Chicago Adult Education

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Whether seeking a GED credential or looking to improve their career skills, adults in Chicago have many educational programs from which to choose. Read on to discover what these programs have to offer.

City Colleges of Chicago

City Colleges of Chicago offers free adult education programs at its six campuses and other locations throughout Chicago. These include:

  • On-campus and online GED prep courses.
  • ESL courses.
  • Adult basic education for those who demonstrate skills at the eighth-grade level or lower.
  • Bridge programs designed to prepare students for the transition to post-secondary education or jobs in healthcare, warehousing, manufacturing, or culinary arts.
  • Classes to help immigrants get ready for the U.S. Citizenship Exam.

The Newberry Seminars Program

The Newberry research and reference library has a series of adult education seminars that focus on the humanities. These seminars are offered throughout the year and typically cover subjects such as the arts, religion, writing, theater, history, and the city of Chicago. Tuition varies, and seminar programs may range from one to eight sessions.

Graham School at the University of Chicago

The Graham School offers three adult education options:

  • Non-credit courses, which last anywhere from four to ten weeks, in a myriad of liberal arts subjects. Tuition depends on the course selected.
  • Certificate programs for career or personal growth, which consist of four to twelve courses and typically take about 18 months to complete. They are offered in nine subject areas covering the arts, business, and culture. Tuition varies.
  • One-time or shorter duration events, lectures, and seminars that focus on culture and history are held throughout the year. These range from hour-long free weekly seminars to travel-study programs that last one to two weeks and may cost $5,000 or more.

Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC)

JARC is a non-profit organization that offers free educational programs for adults. Courses and tutoring are offered to help adults prepare for the GED; improve basic math and reading skills, and learn English as a Second Language. It also provides job training, primarily in manufacturing fields that vary in length and cost. Eligible applicants can participate in some of these programs for free.

Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden offers adult education workshops and courses, along with certificate programs designed to help adults begin or advance their careers in botanical art. Courses and workshops vary in price and cover topics such as garden design, birding, horticulture, and photography. Certificate programs, meanwhile, typically take at least two years to complete and are available for different levels of expertise in areas such as: botanical art, photography, horticultural therapy, professional gardener, garden design, healthcare, and ornamental plant materials. Tuition is approximately $13/instructional hour.

Online Adult Education Courses

Adults in Chicago, who are looking for self-paced classes that they may take online at their convenience, will find courses for professional development, personal enrichment, the GED, and naturalization exam preparation. Courses are typically taught via video lessons and include quizzes and exams to gauge mastery of skills and concepts. Below are a few examples of what is available.

Type of Course Sample Courses
Professional Development Business Writing
Intro to PowerPoint
Business Math
Intro to Excel
Basics of Accounting
Technical Writing
Foreign Languages Spanish 101: Beginning Spanish
Basic French
GED Preparation GED Math
GED Science
GED Reasoning Through Language Arts
GED Social Studies
Citizenship Exam Prep U.S. Citizenship Exam Study Guide

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