Adult Education Courses and Classes Overview

A variety of community colleges, vocational schools and other institutions provide adult education classes intended to help adult students develop competency in reading, writing, math and several other areas. These programs also aim to help adults find and keep a job.

Schools and Programs

Adult education courses are designed for adults 16 years and older. Many of these classes are available at no cost through community, technical and vocational colleges. Some popular areas of adult education include General Educational Development (GED) preparation, English as a Second Language (ESL), family literacy and citizenship training. Below are just a few examples of the many schools across the country offering adult education programs.

Schools At a Glance

School Location Class Format Programs Offered
Pima Community College Tucson AZ On-campus GED, ESL, Family Lit., Citizenship
Santa Barbara City College Santa Barbara, CA On-campus GED, ESL
Cerritos College Norwalk, CA On-campus GED, ESL
Everett Community College Everett, WA On-campus/online GED, ESL

General Educational Development

Community colleges and adult education centers usually offer GED prep classes. Students can also complete GED courses online, or they can buy books that help prepare for the test. Public libraries usually have GED prep books available.

The 2014 GED test consists of four parts and was developed by the American Council on Education (ACE). Adults who do not have a high school diploma are eligible to take the test. Other requirements to take the GED test vary from state to state and can be found through the student's particular school. The exam includes sections on language arts, math, science and social studies.

English as a Second Language

English as a Second Language (ESL) courses are often divided into basic, intermediate and advanced levels. Basic grammar and writing courses introduce non-native speakers to English grammar, punctuation, spelling and speech. Intermediate classes continue to focus on grammar and writing skills. Students also can improve their reading skills. Advanced ESL courses teach students how to structure sentences, paragraphs and essays.

Family Literacy

Several community colleges offer family literacy courses. These programs include the entire family in the learning experience. Students and members of their family can attend classes that focus on reading and speaking English, earning a GED credential, developing job skills and strengthening parenting skills.

Citizenship Training

Adult education centers can provide citizenship classes in both English and Spanish for adults preparing to take the U.S. citizenship and immigration services exam. Students learn about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Courses are designed as a study guide for the citizenship exam. Adults are also shown how to access services and resources in the community.

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