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Adult Basic Education Certificate

Interested in working with adults or out-of-school youth who struggle with reading, writing, numeracy, and/or English language proficiency, then this online post-baccalaureate certificate is perfect for you!

The Adult Basic Education (ABE) Certificate is offered via distance learning through the Penn State World Campus.  The certificate is a 12-credit certificate that includes three required courses and one elective, which allows you to tailor the program to your specific interests.  With the certificate, you can enhance your ability to provide high-quality, research-based instruction in adult basic education, especially literacy and numeracy instruction. 

Credits earned through the ABE Certificate program are applicable toward Master of Education in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education.  Further, Penn State is an Act 48-approved provider for Pennsylvania educators, so the courses for the Post-baccalaureate in family literacy may count toward professional development hours.

For additional information, please contact Beth Grinder at or by phone at (717) 432-3498.

Admission Requirements

1.  Graduate School Admission:

  • An applicant must have received, from an accredited institution, a baccalaureate degree substantially equivalent to one awarded by Penn State.
  • The Graduate School reviews the application for academic admissibility and the certificate program determines acceptance into its program.  An admission letter from the Graduate School does not guarantee admission into a certificate program.

2.  To enroll in 400-level courses you must have completed 60 credits of undergraduate work or the equivalent.

Required courses:

  • ADTED 460:  Introduction to Adult Education:  History, methods, agencies, program areas, and problems of adult education in the United States.
  • ADTED 480:  Teaching Math and Numeracy to Adults:  Examines issues of learning math as an adult and explores effective strategies for teaching math and numeracy to adults.
  • ADTED 560:  Teaching Reading to College Students and Adults:  Reading literacy for adults, including college reading, Adult Basic Education (ABE), and General Educational Development (GED) programs.

Elective Courses (choose one):

Students may also choose from 12 different elective courses:

  • ADTED 470:  Introduction to Distance Education
  • ADTED 505:  The Teaching of Adults
  • ADTED 506:  Program Planning in Adult Education
  • ADTED 507:  Research and Evaluation in Adult Education
  • ADTED 531:  Course  Design and Development in Distance Education
  • ADTED 542:  Perspectives on Adult Learning Theory
  • ADTED 575:  Administration of Adult Education
  • APLNG 802:  Focus on English:  Teaching Form, Meaning, and Use
  • APLNG 804:  Focus on Learners:  Identify, Community and Language Learning
  • APLNG 806:  Focus on Classrooms:  Planning and Supporting Language Learning
  • APLNG 808:  Focus on Instruction:  Teaching and Assessing Language Learning
  • LDT   415A:  Systematic Instructional Development

Student Testimonials:  I think the highlight of this course was having the opportunity to learn from our peers, through group discussions and group projects.

The class has made me more aware of how numeracy fits into adult education and literacy and has already influenced the way I approach math when planning curriculum.