College and Career Readiness

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Learn English for free at Central Piedmont Community College.

What You Will Learn

We help students learn English:

  • to go to college
  • to go on to get high school diploma or equivalency
  • to communicate with others
  • to have better opportunities at work
  • to learn important things for living in the USA
  • to participate in their child’s education
  • because you want to learn English

Students in ESL classes do not receive college credit. Contact Academic ESL/EFL if you want to take English classes for college credit.

Learn About College and Career Readiness

Why Choose Central Piedmont

Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness offers programs to develop students’ academic skills, earn a high school equivalency (GED or HiSET) or adult high school diploma, learn English as a second language (ESL), develop employability skills and participate in various work-based-learning experiences, or explore career and post-secondary educational opportunities. Many programs are free or at a very low cost for qualified participants. 

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

Additional Information

  • Who Can Enroll?

    • Prospective students must be 16 years or older and officially withdrawn from their last K-12 public, private, or home school.

      • Students between 16-17 years of age must petition to enroll into an alternative adult education program at Central Piedmont (review the requirements for minors).
    • Students who have a visa other than an F-1 visa may enroll. College and Career Readiness ESL does not accept international students with an F-1 visa.

    Contact Academic ESL/EFL if you have an F-1 visa or want to take English classes for college credit.

  • When Are Classes Held?

    • Most classes are eight weeks long and meet four days a week (Mon — Thu) for 2.5 hours a day. Students must commit to go to class each day for eight weeks.
    • Computer labs are open for students needing flexible scheduling.
    • Day and evening classes are available.
    • Students practice reading, writing, listening, speaking, and grammar in class.

    Your advisor will help you set a schedule that works for you.

  • Where Are Classes Held?

    Adult ESL offers free English classes at a variety of locations around Charlotte, including certain schools, libraries, churches, and community organizations. Students enrolled in these classes enjoy all of the benefits of any Central Piedmont student in our program and can transfer to a Central Piedmont campus from a community class. Classes are held at our Central, Harper, Levine, and Cato campuses as well as several community sites. Your advisor will help you set a schedule that works for you.

    Library

    The Library is open daily (Mon — Fri) and is flexible — you can come any time it is open! Students must commit to go a couple of times a week. There are drop-in classes each day. We have an excellent software program to learn English. You practice reading, writing, listening, speaking, and grammar on the computer. Teachers help you learn to use a computer.

  • Refugee Students

    Services for Refugees

    • college registration advising and support
    • beginning English classes
    • citizenship classes
    • classes for work
    • placement test preparation classes
    • high school equivalency (GED or HiSET) preparation
    • transportation support
    • translation support
    • interpretation support
    • help with school
    • drivers’s permit preparation

    Classes are free.

    Education for Refugees

    The goals of this program are: 

    1. to offer a comprehensive educational orientation program for diverse groups of adult refugees in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community
    2. to provide English language instruction throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community to meet specific and defined language, employment, and family needs of adult refugees
    English Courses for Refugees

    English language instruction is provided through a variety of learning modules. Instruction modules are tailored to the needs of targeted subgroups such as seniors, parents, and workers. Each module includes 20 hours of instruction and revolves around themes such as:

    • personnel identification
    • safety
    • housing and home economics
    • transportation/travel
    • health/emergencies
    • family literacy
    • learning/education
    • getting a job
    • on the job

    Who Qualifies for Refugee Services?

    Anyone who entered the country as a refugee/SIV or has been granted asylum.

    Students must meet the following requirements to enroll in a foundational ESL course:

    • must be 18 years of age or older
    • test into any of the six levels of ESL
    • hold legal refugee status
      How are Students Referred for Education for Refugees?

      Students are referred to our program by the resettlement agency that hosts them in this area. All of our students are refugees or individuals who have been granted asylum by the U.S. government. Individuals who arrive looking for English classes who are not refugees or asylees are referred to other local ESL classes offered by Central Piedmont.

      Additional information:

    1. How Do I Enroll?

      Step 1. Take the College and Career Readiness Placement Test

      Your placement test results will help your advisor place you into a class that meets your needs and that isn’t too hard or too easy.

      • Don’t worry about the test or your level. We will help you. Be positive and patient!
      • You do not need to study for the test.
      • Please arrive to the test 15 minutes early. If you are late, you will be referred to the next session.
      • On the day of the test, bring your valid, government-issued photo ID and your mailing address.
      • You will be tested in English listening skills.
      • The test will take at least three hours.
      • The placement test is not a pass/fail exam.
      Cato Campus Placement Test

      To take the placement test at Cato Campus, you do not need to register in advance. However, seats are limited to the first 22 students to arrive on the test day.

      Tests are given on Wednesdays on the following dates:

      • August 21, 9:30 a.m.
      • August 21, 5 p.m.
      • August 28, 9:30 a.m.
      • August 28, 5 p.m.
      • September 4, 9:30 a.m.
      • September 4, 5 p.m.
      • September 11, 9:30 a.m.
      • September 11, 5 p.m.
      • September 18, 9:30 a.m.
      • September 18, 5 p.m.
      • September 25, 9:30 a.m.
      • September 25, 5 p.m.
      • October 2, 9:30 a.m.
      • October 2, 5 p.m.
      • October 9, 9:30 a.m.
      • October 9, 5 p.m.
      • October 16, 9:30 a.m.
      • October 16, 5 p.m.
      • October 23, 9:30 a.m.
      • October 23, 5 p.m.

      Location:

      Central Campus Placement Test

      To take the placement test at Central Campus, you must register in advance:

      Harper Campus Placement Test

      To take the placement test at Harper Campus, you do not need to register in advance. However, seats are limited to the first 22 students to arrive on the test day.

      Tests are given on Wednesdays on the following dates:

      • August 21, 9 a.m.
      • August 21, 5 p.m.
      • August 28, 9 a.m.
      • August 28, 5 p.m.
      • September 4, 9 a.m.
      • September 4, 5 p.m.
      • September 11, 9 a.m.
      • September 11, 5 p.m.
      • September 18, 9 a.m.
      • September 18, 5 p.m.
      • September 25, 9 a.m.
      • September 25, 5 p.m.
      • October 2, 9 a.m.
      • October 2, 5 p.m.
      • October 9, 9 a.m.
      • October 9, 5 p.m.
      • October 16, 9 a.m.
      • October 16, 5 p.m.
      • October 23, 9 a.m.
      • October 23, 5 p.m.

      Location:

      Levine Campus Placement Test and Orientation

      To take the placement test/attend orientation at Levine Campus, you do not need to register in advance. However, seats are limited to the first 15 students to arrive on the test/orientation day.

      Testing and orientation are held on Fridays on the following dates:

      • August 23, 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.
      • August 30, 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.
      • September 6, 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.
      • September 13, 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.
      • September 20, 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.
      • September 27, 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.
      • October 18, 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.
      • October 25, 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.
      • November 1, 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.

      Location:

      Step 2. Meet with Your Advisor to Register for Classes 

      During your testing session, you will be given a follow-up appointment with an academic and career advisor. Advisors can assist you with reviewing test results and discuss career interests and any potential barriers to attending class regularly. Advisors will help develop a career and academic plan for you and register you in classes if needed.

      Additional Information

      • If you are a minor (under 18 years old), you will have additional steps to complete.
      • If you require academic accommodations, schedule an appointment with Jonathan Klish to begin the process of securing approval for accommodations.
      • If you are a refugee student, contact Lindsay LaPlante, Refugee Education Program Coordinator, at lindsay.laplante@cpcc.edu or your refugee caseworker for more information about enrolling in classes or services.
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