Life does not need to stop after you retire or become semi-retired. You still want to learn more and possibly even desire to pursue a second career. There are many courses available to seniors completely free. You may even be able to earn a degree – or another one.
Why Take More Courses
If you are continuing to work, taking more courses can ensure that you keep up with developments in your field, which will help you stay relevant and needed in the workplace. Being that many seniors are staying in the workforce longer, it becomes even more important to ensure you stay valuable to an employer.
You also want to remember that cuts of about 20% are expected to be made to Social Security payments after 2034. Working until you are at least 70 before taking Social Security payments will help ensure you have a larger income in your retirement years when you can no longer work.
Another reason to take courses in or near your senior years is to maintain some degree of social interaction. Instead of sitting at home alone, taking in-class courses lets you meet new people and make new friends.
Taking more courses will help keep your mind sharp. It will provide ongoing cognitive stimulus as well as give you something to look forward to each day of classes – whether you take them online or in-class.
You can also take courses for fun, letting you dig into subjects you always wanted to know more about. You can also use it to develop a new hobby.
Go Online for Greater Convenience
If you would rather not take classes with young college students or have to travel to a college campus, you can take courses online. Many colleges offer classes online – especially since COVID started – giving you a potentially large number of courses to take.
All States Have Some Free Courses for Seniors
Every state in the U.S. has colleges that offer free courses for seniors. The age of qualified seniors varies. In some states, seniors may be eligible for free courses after reaching 55, but other states may require you to be at least 60 or even 65. The colleges are often limited to those that are state-supported or are community colleges.
Some states, such as Arizona, do not offer free courses but will give a 50% discount. Most states do require you to pay course-related fees and you may have to pay registration. Some states will let seniors take classes on an audit basis but others may only offer free courses if they are taken for credit and if space is available. Other states may let seniors attend classes, but they do not keep records – which means you cannot earn a degree. States may also limit the number of classes you can take per semester. Students will be required to pay for any books required for the classes.
Best Classes for Seniors
The classes you take may help you enter a new career field or just get a new job. Some subjects can enable you to work from home, which may include:
- Real Estate
- Tax Preparation
All Degree Levels
Classes are also available at all degree levels, but schools may have some fees. Each one may be a little different, often requiring you to register and then apply for a waiver of tuition.
If you are not interested in working toward a degree, you can also take courses at online platforms such as Udemy or Coursera. Some of these courses will cost but many are completely free.