Adult Community Education

Instructor: Marissa Baranauskas
Adult community education programs can be found in all 50 states at public 2-year colleges as well as at local school districts' community learning centers. Keep reading to learn how to find these programs and get more information about the services they offer.

Instruction Offered By Adult Community Education Programs

Courses offered at community learning centers and community colleges are diverse and may vary by location. Typically, these are non-credit classes for adults who want to continue their education, and instruction can be completed in a matter of weeks. Some typical offerings are outlined below.

High School Equivalency Courses

Many community education programs have courses designed to prepare adult learners to take high school diploma equivalency exams, such as the GED, TASC, and HiSet, all of which assess test takers' reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies skills.

If you decide to take one of these exams, you can also check out the following resources. These test-prep courses cover study skills and provide you with video lessons and quizzes to help you prepare for the five main subject areas found on these exams:

Language Courses

Students interested in learning another language, whether to prepare for travel or for their own enjoyment, can find courses to help them study languages including Spanish, French, German, and Italian.

Adult community education programs might also provide English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. These courses help students improve their reading, writing, and speaking skills and include beginner courses as well as advanced courses for individuals who want to develop their conversation skills or reduce their accents. Some programs also feature courses designed to prepare students for the TOEFL iBT exam. This standardized test evaluates how well students have mastered the English language and is commonly used for admission into colleges or universities.

This TOEFL iBT Test Prep and Practice Course can be used to supplement your studies and improve your proficiency in the English language. Video lessons provide you with information about the TOEFL exam and the practices quizzes can be used to test your understanding of written and spoken English.

Career and Technical Training

Adult community education programs also offer students training they can use to enhance their employment opportunities. Several programs, for example, offer business courses for entrepreneurs or courses designed to help students explore new career fields, like interior design and event planning. Other common course options include computer training for individuals preparing to take computer hardware and software vendors' certification exams.

If you're interested in earning a Microsoft certification, you can also check out the self-paced tutorials included in these Microsoft Office Specialist courses.

Personal Enrichment

Lastly, adult community education programs commonly offer personal enrichment courses in topics ranging from health and nutrition to arts and crafts. You might find a course to teach you about cake decorating and floral design. If you're interested in learning about yoga or gardening, you could find courses for these areas as well. Some programs also offer instruction that can help you explore literature, film, or music.

Resources for Locating Adult Community Education Programs

The National Literacy Directory allows you to locate programs that provide literacy and high school equivalency courses in your community. It also provides information on GED testing centers nearby. To search the approximately 7,000 locations providing these services nationwide, simply enter your state or zip code and select which type of program you're interested in on the National Literacy Directory website (

You can also contact your local community college, school district, or state department of education to find out what adult education resources are available to you.

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