The life of an adult is often burdened with financial responsibilities that accrue because of the impending need for housing, childcare, and other family expenses. Thus, adults need to leave their studies and secure employment. Adult continuing education is meant for such people – people have been educated and want to continue from the point they left off.
Adult continuing education can be of two types. The first type is the general post-secondary education, and the second is the education that is designed for a specific degree or certification. In either of the two types, continuing education is not as rigid as regular education in terms of learning methodology and stringent timeframes. The whole idea of continuing education is to help educate the adult and not impede education.
Adult continuing education is similar to adult education in concept, and it is meant to be comparable to the traditional undergraduate college or university. Adult continuing education usually includes basic instruction as in the learning of English language skills or vocational training.
Unlike traditional classroom methods of education where learning happens through instructor-led sessions, continuing education takes place through distance learning. Distance learning includes independent study, CD-ROM material, broadcast programming in radio or television, and online delivery. Continuing education is often strengthened by group-study techniques, where learners participate in conferences through television, radio, or the Internet. Additionally, these groups can also meet in seminars and workshops. Thus, any continuing education program can use either traditional, distance, and conference-type study modes or combinations of these in varying degrees.
Adult learners are also eligible for federal financial aid, which largely depends on their course loads or their previous time in school. Colleges in the U.S. today usually have an adult-services office that can help adults with information on scholarship programs, career counseling, commuting issues, and general advising. Colleges also have on-campus support groups that offer networking opportunities for the adult seeking continuing education. There are also opportunities for adults to undertake part-time work opportunities on the college campus.