Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning

There's a learning path for everyone.

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) is a province-wide system that offers free educational programs for adults at more than 40 locations. Our programs are delivered by partners across the province and are designed to meet the needs of adult learners.

NSSAL programs serve Nova Scotian adults who want to:

  • Improve essential skills including reading, math, computer, and other important academic and workplace skills
  • Work toward a Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diploma for Adults
  • Prepare for the Canadian Adult Education Credential (CAEC) test
  • Upgrade high school credits to qualify for post-secondary education

These programs provide clear and flexible pathways for adult learners, equipping you with the knowledge and skills needed to achieve your employment and education goals.

How we can help

Every year, NSSAL and its programs help thousands of people to build the skills they need to succeed at work and in life. Our programs offer clear and flexible pathways, ensuring you gain the knowledge and skills essential for success in today's job market. We work closely with you to achieve your employment and educational goals, providing the support and resources you need on your learning journey.

Take the next step. Check the interactive map to find a program partner in your area. You can also contact .

How we deliver learning programs

NSSAL is coordinated by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration, funded in part by the government of Canada. Programs are offered through service delivery providers around the province, ensuring that our programs are accessible to most people without having to go further than their local area or community. Program availability may vary between regions and providers. 

Our partner groups

  • Community Learning Organizations (CLOs) offer various non-credit programs to Nova Scotians that aim to improve their literacy, essential and academic skills for work and everyday life.
  • Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) and Université Sainte-Anne offer high school credit and adult high school diploma programs. They also administer GED testing across the province.
  • Adult High Schools (operated by some Regional Centres for Education in the province) offer grade 11 and 12 credits (public school program) toward the Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diploma for Adults.

Learning designed for adults

Our programs are tailored to adults. We understand that learning needs to suit your busy life and current commitments. That’s why our offerings are flexible, focused and taught by instructors that understand the other demands in your daily life. You can expect:

  • Small, intimate classroom setting
  • Instructors who understand life happens
  • Curriculum focused on practical skills to help you succeed at work and in life
  • Examples and learning materials relevant to you and your community
  • Flexibility in scheduling


To enroll in a NSSAL program, you must:

  • Reside in Nova Scotia
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or protected person
  • Be 18 years or older
  • Not currently attend school
  • Be proficient in the language of instruction (except for deaf learners)

To be eligible to write the CAEC tests, you must:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, refugee, or protected person
  • Not already have a GED
  • Reside in Nova Scotia
  • Not be currently in school
  • Lack a recognized high school diploma from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development 

Program paths

There’s a learning path for everyone. Explore our program offerings below. If you have an education goal, we have a program for you.

E3 (Education, Essential Skills, and Empowerment)

E3 is designed to strengthen the skills we all need to be successful at work, school, community, and life. 

What you’ll learn:

  1. Finding and using information – this means reading and interpreting different types of documents.
  2. Communicating ideas and information – this includes writing, creating and filling in documents, and interacting with other people.
  3. Understanding and using numbers – this means working with money, measurements, and other number information (data).
  4. Using digital technology.
  5. Managing learning – this includes setting goals, using learning tips and tricks, and keeping track of what is learned.
  6. Engaging with others – this means being responsible, being flexible, having a good attitude, knowing about different cultures, looking professional, and working as a team.

Find a Community Learning Organization (PDF) or .

E3 Foundations

E3 Foundations is a program that helps you learn and develop your skills in important areas that include communications, math, digital skills, and skills for learning and work.

What you’ll learn:


Language mechanics sample class – Different parts of language and how they work together. How understanding language can help you be a better writer and reader.


Numeracy Mindset sample class - Why math makes people anxious. How to feel more confident and comfortable with numbers.

Digital Skills

Basic Digital Skills sample class – What are digital skills, and how are they used in work, school and life? How to feel more confident using different types of technology. How to keep yourself “digitally safe.”

Skills for Learning and Work

Study Skills sample class – Improving listening skills. Time management. How to take notes the help you learn.

Find a Community Learning Organization (PDF) or .

High school diploma category   

Classes in this category help you improve your academic skills so you can get an adult high school diploma or take a high school equivalency test like the GED. High School courses offered by our partners can also help you upgrade your current education standing or gain a specific credit you may require to continue on to a post-secondary program at NSCC or other institution.

High School Preparation

This program will help you manage academic content and develop the skills needed to either pass a high school equivalency test or go on to finish your high school diploma.

What you’ll learn:

Classes in the HSP program focus on improving your skills in subjects like math, science, English language arts, social studies, and more.

Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diploma for Adults

These classes are offered at the Nova Scotia Community College, Universite Sainte Anne, and Adult High Schools (where available), and can lead to receiving your Nova Scotia High School diploma. They have various locations to meet your needs. There are also some classes available online. 

Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Adult Learning Program

NSCC offers the Adult Learning Program Level 3 and 4 courses at 14 locations across Nova Scotia. Learners can use Level 4 credits toward the Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diploma for Adults or to upgrade academic standing. The Adult Learning Program offered through NSCC can be completed full-time or part-time and partially or completely online. In addition to the standard ALP courses, the NSCC also offers an Afrocentric Learning option. 

Learn More

Université Sainte-Anne - École secondaire pour adultes

Université Sainte-Anne offers the Formation Générale des Adultes (FGA) niveau 4 credits in French at five campuses across Nova Scotia. These credits may be used toward a Diplôme de fin d’études secondaires pour adultes de la Nouvelle-Écosse or to upgrade academic standing. They also offer non-credit programing.

Learn More

Adult High School

Adult high schools are available at some Regional Centers for Education in the province. They offer grade 11 and 12 courses based on the public-school curriculum (PSP), which can be used toward a Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diploma for Adults or to upgrade academic standing. If you need a few high school credits to complete your high school diploma, or to get into a post-secondary program, this program can put you on the right path.

Find an Adult High School Location near you, or contact .

Download the PDF

CAEC – Canadian Adult Education Credential

The Canadian Adult Education Credential (CAEC) is a new high school equivalency program developed in collaboration with provinces and territories across Canada. The CAEC provides Canadian-made education credential that meets industry standards as a replacement for General Educational Development (GED). The CAEC will provide a reliable indicator of Canadian adults' level of educational achievement for employers, post-secondary institutions and others.

Passing GED test scores from the 2002 Canadian GED Test Series will be recognized for test exemption (and count towards the new assessment) until May 2027. A maximum of 4 subject tests may be exempt. Nova Scotia will start CAEC testing in Summer 2024.

Learn more: Canadian Adult Education Credential (CAEC)

What’s my next step?

Program availability my vary between regions and providers. We can help you determine what program suits your goals best, what’s available in your area and when. We can also answer any questions you have about adult learning. There are a few ways to get in touch with us: 

From there, we’ll gather some further information to fully understand your education goals before we connect you with the right program partner in your area.