Once you've registered for a sailing course, you have registered for life. You can start whenever you like, finish whenever you like, and come back to the course whenever you like. The course you signed up for WILL NEVER EXPIRE!
Even when you finished your course, you can come back to it if you feel you need to brush up on the subject...
Yes, but don't worry. All tests are designed to be part of the learning process and are very low-key. They consist of multiple-choice questions and the NauticEd software grades your test in real-time. If you get a question wrong it will tell you instantly and help you with the correct answer. You can take the test as many times as you like. The questions are randomized so you are presented with a different set of questions each time. You can stop halfway through the test, have lunch, play with the kids, get back to work, whatever - then log back in and start where you left off. It's a no-stress environment.
Additionally, as soon as you pass the test, the sailing certification is instantly available for you to download.
The Skipper and Crew sailing courses are comprehensive courses that teach sailing across the broad range of skills you need when learning to sail competently. The sailing clinics dive deep into that specific topic. Thus you can cherry-pick the topics that you are most interested in.
Everyone who is passionate about sailing and everyone who is considering sailing as a recreational activity should take the NauticEd courses and clinics in addition to getting out on the water. These courses are designed to make you a safer sailor as well as help you and your crew enjoy the sailing lifestyle.
For example, the Maneuvering a Sailboat under Power clinic is guaranteed to save you from expensive gel coat scratches at a minimum and perhaps even much more costly damage. It will have you confidently maneuvering a large sailboat in a tiny marina under high cross-wind conditions. This is a highly recommended clinic.
If you're planning on taking the helm on a sailboat, then most certainly the Skipper Course is the place to start. It is a comprehensive course that will take you about 15-20 hours to complete. If you have a good grasp of the material, you'll pass the online test and be able to instantly download your certificate. You'll then be ready for practical helm-time instruction and the instructor will spend more time with you on practical sailing instruction rather than wasting time on theory.
If you're wanting a good understanding of what is going on - on a sailboat, then the Qualified Crew course is for you. If you'd rather participate than just watch then it's a lot more enjoyable if you understand why you're pulling on a line or adjusting the sail. Learn a few important knots that your Skipper will be able to rely upon. Take the helm and know what to do while the skipper is taking a break. Look knowledgeable in front of others on the boat. And - in the "just what if" scenario of the skipper falling over board - you'll know what to do.
Take the Bareboat Charter Clinic if you're going to charter a sailboat on a chartered sailing vacation and/or if you want to gain the Rank of Bareboat Charter Master. The clinic was written by Captain Ed Mapes and Captain Grant Headifen. Both have done extensive chartering all over the world and know all the tricks and nuances to you're your sailing vacation more safe and enjoyable. In addition, the Clinic was designed to also have your crew to take the course. This increases the fun that the crew will have and ensure they are knowledgeable about all the boat systems.