By Laura Grasso
Whether we’re entering economic recovery is debatable, but it cannot be denied that New York City’s 400,000 unemployed confront a profoundly changed job market. Many will have to add to their resumes to land the next job. That makes now a good time to go back to school for a few courses, a new certification, or even another degree.
Many people have been jolted off their chosen career track and now need to make a drastic detour onto another path. Others need to add to their skills to make themselves even more marketable.
Opportunities for learning and growing abound through a multitude of continuing education resources available in the city. A good starting point is New York University’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies, with courses on how to map out a career change (Mid-Career Change, Fast Track to a Career Change).
While courses at NYU or Columbia School of Continuing Education can add impressive sparkles to a resume, look into offerings outside of the major universities. The website and job network Mediabistro offers hundreds of courses in writing, new media, television, public relations, photography, and information design. This company and others boast helpful communities of like-minded individuals, and draw instructors who work both at the city’s colleges and in private industry. Courses provided by such organizations are often more affordable than at local colleges, but have a reputation for being hit-or-miss. A quick Internet search can help identify the most reputable teachers.
New Yorkers would be wise to investigate the city’s expected growth industries, such as new media, the environment, and digital advertising. Local government agencies and departments are working to increase the job openings in these targeted industries. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has developed “Eight Initiatives to Strengthen the Media Industry in New York City,” and much funding is dedicated to environmental employment, such as one expected to bring 1,700 new “green-collar” jobs to the Brooklyn Navy Yard district.
Educational institutions are certainly keeping up with job seekers’ desires to gain an edge into the city’s growth industries. Hunter College’s continuing education department offers “Greening Your Professional Career.” Or, learn about re-branding while earning a Certificate in Digital Media Marketing from NYU or Pace University. Another area with expected job growth is translation and interpretation. Countless schools, organizations, and private individuals (check craiglist.com) are ready to help workers brush up on foreign language skills.
The health care industry has perhaps the greatest predicted growth rate. While it’s a long academic and financial haul to enter medicine as a second career, whether to become a nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or doctor, there are plenty of resources to help explore options. NYU, Columbia, Hunter, Hofstra, and City College all offer post-baccalaureate pre-medical degrees. The field of Eastern Medicine is growing as well. The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Flatiron is part of one of the largest schools of its type, and offers Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Herbology programs.
A favorite for adults seeking further schooling, the artsy New School presents continuing education in various General Studies areas pertinent to NYC career changers (e.g., writing, food studies, foreign languages, humanities, media studies, business management, performing arts, etc.). Continuing education courses at the New School are unusual in that non-credit students join degree-seekers in the classroom. They pay less tuition and are not required to complete out of class assignments for grades. The combination of students from all stages of life and backgrounds can create an inspiring New York City microcosm of education. An added benefit to starting coursework is that sitting in classes quickly increases a person’s network in the newly chosen field.
Pragmatic minds may feel comfortable earning a certificate at the Pratt Center for Continuing and Professional Studies: Computer-Aided Design and Visualization, Project Management, and Real Estate are a few of the available options. Artists thrive in NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts non-credit certificate programs in Film, Dramatic Writing, and Photography. The Writers Studio in the West Village specializes in fiction and poetry. Good research will turn up respected individuals offering training in specialized areas, such as Ivy Naistadt’s workshops and private coaching in public speaking and delivering powerful presentations.
These programs are just a sampling of the opportunities NYC’s continuing education industry affords career changers. Chances are high for finding the right courses to fit a person’s budget, schedule, and career plans. And when the recession is really and truly over, those who have spent extra time in a classroom, will be prepared to make a run at that perfect job.
New York University’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies
Columbia School of Continuing Education
Hunter College Continuing Education
Pace University Continuing Education
Hofstra University Continuing Education
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
New School Continuing Education
Pratt Continuing and Professional Studies
The Writers Studio