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Careers

Boost Your Career With Professional Classes

Beefing up your skills can land you a raise or a promotion.

Melissa Maier started taking computer classes in 2005 to advance her graphic-design career. She snagged a $990 membership package with New Horizons, a computer school, that let her take unlimited software courses at the Minneapolis campus over a one-year period. Maier, 33, completed 14 one- to two-day courses during that time, including several on Photoshop, XML and Visual Basic.

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And Maier did advance. In 2006, the chemical company she works for promoted her from an administrative assistant to a Web-content and graphic designer. She says the classes prepared her well for the new position. "I have a more technical job, so really mastering these programs has made work more exciting."

New Horizons is an excellent choice for beefing up your tech skills. The school has 148 locations across the country, and many offer similar membership packages. Go to NewHorizons.com to browse the course catalog or to find the location nearest you.

You'll miss the famous campus ambience at the University of California, Berkeley, but UC Berkeley Extension offers both career-directed and liberal-arts classes online for $525 to $790. Each class counts for credit and gives you six months to finish. You can take a creative-writing course for $525, film criticism for $685 or corporate finance for $700. Go to www.unex.berkeley.edu/online for course listings and costs.

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