Adults & Continuing Education
One of the great advantages to teaching adults, as opposed to children or teens, is that generally speaking, the adults want to be there. Continuing education refers to classes offered to adults for personal enrichment. These classes do not lead to a degree or certification of any kind and are generally taken for personal enrichment. Classes may include such topics as ballroom dance, ceramics, personal finance, sewing, crafts, and music. These classes are becoming increasingly popular as people embrace lifelong learning and as retirees have more time to pursue hobbies and interests. Adult and continuing education teachers are usually employed by community colleges on a part-time basis and do not receive a salary or benefits.
Community education and professional development courses can help adult learners make the transition back into the classroom.
In 4-5 weeks or so, the school year will begin. This is also a time in which many adults contemplate going back to school and continuing their education. Although many will think about returning to school, very few will actually do it. Possibly this is due to fear or doubt that one can be successful in higher education. It can also be intimidating trying to decide where and what to study.
Returning to school as an adult can be a difficult transition. But you don’t have to dive in, you can make the transition slowly.
- Consider taking community education/adult enrichment courses through your local school district. These courses are very reasonable in cost and only last a few weeks. Although they may not count toward college credit, it is a great way to get your feet wet and get back in the mode of being a student. You can also explore many different career paths through community education. Some of the classes offered include things like Microsoft Word, foreign languages, furniture upholstering, business math/accounting, landscaping and floral design.
- Enroll in a certificate program. An Associates Degree takes about two years full-time to complete, and a Bachelor’s about four years. For an adult with responsibilities, this seems like forever. Why not consider setting some short-term goals? There are many certificate programs available through community education and community colleges. Some of these include Accounting, Medical Coding/Billing, Medical Transcription, Home Inspection, Computer Repair and Certified Nurse’s Aide Training. Depending upon the program, most can be completed in one to six months. Finishing one of these programs could lead to a new career, but it is also a great accomplishment and a wonderful stepping stone to higher education.
- Take a class(es) on line. If you are intimidated by the traditional classroom environment, why not consider taking some classes on line. Many community colleges and universities now offer classes on line. Some programs can be completed entirely on line, while others will require that you take some of your coursework on campus.
- Explore professional development. If you’re a realtor, there are many professional development courses you can take through your professional association. This is the same with many other fields and professions. Explore what options might be available to you in your field. If you’re a legal secretary, consider taking some paralegal courses. Because you know your area of expertise, these classes will be easier for you to start with before exploring something new. Your employer might also be willing to pay for these classes which is a real plus.