What Is an Adult Learning Center?

An adult learning center is a community institution that offers basic academic programs, often at an inexpensive rate. Through adult education centers, learners can take exams and improve life and work skills.

Adult learning centers provide classes for working adults who are looking to pursue continuing education options primarily at night or on weekends. High school equivalency classes, computer technology and English as a second language are examples of common classes.

Adult Learning Centers

Adult learning centers often train adult students at low prices or free of charge, with some centers having sliding scales based on family size and income. Classes at these centers are often created for working adults who can't go back to school full time. Therefore, many classes may be taken at night or on weekends.

Courses offered at these centers are usually aimed at individuals looking to earn a their high school equivalency diploma, gain technical or business training, improve their English language skills, or simply learn about a topic that they find interesting.

Finding an Adult Learning Center

Many adult learning centers are at least partially financed by local and state governments in conjunction with the local community college or K-12 school district. School boards or the state workforce development offices can provide information about local adult learning centers. Many adult learning centers also have class schedules available online.

Typical Adult Learning Center Programs

Adult learning centers often focus on essential employment skills training, such as:

  • Basic reading and writing
  • Computer technology
  • Job training

Some adult education centers offer classes focusing solely on helping students earn their High School Equivalency Certificate (HSEC) or pass remedial skills tests, which can allow them to enroll at a community college and earn a degree.

HSEC Classes

In some states, the HSEC has taken the place of the General Education Development (GED) certificate program. Prep classes teach students American high school-level skills in topics such as:

  • Language arts
  • Social studies
  • Science
  • Math

An HSEC can be used to gain acceptance to a job or postsecondary schooling. Many programs will have students take several practice HSEC exams prior to sending students to take the formal examinations.

Computer Courses

Computer classes at adult learning centers often teach adults the basics of computer technology, including:

  • Working with a mouse
  • Using word processing software
  • Browsing the Internet

Computer skills have become a prerequisite for many office jobs, including secretarial and business work. Computer classes at adult education centers can provide career skills training for workers or an introduction to technology for retirees.

ESL Classes

Adults who speak a native language other than English and have limited English skills may use adult learning centers to hone their English for employment or personal enrichment. These courses are often taught by ESL-certified professionals. Students practice reading, writing and speaking English.

For adults looking for continuing education classes that will work around their schedules, adult learning centers provide many options at low prices, or in some cases, free of charge. These classes can help with technical or business skills, English comprehension, or the pursuit of a high school diploma equivalency.

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