Short courses are series of educational classes that are usually attended by adults in order to receive a specific kind of training over a rather short period of time. The term "short courses" is often used in the United Kingdom and Australia to describe these sorts of classes. In the United States, "short courses" are more often referred to as "condensed courses." These courses are usually taken outside of the constructs of a degree program and may even be offered by schools without accreditation.
One of the unique aspects of short courses is that they can either be taken voluntarily for personal growth and edification, to improve upon one's professional skills, or to develop a new skill to use in the workplace. For example, someone might decide to take a short course in pottery or archery simply to take up a new hobby. On the other hand, someone may decide to take a short course in a particular type of computer program in order to be more effective at work.
Alternatively, someone may decide to take a short course that will help them to develop a skill that will parlay into an entirely new career. Someone who wanted to begin work in the fitness industry, for example, might take a short course in fitness instruction. These sorts of short courses that are intended for use as credentials for a new career should almost always be taken through an accredited institution.
Sometimes employers will cover the costs of short courses. For example, if a valued employee would like to take courses in a foreign language to be able to better serve clients or customers, the employer may pay for the tuition as the skills developed within the course will directly benefit the company. Information on this type of tuition reimbursement is usually found in company policy handbooks or employee handbooks.
Sometimes people take short courses in order to boost their skills before beginning new job searches. This can be especially important if there is a new kind of technology in a person's field with which he should be better acquainted before trying to find a new position. Having extra skills is often a way to distinguish oneself in the interview process and improve one's chances of getting the job. Also, having additional skills can often help people to boost their salaries if their skills are seen as valuable in the eyes of their employers or future employers.