The Future of Career Education

The Future of Career Education is the “Editor’s Choice” article in the February issue of the Career Education Review. Thanks to CER for publishing this article!


Unfortunately, there is no way around some critical, structural challenges currently affecting higher education in general and career education in particular.

For example, as an industry, higher ed has been in decline for a decade – and that was before the COVID pandemic – which has caused the single worst year-over-year enrollment decline of the last ten years.

Career colleges were hit hardest, early in the decline, with private nonprofits and community colleges now suffering substantial contraction. Between the late 2000s and 2018, for-profit institutions lost over one million students. Between that time and fall, 2020, traditional, nonprofit institutions have seen declines in excess of two million enrollments. Fortunately, however, 2020 saw 4% enrollment increases for four-year proprietary institutions, primarily in online programs.

In short, institutions that find a way to offer shorter, cheaper, high quality programs and credentials that lead directly to good employment opportunities, will be in high demand over the next several years as we work our way out of an economic depression and transition to the next normal in post-secondary education. The fortunate reality is that the need for post-secondary skills based and professional training is growing; it just isn’t going to be through credit-bearing degree programs, which means that in order for career colleges to survive and thrive, they will have to reinvent much of what they do.

Click here to see the full article.

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