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What Is an Adult School?

Adult schools are designed to provide training for students over the age of 16 who have not completed high school or who wish to further their education. Adult schools can provide classes in career training, language skills, test preparation and continuing education.

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Adult Schools Overview

Adult schools are available for adult learners and offer everything from GED preparation programs to vocational training, often at little to no cost. Adult education can also be provided through community, technical and vocational colleges, as well as high schools and community centers. Many adult schools offer child care facilities for students with young children. People working a full-time job can take many of the classes in the evenings and on weekends.

Some adult schools also offer online classes. A student can take classes at his or her convenience, which may help people who work or who have personal commitments that prevent them from completing an in-person educational program. Adult schools most commonly offer courses and programs covering English as a second language (ESL), citizenship training, career education, community education and GED exam preparation.

English as a Second Language

ESL courses are offered at most adult schools. These classes review English grammar so that students can both speak and write correctly in English. The courses also help students reduce their accents and communicate properly in the workplace.

U.S. Citizenship

Adult schools may offer classes that prepare students for the U.S. citizenship interview and test. These classes often integrate English language skills with lessons on American history, government and civics. Individuals can seek help filling out their application and may undergo practice interviews with their instructors.

Career Education

Many schools provide career-oriented training programs that teach adult students skills that are specific to an occupation. Available fields of career education include food service, insurance billing, nursing, groundskeeping and office administration. Public schools that are operated by the government or a school district may not charge tuition, making it easier for an adult to access them. Private schools also offer career education, usually with tuition costs. A database of all private vocational schools across the nation can be found at RWM (

Community Education

Many adult schools, community colleges and even universities provide community education courses for adults in a variety of subjects. These courses may cover important life skills like computer technology, personal finance or better parenting. They may also allow adults to pursue certain hobbies and interests, such as photography, dance and cooking.

GED Preparation

Many adult schools offer General Educational Development (GED) exam preparation, which can allow students to earn their high school equivalency certificate. Classes are available through self-paced online study or through traditional in-person classes. Courses can be taken in both English and Spanish. These prep classes cover the four areas of the 2014 GED exam: reasoning through language arts, social studies, mathematical reasoning and science.

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