I can get a small raise if I earn 7 more graduate units from an accredited school. I have no intention of earning another degree, and I could be happy with either online or in-person work. How to go about it?

I could apply to some Master's program, get accepted, enroll, and then not finish the degree, but this seems dishonest, plus I might have to take their introductory courses instead of my own choices. Would some other approach do better? Do accredited universities ever offer graduate courses à la carte?

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    I think that only in a very few fields would it be unethical to enter a degree program with no intention of finishing. Medicine is one of these and the reason is that "seats" in a class are expensive for the institution to maintain because of labs and other needed resources to support a student. On the other hand, acceptance into such a program is almost equivalent to graduation since the school has such a strong commitment to keeping you so the resources don't get wasted. That is not typical, of course. A seat in Mathematics is just a seat, though leaving a research group may cause problems. – Buffy Jul 16 '18 at 10:00

I believe the term you might be looking for is a "non-degree seeking student". Many colleges - at least in the US - allow students to pay per credit-hour of course they take, with the explicit arrangement that they will not count towards a degree. Exact requirements, costs, and arrangements vary by University, but here is some info about the options at Michigan for example. Michigan's School of Education has its own page on this, with additional options.

The 'catch' is mostly money, whether or not you can get classes that interest you (Universities might reserve some classes for their own degree-seeking students first), and whether or not courses taken in such a way will count according to your employer (you'll have to check with them on that).

As for the money, non-degree seeking students generally receive no form of financial aid or tuition assistance, and in the US I would be surprised if you could take even 1 course for less than $1000, but the exact cost will vary wildly by University and program.

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Often there are legally independent professional education institutions associated to a university which offer courses but the credits are given by the university (in our university we are having such a model).

You are enrolled in dedicated courses and you'll have to pay for it, the professors are giving their courses as sideline job.

The benefit is, that you are just paying what you need and you'll get a certificate. The downside is, it might be more expensive (at least in Germany).

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