What is Adult Education?

The history of adult education classes dates back to World War II. Veterans returning home from fighting overseas received benefits through the GI Bill, including loans that helped them pay for new homes and funds for going back to school. Many vocational schools, community colleges and job training centers now offer classes and programs designed for adult learners. These programs can help you earn your degree or complete a training program that gives you the skills needed to work in various fields.

Where Can You Take Classes?

Colleges often offer these programs through their continuing education departments. These programs let you go back to school, even if you only completed a year of college or never went to college after high school. Though community colleges offer programs for adult learners, these schools often let anyone enroll and take the same classes that students right out of high school take. Vocational schools and job centers sometimes offer programs that focus more on teaching students basic skills than helping them earn a degree. Some schools also offer classes that help students earn a GED after dropping out of high school.

What Classes are Available?

The type of classes you take depends on the program you sign up for and where you take classes. If you enroll in a standard college program through a continuing education department, you can expect to take a handful of general education courses that teach you how to write and do research. Vocational schools may offer more specialized classes in your chosen field. A student in a culinary arts program will take classes on food safety, kitchen sanitation and cooking techniques. You can always check with the school and see a list of available classes before you enroll.

How Long Will It Take?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 40% of students over the age of 16 enroll in adult education classes every year. The NCES includes teenagers because most states will only let students quit high school after reaching the age of 16. Some high school drop outs leave college and enroll in a training or vocational program because they want to go to work faster without spending any additional time in school. The amount of time it takes to complete one of these programs can range from six months or less up to four years.

Why Go Back to School?

If you aren’t sure if you should go back to school and enroll in an adult education, think about your hopes and dreams for the future. You might find yourself working in a dead end job with no chance for a future promotion, or you might find yourself on unemployment and need new skills when searching for your next job. Going back to school helps you develop better skills, study topics relating to a new job or career field and even make connections with professionals working in your industry. Many schools offer job hunting assistance for students, including helping you look for jobs and write your resume.

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Any student over the age of 16 who goes back to school is an adult learner or student. Adult education programs are available at community colleges, four year colleges, job centers and vocational schools and help you develop the skills you need to work in multiple fields and positions.