Work Life

11 Places that Offer Free or Low Cost Classes for Adults

11 places that offer free or low cost classes for adults

As someone who loves to learn new things, the crisp, fall back-to-school weather reminds me it’s time to tackle a new skill. I got to thinking about all of the places I’ve taken classes over the years. If you’re a lifelong learner too, maybe you’ll find a new place on this list to check out and feel inspired to learn something new.

Who knows what you could accomplish during the next school term! What skills to learn, books to read or subjects to study are on your life list?

Here are 11 places worth checking out:

Adult Community Education Programs – Most school districts offer courses for adults on topics such as cooking, personal finance, computers, arts and crafts, yoga, social dance, foreign language and more.  Contact your school system for local information.

Churches and Worship Centers – Of course most places of worship offer scripture study groups and fellowship get-togethers, but many also provide career networking events and job search classes for professionals in transition.

Hobby Shops – Depending on your passion, you can find classes from beginner to advanced level right where you like to shop.  Check your favorite stores for demos and classes on arts and crafts, e-readers, cake decorating, pet care and home remodeling.  Join the mailing list of your favorite stores, check their websites or ask for class information at the customer service desk.

The Unemployment Office or Local Workforce Center – Besides providing employees in transition with employment information, these centers offer a wide array of classes on everything from job-hunting after 50 to getting started on LinkedIn.  Many of these classes are open to the general public.  Some centers even provide tuition assistance for those who are unemployed to update their skills by taking courses at local community colleges.

Meetup.com – There is a group of like-minded individuals for every interest under the sun at this free online site.  Join Meetup, set up your profile and start searching for groups you would like to join.  Meetups are held in person in a public space with other members from your own community.  Some Meetups are purely social, some offer networking opportunities and others provide educational seminars on a selected topic.

The Public Library – In addition to organizing book clubs, most local libraries offer classes for the community on a myriad of topics such as ESL, starting your own business, gardening, resume writing, computer applications, genealogy and more.  Visit your library’s website or ask a librarian for more information.

Your Job – Don’t overlook your job as a potential place to grow your skill set in new areas.  Many employers host courses for employees on a variety of work-place skills.  Many even offer tuition re-imbursement benefits if you take college courses that relate to your position.  Check with your Human Resources department.

Clubs & Social Groups – Most clubs invite speakers to monthly meetings or group get-togethers.  These listings are often found in neighborhood newspapers or posted on community bulletin boards.

Dance & Exercise Studios – Keep your eyes open for “first class free” specials to attract new students.  What a wonderful way to give tango, yoga or kickboxing a try.

Online Webinars – Many speakers, trainers and coaches offer free webinars as a way to promote their paid services.  It’s a great way to “meet” the professional and get a feel for their coaching or teaching style before you sign up for an extended course or personal coaching session.

Community Colleges – In addition to their degree programs, some community colleges offer Continuing Education courses for adults looking to update their skills or explore a new area of interest.  Call or check online if your local community college offers such programs and request a catalog.

What kinds of new subjects have you been thinking of studying lately or new skills you’ve wanted to try? Let me know in the comments below.

Karla Mae signing off

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