Professional training: Courses to boost your career

Considering professional training to move your career to the next level? We’ve paired five skill-enhancing study options with popular professions.

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Illustration: Ana Benaroya


Profession: Small-business owner
Course: Internet Marketing Strategies

You’ve got a small business that’s chugging along with a decent profit margin and a loyal following, but you haven’t found the time to launch and manage a meaningful online presence. If that accurately summarizes your situation, sign up for this primer in Internet marketing at NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS)  (212-998-7150, scps.nyu.edu; begins Oct 29; eight sessions $825), part of the Digital Media Marketing certificate program. It introduces participants to a wealth of valuable marketing tools and strategies that can be put to use right away, such as e-mail marketing and newsletters, display advertising, Web design, Web functionality, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media. The course places a particular emphasis on the essentials of how to set up e-commerce and use direct marketing techniques that can truly ramp up business.

If you’ve got a functional website already but want to shift your social-media engagement into high gear, take the school’s “Examining Social Media Networks” course (begins Sept 26; eight classes $825) instead. It focuses on strategies with which businesses can interact with existing and prospective customers, such as setting up user-generated content platforms, and practical ways for companies to convey their core brand message.

Profession: Architect or interior designer
Course: Sustainable Building, Infrastructure Design and Management

Green building design has skyrocketed into an in-demand and profitable sector, not only because of the growing need to heal the planet, but also because it saves corporations money in the long run by decreasing operating costs. Pratt Institute’s seven-course certificate in Sustainable Building, Infrastructure Design and Management is intended to enhance the skill sets of architects, engineers, interior designers and construction professionals, among others, in order to take on the challenges of working in a world with diminishing economic and environmental resources. Each seven-hour course costs $295, is offered on a Saturday or Sunday, and can be taken individually, on a noncredit basis—with the exception of the “Capstone Project,” which is for certificate students only and has program-specific prerequisites.

“Climate Change Fundamentals for Design and Management Professionals” (Sept 21) gives participants an overview of the field, investigating the concept of the carbon footprint and instructing on how to measure greenhouse gas emissions. It also covers design strategies that can reduce emissions in such fields as architecture, interior design, transportation and product design. Students will be introduced to various green standards, such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protecton Agreement, USGBC LEED, the Kyoto Protocol, and the 2010 and 2030 Imperatives. After reviewing the basic lessons of the first course, “Designing and Renovating Carbon Neutral Buildings” (Oct 19) aims to equip students with tools for designing a new sustainable building or renovating an existing one to make it more energy-efficient. They’ll learn how to measure carbon and energy footprints in structural as well as operational building systems, and study successful carbon-neutral buildings in order to apply those paradigms to a building or renovation project.

Other classes on the curriculum include “New Technologies—Smart Grid and Smart Buildings” (Sept 28), which introduces students to buildings that automatically control their own climate and energy, and some of the cutting-edge energy technologies that make them possible, such as solar panels, thermal green roofs, and geothermal heating and cooling. The class also covers the financial side of green design, from software used for budgeting to federal and state rebates. “Performance Modeling for Carbon Neutral Buildings” (Oct 26) gets participants acquainted with building performance modeling techniques—estimating the energy load of lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation systems—and the software tools that make it possible, while “Sustainable Standards for Buildings and Infrastructure” (Nov 9) gives students an overview of green building standards, including EPA Energy Star, BREAM and LEED, and the chance to apply them in a hands-on class project.

The culmination of the immersive program is the seminar “Capstone Project—Sustainable Building and Infrastructure Design and Management” (Dec 14), in which students complete two in-class projects that simulate the retrofitting or renovation of an existing building or facility (such as a port or terminal)—or the creation of an entirely new building project—by using green standards and green technologies to pull off a successful sustainable-design and management plan.

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