend at all then another option is online or distance learning. Check out Kilroys College or CMIT to name just a few.
It’s all about second chance education these days, so most colleges are flexible in terms of meeting part-time student needs. To that end many courses are offered on a credit basis, which means you get a certain amount of ‘points’ for each section or module of a course you complete. With this method of learning you can progress at your own pace, and work towards your qualification bit by bit. This option is often known as the ACCS mode (Accumulation of Credits and Certification of Subjects) and allows students to study a portion of a full-time programme in a part-time mode.
Another study mode worth noting is the APL mode (Accreditation of Prior Learning) which is a method of assessing a person’s prior learning in relation to particular modules in a course. Basically a college will look at what you have already done in previous studies or through work experience, and decide if you are eligible for credits or exemptions on the course you want to study.
Chances are that no matter what and how you want to study, there will be a college willing to accommodate you. There are a couple of things worth bearing in mind though:
Part-time education costs money – an ECDL for example costs upwards of €500 while a degree will generally cost much more. There is little state funding or grants available for part-time education, though college fees are tax deductable. If you are hesitant at the idea of paying full fees, consider it as an investment in your future. Also, shop around for options – some colleges for example offer courses which are part funded by Solas.
If you are looking for a course to improve your career options, make sure the qualification you receive upon completion is nationally recognised. There are many courses and qualifications out there which are only recognised by the college offering them. Whilst this can be useful if learning for personal benefit it may not be so beneficial for further study or career progression, therefore it is always a good idea to ask who accredits the course.
Follow this link to find Evening courses and Part time education on Findacourse.ie