Adult Classes in Virginia with School and Program Overviews

Several community colleges in Virginia provide adult education classes through their departments of continuing education or workforce development. Prospective students can choose from a variety of professional development, technical skills or specialty courses and certificate programs. Three of these community colleges will be profiled in this article.

Virginia residents may be interested in making a career change or just adding skills to the job they have. Adult education programs are available to help with those career goals and have convenient scheduling, as well as certificate and degree plans in most cases.

Schools and Programs

Adults in Virginia seeking to develop or enhance their professional skills can find a variety of programs offered at community colleges throughout the state. They can choose to take individual courses or earn a certificate in areas such as business, real estate, computer technology or human resource management. Adult learners can also learn to speak and write English. In many cases, courses are offered online as well as on campus. Details about adult classes offered at three of these community colleges are presented below.

Schools At a Glance

Northern Virginia Community College

  • NVCC is located in Annandale and is a 2-year public college.
  • The college offers certificate and associate degree plans.

Tidewater Community College

  • Housed in Norfolk, this two-year college is open to the public.
  • Certificates and associate degree programs can be obtained upon completion of work.

Roanoke County Public Schools Adult Education

  • The Adult Education department is located in the Burton Center for the Arts and Technology campus in Roanoke.
  • The adult ed program offers classes in six different fields.

Northern Virginia Community College's Adult Education Programs

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) offers adult education programs through its Workforce Development and Continuing Education Department. Programs and courses are offered on campus and online. Most programs are geared towards adults in need of enhancing their workforce skills.

Business and Management Certificates

NOVA offers eight certificates to broaden students' business skills. Some of the available certificate topics are project management, U.S. intelligence studies, nonprofit leadership and administration, and human resource management.

Computer Certificates

Computer certificates at NOVA range from office readiness to CompTIA A+ service technician to web development. The web design certificate has a specialist and fast track option, as well as an alternative certificate in the basics.

English as a Second Language (ESL) Courses

The American Culture and Language Institute at NOVA offers intensive or part-time ESL courses to adult residents and students. Courses cover speaking, pronunciation, reading and writing. Courses focused on TOEFL preparation and computer skills for English-language learning are also offered. In addition, NOVA offers college ESL as an alternative academic program.

Professional Writing Certificate

NOVA offers a certificate program for people in business, government, and medical fields who need to be competent in professional written communication. Course topics include technical writing and writing for online resources. Elective topic options include graphic design, social media, and journalism.

Human Resource Management Certificate

Courses in this certificate program cover HR law, compensation, benefits, recruitment and compliance. The program is geared towards adults already working in HR or for those in other professions wishing to switch fields.

Tidewater Community College's Adult Education Programs

Tidewater Community College (TCC) also offers adult education programs through its Workforce Development and Continuing Education Department. Programs are designed for business professionals and tradespeople wanting to upgrade their skills or for adults wishing to embark on a new career in fields such as real estate or event planning.

Science, Technology, Engineering

TCC offers certificates and associate's degrees for construction managers, electricians, and engineers. Courses are designed to meet the continuing education requirements for license renewal for these trades.

Culinary Field Programs

Certificates in catering, classical cooking, food service management and kitchen management are available, as well as an associate's degree in the culinary arts. One vital course in this field is food service sanitation, covering topics such as biological hazards, health inspections, personal hygiene practices, food-borne illness, waste disposal and handling customer complaints. The course is designed to prepare students to meet standards according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Human Resources Management Certificate

In conjunction with the American Management Association, TCC offers a certificate program in HR management. Courses cover interviewing skills, performance appraisals, hiring and firing practices and organizational goal management.

Professional Event Leadership Program

The program in event leadership is designed for those already working in event management or those wishing to embark on a career in this industry. Topics in the course include common responsibilities, marketing, technology application, legal issues, and history of event leadership.

Roanoke County Public Schools Adult Education

The county of Roanoke offers adult education courses at their Burton Center for Arts and Technology center. Most of the classes are for basic education in certain academic areas or technical job training.


In a single school year welding courses are offered in Welding I, II and III. Individual needs for businesses can be arranged so a student can learn other types of welding like oxyfuel, plasma arc cutting, tig welding, SMAW, GMAW and more.

Building Maintenance Technology

The goal of this class is to teach basics in the business trades: carpentry, electrical, plumbing, masonry, landscaping and painting. Completion of these classes will help you receive a certificate of completion as well as an OSHA certificate.

Microsoft Office Instruction

These courses are designed primarily for businesses to train employees and can take place at your location or in one of the RCPS labs. Focus for the program will be on such Microsoft applications as PowerPoint, Excel, Access, Office Suite, Word and Publisher.

Virginia has its adult citizens covered when they are looking for an education in a career field or hoping to enhance their standing in a job they have. Colleges and public schools offer timely scheduled continuing ed classes to meet those needs with certificate and degree plans.

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