Encore Colleges: By State

Encore.org partnered with 40 community colleges to create pathways to encore careers in education, health care, social services and the environment for adults over 50. Some colleges trained students for specific encore roles, such as adjunct nursing instructors and elementary and secondary school teachers, and some created programs to help adults explore fields of interest and determine the next steps in their hunt for a meaningful encore career.

To help you locate the nearest encore colleges, the colleges listed below are organized by state. You can also view encore college by practice and sector, and organized alphabetically.

Although some of these programs are no longer accepting students, the experiences from these programs will continue to shape the development and enhancement of workforce programs to be more open and engaging for plus-50 adults seeking encore careers.

If you are interested in enrolling in one of the programs described below, contact the college to ensure that the program is still accepting students. If it isn’t, ask about other encore opportunities at the college.


GateWay Community College (Phoenix, Ariz.) – Trains boomers as in-home caregivers. To ensure the program builds the skill-sets that employers need, the college joined forces with local employers.

Rio Salado College (Tempe, Ariz.) –Recruits plus-50 adults to become teachers in this online teacher certification program. The program works in partnership with local partners, including AARP.


Coastline Community College (Fountain Valley, Calif.) – Exposes older students to a wide variety of gerontology and elder-care careers in this introductory course that also builds the skill sets that employers in the gerontology field need.

Ohlone College (Newark, Calif.) – Offers opportunities for plus-50 adults to learn more about green jobs, including an “Expanding Green Opportunities with Encore Talent” symposium; train-the-trainer course for plus-50 green entrepreneurs looking to help others interested in starting green businesses; and training for those interested in mentoring at-risk populations, such as inner-city youths, displaced workers and ex-offenders looking to retrain for green jobs.


Community College of Denver (Denver, Colo.) – Enhances existing services to meet the needs of older students moving into health care fields. The college also provides training for faculty and staff to encourage a welcoming and nurturing culture for encore students.

Morgan Community College (Fort Morgan, Colo.) – Offers accelerated training programs for plus-50 adults interested in health care careers. A student navigator recruits and assists encore students and provides help with job placement in health and social service organizations.


Community College of the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) – Offers an eight-week program that trains older adults as disability support professionals who work with adults with physical, developmental or age-related disabilities in a variety settings.


Broward Community College (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) – Offers free seminars and two months of career counseling to help boomers explore local encore career and service opportunities.

Florida State College at Jacksonville – Provides a fast-track certification program that has been adapted to include customized support and job placement assistance for plus-50 adults who want to become home-based and community-based health care assistants.

Polk State College (Winter Haven, Fla.) – Trains people over 50 with bachelor’s degrees to become teachers. The program added individual mentoring, computer training, peer support programs and math instruction for plus-50 adults to an existing K-12 alternative teacher certification program.


Harold Washington College (Chicago, Ill.) – Recruits adults over 50 with master’s degrees to become college adjunct instructors. Prospective adjuncts learn how to use educational technology effectively and how to design student-centered learning.

John A. Logan College (Carterville, Ill.) – Recruits, trains, and places adults over 50 in health care, transit, social service and education jobs in partnership with local public and private employers.

Joliet Junior College (Joliet, Ill.) – Trains encore students to become certified pharmacy technicians in four months. Partners with practicing pharmacists and local and national employers to ensure job placement for certified students.

Parkland College (Champaign, Ill.) – Retrains experienced nurses and other licensed professionals to work as classroom assistants providing assistance to college students in challenging courses in the health care field.


Owensboro Community and Technical College (Owensboro, Ky.) – Trains experienced nurses to become adjunct nursing faculty at the community college level in partnership with the local healthcare system.


Anne Arundel Community College (Arnold, Md.) – Provides two free online webinars to older students interested in health care careers in the college’s “Allied Health Pathway for Encore Careers” initiative.

Baltimore City Community College (Baltimore, Md.) – Offers an executive outplacement model to help African-American women over 50 develop the skills they need to transition to encore careers.

Prince George's Community College (Largo, Md.) – Provides plus-50 adults interested in health careers with comprehensive career and life coaching, job search skills and resume development. The college built an advisory board with local employers to make the case for encore talent in the community and at the college.


Cape Cod Community College (West Barnstable, Mass.) – Helps boomers earn certificates or degrees in early childhood education, health care and human services. The encore efforts are built on existing programs, which provide academic advising and support services, including plus-50 career advisers, peer mentors and noncredit workshops to ensure student success.

Middlesex Community College (Bedford, Mass.) – Trains professionals in a semester-long certificate program to become adjunct teachers in developmental English, math, and clinical nursing at Massachusetts community colleges.


Grand Rapids Community College (Grand Rapids, Mich.) – Offers a course that increases the employability of students interested in encore careers in health care. The college also expanded local employer connections through a new employer training program.

Macomb Community College (Warren, Mich.) – Offers an online learning component as a part of the college’s elder care specialist training. The new online mentoring program uses alumni as mentors. Additionally, a free information forum and webinar to promote health care and gerontology career training was offered in partnership with AARP.

Washtenaw Community College (Ann Arbor, Mich.) – Offers all-day encore career workshops for mid-career professionals who have lost jobs (white and blue collar) and want retraining to find social-purpose work.


San Juan College (Farmington, N.M.) – Educates older adults about available encore career pathways in education, health care and social services. The program provides support services for plus-50 adults, including re-careering classes, support groups, training in test anxiety, study skills, time management, tutoring services and a resource center.


Atlantic Cape Community Colleges (Mays Landing, N.J.) – Trains professionals with prior experience in health and management to teach adult basic education, health, and English as a second language (ESL) to adults going back to school. Hybrid (classroom and online) courses focus on instructional technology, adult learning theory, course development and classroom management.

Union County College (Cranford, N.J.) – Trains professionals to be adult literacy teachers through the college’s Workforce Educator Academy. Workshops, internships and one-to-one counseling are provided to help participants secure adult education jobs.


LaGuardia Community College (New York, N.Y.) – Recruits older immigrants who have worked professionally in the social services and health care fields in their native countries and trains them for employment as bilingual community health workers who provide people in underserved communities with needed health information and services.

Westchester Community College (Valhalla, N.Y.) – Provides a 60-hour curriculum for veteran primary-care nurses who want to become clinical nursing instructors and supervisors for nursing students in a wide range of health care settings.


Central Piedmont Community College (Charlotte, N.C.) – Offers career coaching and peer networking opportunities to help experienced managers and executives transition to the nonprofit sector.

Southeastern Community College (Whiteville, N.C.) – Recruits older low-income workers interested in working in emerging green encore careers.


Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City – Trains retiring business professionals to become developmental studies instructors for students underprepared for college in reading, writing or math skills.


Portland Community College (Portland, Ore.) – Provides a peer mentoring program for students over 50 who are enrolled in the college’s gerontology certificate or degree program to help improve student support and boost retention.


Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, Pa.) – Trains professionals to become certified medical office managers who work in physicians’ offices, medical clinics, medical practices and hospitals.

Northampton Community College (Bethlehem, Pa.) – Trains older adults to become home health aides, nurse’s aides and home care aides through a 100-hour training course designed to help students learn more about technology, ergonomic safety and customer service.


Greenville Technical College (Greenville, S.C.) – Offers a nurse refresher course to help experienced nurses with lapsed licenses find employment as nurses in alternative health care settings.


Collin College (Allen, Texas) – Provides fast-track certification for those who want to become high school math and science teachers. The program focuses on boomers laid off or retired from engineering and technology careers.

Houston Community College (Houston, Texas) – Helps encore students complete an associate degree and identify career options in the health field in the college’s existing Community Health Worker program. A part-time coordinator helps encore students enroll, navigate college systems, and identify internships and job leads.


Virginia Community College System’s EducateVA program (Richmond, Va.) – Conducts special marketing and recruitment efforts to attract more boomers with college degrees to its existing Career Switchers Program – a statewide fast-track teacher licensure program.


Community Colleges of Spokane (Spokane, Wash.) – Offers course to help older adults explore the nature of green jobs, learn how to become employed or enroll in additional certification training and make smooth transitions to green jobs.

Whatcom Community College (Bellingham, Wash.) – Offers fast-track training programs for adults over 50 who want to work in health care. The college built a public-private alliance to create additional health care training programs based on workforce needs.