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Continuing Adult Education

Continuing Adult Education

Investigating Continuing Adult Education

With today's competitive job market and a society that is increasingly information-driven, there's no time like the present to investigate options for continuing adult education. It may come as a surprise, but 43 percent of American students pursuing higher education are over the age of 25, says the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). The old saying, "it's never too late to learn," is truer than one might think.

Adult students are classified by the NCES as non-traditional students. They return to school after delaying postsecondary education for any number of reasons; to start a family, to take 'time off' or to investigate different career choices. Sometimes the adult student simply wants to fulfill a personal goal; perhaps a new job requires another level of education. According to the Digest of Education Statistics , nearly a quarter of adults participate in a continuing adult education program for their careers.


From the local community college to the marble halls of Harvard and Princeton , almost every university offers programs designed to meet the unique needs of the adult student. Because adult students often juggle part time learning with full time children and jobs, they have different priorities than the traditional full time student. Therefore, continuing adult education programs provide a number of helpful options:

  • Adult education programs are more flexible with regard to course scheduling, holding classes during the day, in the evening and on the weekends.
  • Courses can be taken for credit or non-credit depending on the adult student's individual goals.
  • These programs offer a wider range of financial options for the adult student.
  • Continuing adult education programs are open to students of all ages. Senior citizens receive discounts.
  • Recognizing that adult students have already achieved a number of important life and work skills, these programs offer different forms of life and career advising to suit individual needs.

A variety of resources are available if you plan to look further into a continuing adult education program in your area:

The U.S. Department of Education provides general information on adult education across the nation at www.ed.gov.

The non-profit American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) is a membership organization that offers conferences and resources. Find them at www.aaace.org.

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a non-profit membership organization that covers an array of topics from tuition assistance to learning assessments at www.cael.org.