Continuing education for professionals: 'experience and education are unstoppable'.

Author:Strieker, Julie

In the early 1970s, Charlie Dexter was ready to drop out of college when his dad gave him some advice.

"Stay in and get a degree because you never know when the perfect job will come up, and if you don't have the parchment, you can't get it," Dexter recalls his father telling him. Now a professor emeritus of applied business at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Community and Technical College, Dexter says, "I would not be where I am today if I didn't have my MBA degree."

Education Builds Careers

While starting a business doesn't require a degree, an MBA is a necessity for moving up in the corporate world, Dexter says. The University of Alaska is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and students can get degrees at both the Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses. Most courses are available online, which provides more opportunities for those already working who are looking to expand their education.

"From my vantage point as a community college teacher, the best way to do it is to get a bachelor's degree in whatever interests you, then go back and get the MBA on top of that," he says. "If someone is an engineer, they would be very smart to go back and pick up a graduate business degree on top of their engineering degree. I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for my bachelor's degree in tourism and my MBA."

Today, thanks to online courses, anyone can find classes to keep up their accreditation or learn a new skill, but local education entities such as University of Alaska also offer opportunities for continuing education.

Packet Networks for Industry Professionals at UAA

The University of Alaska also offers several undergraduate and graduate programs designed to offer training for real-world business needs. For example, the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) is setting up a professional development course for network and information technology professionals, according to Terrie Gottstein, special projects officer with the UAA College of Engineering. At the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), the School of Management offers a degree in emergency and disaster management tailored to the needs of business in a global landscape that sometimes includes natural disasters, potential pandemics, and terrorism. Both programs are aimed at working professionals as well as more traditional students.

UAA's Packet Networks for Industry Professionals is a collaboration between business and the university, Gottstein says. It came about because...

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