Part-time courses are credit or non-credit classes that are taken during shorter durations or for fewer contact hours than full-time courses. Many part-time courses are distance learning courses that allow a student to participate in class from home, and he or she may even be able to work at his or her own pace. The benefits of part-time courses are many, but the most obvious is the scheduling: a person can learn important skills or further his or her education with less of a time investment and perhaps even less of a financial investment.
Continuing education courses are often offered as part-time courses to accommodate the schedules of full time workers who still need to learn valuable skills to further their careers or learn a new trade. Such courses may only take a few weeks to complete, with work being done at off-hours or in small chunks. The format of the course will vary according to institution and topic, as well as by instructor, and part-time courses are usually quite accommodating to people who work full time or who cannot travel to an on-site classroom.
Other benefits of taking part-time courses include the ability to learn new skills and become certified in certain areas to further boost one's resumé or qualify for a certain job. Many students enroll in part-time courses to earn specific certifications for their jobs, or to prepare for a transition to a new job. Other courses that can be taken part time may not pertain to one's career at all, but rather to a hobby or other activity. One can become certified in first aid, CPR, or other topics that can improve health and safety. Picking up a new hobby is also an option; one can enroll in a class at low cost and commitment to see if the new activity is something he or she wants to pursue further.
Teachers commonly take part-time courses to earn a higher level degree that will place them in a higher pay bracket. A teacher with a bachelor's degree, for example, may work toward a master's degree while working full-time. Taking classes part-time accommodates a teacher's hectic schedule and allows him or her to work at his or her own pace, or in small chunks. Since many teachers have all or part of the summer free, they may choose to take courses during those months.