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Training Vs. Education: What’s The Difference?

If you are looking to advance in your field or improve your earning potential, you may be wondering whether workforce training vs. education through a formal degree program is the best route for you.

Though the words training and education are often used interchangeably, they are fundamentally different. The biggest difference between training and education is that one focuses on building skills, and the other provides a foundation for further learning. Let’s explore these concepts in more detail to determine which is right for your professional goals.

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Universities like Unity offer formal education programs that can lay the framework for career advancement or change.

What Is Workforce Education?

Workforce education (versus training) is a more continuous process of learning. While education may include learning new skills, it also is likely to provide context to those skills, such as a theoretical framework or relevant history. Education is typically focused on acquiring knowledge and the skills necessary to gain more knowledge about specific subjects. There are multiple levels of formal education with many professionals choosing to pursue a credential, certificate, associate degreebaccalaureate degree, or master’s degree.

Education usually occurs in classrooms at schools, colleges, and universities, but it can also occur online and in workplaces. For example, companies may invite educational speakers or provide a curated resource library to employees. Some companies will even pay the tuition for their employees to earn a baccalaureate or master’s degree because it is beneficial for them to invest in the education of a team member. Also, an educated individual is more likely to value and practice cultural competence in educational and professional settings. 

Both training and education rely on purposeful instructional design to effectively teach and engage students.

Unity Environmental University’s Environmental Business Programs

Unity offers much more than environmental science degrees. We have several baccalaureate and Master’s programs that educate people on how to incorporate green practices into business.

Examples of business programs we offer include:

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What Is Workforce Training?

Workforce training equips individuals with specific skills and/or knowledge. It is usually specific to an organization, job role, or task. For instance, a company may have all new employees complete the same onboarding training. New technologies or systems often require training current employees or specific teams.

Workforce training, like education, can occur online or in person. Yet, for many workforce development skills, in-person training is needed to provide hands-on practice or experiential learning. Some types of workforce training are optional, while others are required for all or certain employees. For example, all educators must complete several standardized trainings about laws and safety regulations regarding children.

a classroom of students furthering their education

Education Vs. Training: The Difference Between Education And Training

Is educating the workforce about education or training? It’s actually about both. However, when deciding what type of professional development to pursue, it’s important to distinguish between training and education options. Consider their different approaches to learning and development within the context of the workforce.

Skills Vs. Knowledge

The main goal of workplace training is to gain practical skills that can be applied immediately on the job. The main goal of education is to instill knowledge. When skills are taught in education, they are often needed for further learning to take place. Workplace education can provide individuals with a broad, conceptual understanding of their field and industry, which can be advantageous to their careers. 

In other words, education vs training is about learning to know vs learning to do. Quality education informs students of facts, concepts, and theories, whereas training focuses on applications.

Short-term Proficiency Vs. Long-term Growth

When considering the average length of training vs education programs, training programs are usually shorter. They aim to achieve proficiency quickly in the trained individuals. On the other hand, education’s goal is to foster long-term personal and professional growth. 

Research shows that formal higher education can transform an individual’s sense of self and interpersonal relationships. Other advantages of formal education for individuals and society as a whole include more:

  • Environmental stewardship
  • Technological literacy 
  • Financial stability
  • Civic engagement

Discover popular green jobs and research the training and education required to succeed in them. 

Specialized Abilities Vs. Comprehensive Insight

Training often concentrates on developing specialized abilities essential for particular tasks. Educational programs provide comprehensive insight aimed at developing a deeper understanding of a field. For example, if you work in the regenerative travel or sustainable hospitality industry and want to advance to management, you may have the choice between a manager-in-training program at your job or a tuition stipend to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management. Both could advance your career, but the approaches they take are very different.

Immediate Use Vs. Progressive Integration

The skills learned in workforce training are usually immediately applicable in the workplace. However, with education, there may not be a direct correlation between what you are learning and how you can apply it in your career. Instead, you may notice a gradual integration of knowledge from educational programs. This is part of the reason why both education and training are so important to professional success for individuals and businesses, as they operate on different timelines. 

Unity Environmental University Offers Flexible Distance Education

Both education and workforce development are vital to individual and collective growth. The key is not to choose between them but to find the right balance at the right times. If you are leaning toward formal education, you can earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree completely online at Unity Environmental University. Just filter by Distance Education programs in our Program Search. We offer multiple start dates throughout the year, meaning you can begin your degree when you are ready.