Plan Your Education

Lifelong Learning
Keeps the Journey Exciting, Changing

Today's job market demands that we make learning a lifelong process, constantly acquiring new skills, education, and training. Whether you're embarking on a totally new career in mid-life; going back for that advanced degree to help position yourself for a promotion; or volunteering in a field completely different from your paid job, lifelong learning promises a life filled with excitement, wonder, and healthy challenges. Here you'll find the information and resources you need to:

  • Return to or enter college as an adult;
  • Change careers or advance in your current field through additional training and certification;
  • Learn basic job and literacy skills to prepare for entering the workforce as an adult.

Return to or Enter College as an Adult

Attending college for the first time as an adult or returning to continue your education represents a big step. But you won't be alone. About 30 percent of undergraduates and nearly 60 percent of graduate students in Oklahoma public colleges are 25 or older. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education offer a variety of programs and services for adult students. Links are listed in the right-hand column on the Regents' Adult Students page. Other resources include:

  • Reach Higher. Oklahoma's affordable degree-completion program gives working adults an opportunity to finish their degrees while maintaining their normal work routine. Students starting with at least 72 hours of college credit can complete most assignments online and work toward a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership. Students with at least 18 hours can work toward an associate's degree in enterprise development.

  • Credit for Extrainstitutional Learning. You can get college credit for learning or experience outside the traditional educational setting. That could be life and work experiences, independent reading and study, or participation in formal courses sponsored by associations, business, government, industry, the military, and unions. You can qualify through military experience, business courses, advanced placement tests and other methods. Check individual colleges and universities for specific rules.

  • Adult Training and Development. Oklahoma Regents support a variety of scholarships and programs that can help adults upgrade their skills and earn college credit. Programs include the U.S. Navy Advanced Standing Program, the Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority, and the Oklahoma Aviation and Aerospace Educational Alliance.

College Credit at Technology Centers

Created by the State Regents and CareerTech, Cooperative Alliances create a more student-centered collaboration between technology centers and higher education institutions. Adults can receive college credit in technical courses at partnering technology centers that lead to a certificate or an associate's degree in Applied Science.

Through these alliances, Oklahoma hopes to increase the number of adults beginning or continuing their educations, expand access to college, and efficiently use federal, state, and local resources. For more information about eligibility requirements and costs, see this Cooperative Alliances FAQ from the State Regents, this CareerTech Cooperative Alliances guide, or contact your local CareerTech campus.

Change Careers or Advance in Your Current Field

The following programs, services, and resources can help you change careers or advance in your current field through additional training and certification:

  • CareerTech – A statewide network of 29 technology center districts operating on 56 campuses provide career and technology education, including apprenticeship programs, in a variety of occupations such as healthcare, information technology, advanced manufacturing, aviation, geology, applied science, and many more.

  • CareerTech EARN (Employee Assessment and Retraining Network) – A program designed to offer Oklahoma residents who have been laid off or dislocated from their jobs career guidance and technology education and training at reduced costs or for free. For more information, contact Ken Yowell, kyowe@okcareertech.org, (405) 743-5563.

  • PetroTech Certification Program – A low-cost/no-cost program offered through Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City to train geological, engineering, and land technicians for the state's oil and gas industry. Sponsored by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board.

  • Scholars for Excellence in Child Care – This partnership between the State Regents and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, gives child care workers the chance to receive their Child Development Association (CDA) credential, a Certificate of Mastery, or an associate's degree in early childhood education or child development.

Community colleges offering child development programs also provide an 18-credit-hour certificate program consisting of 15 credit hours in early childhood development and three hours of English composition to employees working in licensed child care facilities.

This partnership uses distance learning, accelerated course work, nontraditional class time, and on-site training opportunities. For more information, contact Kiki McWilliams, kmcwilliams@osrhe.edu, (405) 225-9397 or visit the Scholars for Excellence in Child Care website.

Learn Basic Job & Literacy Skills

The Lifelong Learning Section of the Oklahoma State Department of Education, offers facts and statistics about literacy; literacy resources for teachers and tutors, students, program managers, and administrators; information on grants and funding; a list of adult learning centers, and a variety of useful links and directories.

Adult education and literacy programs offered by SDE include adult basic education; corrections education; ESL (English as a Second Language) and EL/Civics; family literacy; information on the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) program; work-based education; adult education and literacy activities; and information on GED (General Education Development) testing.

Find an Adult Learning Center near you
Find a GED Testing Center near you

Workforce Oklahoma currently operates 52 Workforce Oklahoma Centers, also known as One-Stop Centers, throughout the state. These centers provide career counseling, skill assessments, training for new and incumbent workers, job search assistance, and referrals to specialized programs and services.

The centers provide Oklahoma's employers with pre-screened job applicants, labor market information, tax credit programs, and a variety of training assistance tailored to the needs of individual companies. To find your Workforce Oklahoma center, call (888) 840-WORK or visit www.workforceok.org/locator.html