Adult Education Near You or Online: Learning Options for Mature Students

Adult EducationLike many adults who are eager to improve their lives through learning, you may be wondering, "Is there adult education near me?" The answer is generally yes. Plus, adult education is widely available online, providing great training options for those who need or prefer to work on their studies from home.

Adult education classes are a fantastic way for motivated people like you to prepare for a future with fewer limits. Adult ed can enable you to expand your knowledge, boost your career prospects, and enhance your overall quality of life. Whether you're looking to sharpen your basic skills, get on a path to better opportunities, or just learn more about a topic that interests you, this type of training can help you achieve your goals.

So discover adult education programs that can help you start moving toward a more fulfilling life. Simply enter your zip code into the school finder below to check out some of the options for continuing education for adults—near you and online!

Frequently Asked Questions About Adult Education



Frequently Asked Questions About Adult Education

Happy woman using on a laptopAre you ready to change your life for the better? By seeking out adult education, you can start broadening your abilities and generating new possibilities for your future.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about this type of training:

What Is Adult Education?

Adult education is a broad term that encompasses any type of training that people undertake once they are past the age for traditional schooling. So, for example, adult learning classes might be aimed at those who never finished high school and would like to earn their diplomas, those who want to improve their basic reading and writing abilities, or those who wish to gain further specialized knowledge in their fields in order to advance in their careers.

Vocational schools, technical institutes, community centers, libraries, and community colleges frequently offer programs tailored to adult learners. Classes are often held in the evenings, on the weekends, or even online in order to accommodate busy students who have jobs and other commitments. In some cases, child care services are also available.

What Is Adult School?

An adult school is a specialized center that offers training for mature learners who want to further their education. It might be based at a college or community center, or it might operate as a stand-alone facility. For example, in California, adult schools are separate entities within public high school districts and are open to students over the age of 18.

Such schools generally provide low-cost or even free education for adults. Programs typically focus on academic remediation and GED preparation, career training, English-language proficiency, parenting education, or college readiness.

Who Can Benefit From Adult Education?

Anyone can reap the benefits of skills development and lifelong learning. Adult education serves an incredibly diverse student base, including:

  • Unemployed or underemployed individuals who want to better their situations
  • Immigrants who want to improve their English and prepare for citizenship exams
  • Working professionals who want to upgrade their skills or move forward in their chosen fields

What Types of Adult Learning Programs Are Available?

Adult education covers a huge variety of areas. Here are a few of the most common kinds of programs you'll find:

1. Adult basic education

Typically aimed at people who are over 16 and not enrolled in school, these programs are designed to boost students' abilities in reading, writing, and math. Students receive instruction in grammar, reading comprehension, and sentence structure as well as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Many programs also include training in basic computer or workforce-readiness skills. The goal is to ensure that students develop the abilities they need to thrive as functional and productive members of their communities.

2. High school equivalency

Did you know that roughly 10 percent of American adults over age 25 have not completed high school?1 If you're one of them, you can change your circumstances by taking an adult education program that helps you acquire a diploma or equivalent credential.

The GED has long been the standard route to a high school equivalency credential. Most (though not all) states accept the GED, and many adult education providers offer courses to help you prepare for the exams.

However, depending on where you live, you may have other options:

  • The High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) was designed to test students' abilities in the academic areas that typically make up the high school curriculum: math, science, social studies, reading comprehension, and writing. Questions are either essay-style or multiple-choice. The HiSET is available in both digital and paper formats (unlike the GED, which is entirely computer-based).
  • The Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) is a five-part exam that covers the same subjects as the HiSET and is also available in both paper and computer formats. However, the TASC does not have an essay component; instead, it's composed of a mix of multiple-choice and short-answer questions.
  • The National External Diploma Program (NEDP) is a bit different. It enables self-directed adults who have life and work experience to earn a high school diploma by demonstrating abilities in areas such as science, history, financial literacy, and civics. Students complete a set of computer-based assignments at their own pace and meet regularly with an assessor, but they do not attend any classes or take any exams.

Some states offer only one of the above options, while others give learners a choice. Be sure to check with your state's education department to see what rules apply in your area.

3. Vocational training

Many adult education providers offer career and technical education programs that can help you prepare for rewarding opportunities in fields like healthcare, construction, office administration, and information technology. To get a sense of how much your life could change, have a look at this sample of careers you can typically train for, along with their median salaries:2

4. Continuing education

Continuing education is a bit of a catch-all phrase. It encompasses a wide range of short courses or programs aimed at adults who want to pursue formal training outside of a traditional college program. Courses are offered in many areas, including business administration, accounting, writing, and technology.

Some continuing ed classes are general-knowledge-type courses, while others lead to specific industry certifications. Individuals who work in industries like healthcare and education are often required to take continuing education credits in order to maintain their licensing.

5. Community education

Adults who need help to become proficient in English or to prepare for becoming U.S. citizens can find many courses geared toward those needs.

English as a Second Language (ESL) or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training is widely available. It focuses on basic grammar and reading as well as pronunciation and conversational skills. Some programs are geared toward adults who are aiming to go on to post-secondary training, while others are meant for students who are seeking employment or are currently in the workforce. And some are designed to help immigrants achieve the level of English proficiency that is required to pass the citizenship exam.

Courses that help immigrants prepare for the civics portion of the citizenship test are also common. They cover topics like geography, history, and the structure and functions of government. The courses themselves are often free, but you still need to pay for the actual exam.

6. Personal enrichment

You can also take adult education classes to learn more about a particular topic or hobby that interests you. Such enrichment classes can cover anything from cooking, dancing, and painting to yoga, guitar playing, and money management. Some programs are targeted at specific populations, such as new mothers, senior citizens, or adults with disabilities.


Create a More Positive Future

At this point, you may be asking yourself, "How can I find adult education near me or online?" To get started, all you have to do is enter your zip code into the school finder below!



1 United States Census Bureau, Educational Attainment in the United States: 2018, website last visited on March 28, 2019.

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on March 28, 2019.