An Overview of Adult Education Courses

Adult education includes a variety of topics and takes place in many settings.  Generally, studies can be placed into one of three categories: Education & Literacy, Career & Technical Education, and Community College.  This guide offers top resources in each category.

Education & Literacy

Quick Fact: The US high school dropout rate in 2008 was 8%. (IES)

Adult education and literacy programs focus on providing adults with basic knowledge in reading, writing, mathematics, civics, English language, and health (OVAE).  Classes take place in high schools, libraries, and through distance education.  Here are some great basic skills resources:

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab – This Purdue Owl page offers resources for ESL students and teachers, including information on grammar and workplace writing.
  • The Center for Civic Education – The center lists resources for K-12 and adult learners.  Topics such as the elements of democracy and the US Constitution are covered.
  • PBS Literacy Link – PBS brings adult learners an educational site that prepares them for the GED, as well as teaching workplace readiness and basic skills.


Career & Technical Education

Quick Fact: Each year, 21-23% of students complete occupational paths of study. (IES)

Career and technical programs provide adult learners with high demand skills to help them earn better wages (PCRN).  These resources will aid adult learners in choosing a career:

  • CareerLink Inventory – This questionnaire is designed to be a first step in a career search.  The survey explores aptitudes, interests, temperaments, physical capacities, working conditions, and career preparation time.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook – The OOH lists training requirements, earnings, job prospects, job tasks, and working conditions for hundreds of careers.


Community College

Quick Fact: There are nearly 2,000 community colleges in the US. (AACC)

Community colleges provide adult learners with the opportunity to gain skills and earn credits toward an undergraduate degree.  Community colleges often provide the convenience of evening and weekend classes, making them a valuable resource for adult learners.  These resources will help in choosing a college:


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