Santa Barbara Adult Education Programs and Classes

Santa Barbara is in close proximity to a large number of schools, including four colleges of the California Community Colleges system. Many of these colleges offer adult education programs and classes in a variety of professional and personal growth areas. Three of these institutions and their programs are discussed in-depth in the following article.

View Popular Schools

Santa Barbara offers several options to students looking to expand their education, get started in a new career or just continue a path of lifelong learning. Below are three schools with opportunities to pursue a variety of educational endeavors. These schools may offer degrees, certificates and job training programs as well as non-credit wellness programs.

Schools and Programs

Santa Barbara residents seeking to develop or enhance their professional skills or further develop a personal interest can do so through a variety of adult education programs offered in and around this city. Some programs result in a degree or certificate, while others offer non-credit classes. Studies can last from a few weeks up to two years. Career-minded learners can enroll in programs designed to prepare them to pursue a wide range of employment opportunities, including those in nursing, accounting, food preparation, computer engineering, medical radiography, and education.

Classes designed to help adults improve their artistic skills, learn a foreign language or get fit are also available. Details about three of the schools providing these types of studies to adults in Santa Barbara are presented below.

Schools At a Glance

Santa Barbara City College

  • This school is a two-year community college located in the city of Santa Barbara, CA.
  • It has high school diploma and GED programs as well as certificate and associate degree programs that can be completed online and on-campus.

Center for Lifelong Learning

  • CLL is an on-site adult school under the SBCC banner.
  • It offers standalone courses in over 25 areas of study on weekends, evenings and weekdays.

University of California - Santa Barbara Extension

  • UC Santa Barbara Extension is the continuing education division of the main university.
  • The institution offers certificates, professional sequence awards and courses in around 13 areas of study.

Santa Barbara City College's Adult Education Programs

Santa Barbara City College's Career and Life Transitions program provides counseling, support and scholarship opportunities to adults over the age of 25 who are returning to school or beginning their college education. Adults may take classes toward a degree or certificate or for personal enrichment.

Nursing Program

Santa Barbara City College offers a variety of options in nursing education. Home health aide and certified nursing assistant classes provide basic nursing instruction. Vocational and registered nursing programs provide education that prepares students for higher-paying nursing jobs.

Accounting Program

Accounting classes in public, private and government accounting and accounting management provide students with fundamental career skills. Classes geared toward immediate employment include an accounting and bookkeeping certificate and a skills competency award in bookkeeping.

Computer Network Engineering & Electronics Program

The Department of Computer Network Engineering offers classes in LAN and WAN networking, preparing students for careers as Internet/intranet administrators, network administrators, network designers and network engineers. Classes may be taken toward an associate's degree or a technical certificate in one of several specialty areas.

Radiography Program

This program provides students with the necessary skills for working in X-ray departments. The 24-month program includes classes in laboratory practice and theory, culminating in an associate degree.

Culinary Arts and Hotel Management Program

Although the school is combined, students may choose between the culinary and hotel programs. Classes are offered in baking and pastry, hospitality, human resources and personal chef training. The courses emphasize hands-on training in real hospitality business environments.

Center for Lifelong Learning's Adult Education Programs

Although the Center does not generally provide certificates, many of its classes can be used to earn continuing education units (CEUs), particularly for nursing and family therapist students. Classes are open to all adults 18 years of age or over. A high school diploma is not necessarily a prerequisite, as long as the prospective adult student is able to benefit from instruction.

Nature, Science, and Recreation Classes

The Center offers a variety of courses for personal interest and development. Some of the class subjects offered include natural history hikes, local birdwatching, and stargazing/astronomy (hosted at the Santa Barbara planetarium).

Art Classes

Students may take art classes for enrichment or skill development. Classes for adults are offered in drawing, clay modeling, jewelry, photography and other areas.

Fitness Classes

Classes for adults are offered in yoga, belly-dancing, hiking and pilates, among others. Lecture classes exploring concepts such as human biology and health are also often available.


Instruction is available in Spanish and French, with a variety of classes to meet the skill level and comfort of students. Literature and personal writing classes are also available.

UC Santa Barbara Extension's Adult Education Programs

The Extension school is located on the main campus of UC Santa Barbara right on the coast. The school offers standalone courses and certificates as well as professional sequence awards that allow students to design their own course of study. These programs are aimed at career professionals, international students and UC Santa Barbara students looking to enhance their degrees. Listed below are just a few of the available fields of study. All of them offer some of the required courses online.

Accounting/Leadership/HR Certificate Programs

UC Santa Barbara's Extension school has two certificate programs in accounting. The business accounting program includes 32 units of prerequisite and core coursework, while the professional accounting program includes 44 total units. There is also a business leadership certificate that takes 20 units and a human resource management certificate that can be attained with 32 units of core course requirements and electives.

Marketing Certificate Program

The marketing certificate allows students to put together their own program of study using 10 required units and 6 units of electives. The program fills the needs of professionals seeking to expand their knowledge of the marketing world of the 21st century and the realm of internet advertising.

Paralegal Certificate Program

The Extension school's paralegal certificate is an ABA-approved, 36-unit program designed to prepare students for immediate employment in a law firm or other legal agency. To qualify for this program, students need to have finished at least 37 semester units' worth of general education requirements in a bachelor's degree program.

Project Management Certificate Program

The project management certificate is perfect for those looking to improve their ability to run complex projects within organizations, industries and even government agencies. The program requires 18 units, and most of them can be taken online.

Thanks to the large number of schools located in or near this coastal city, the continuing education options are plentiful, regardless of whether a student is looking for a degree, certificate or an individual course to further their interests in a certain area. These adult education opportunities are available on weekdays, weekends and evenings as well as online and on campus.

Next: View Schools

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?