Adult education – returning to school

Do you want to continue your education? Maybe go to university or learn Italian? Find out what choices you have for adult education in Italy.

class of adult students

Many adults decide to start or continue their education when they come to Italy. There are lots of choices! You can train for a job or go to university. You can go to an evening class to learn to read and write or speak Italian.

You can also use your educational diplomas from your home country to continue with adult education.

If you are an adult re-starting your education, you can get a school diploma to show you have a basic education. This will allow you to apply for many jobs or get a higher education.

There are special classes just for adults. See below for more about getting school diplomas.

Here is some information about your choices:

Literacy (reading and writing)

If your education was interrupted in your home country, you may want to learn or improve your reading and writing. Literacy means learning to read and write in any language. Literacy classes are called corsi di alfabetizzazione in Italian. You can find daytime classes while your children are in school or evening classes (corsi serali) for people who are working in the day.

Italian language classes

If you are staying in Italy for some time, you will also want to learn the Italian language so you can better communicate at work and in your daily life. You can find free classes online..

How to find literacy classes and Italian classes in your community

In Italy, adult education centers are called Centro Provinciale per l’Istruzione degli Adulti (CPIA). You can find all kinds of adult education classes there. Find a CPIA or public school near you. In the box, type CPIA and [the name of your city], and click Cerca.

To register for a CPIA class, you must be older than 16 and without a primary school or first level certificate.

Libraries also have Italian classes and literacy classes. To find your nearest library, search on the internet by typing “biblioteca” and the name of your city or region.

School diplomas

Here are the answers to questions you may have about how an adult can get a school diploma in Italy.

What if I have no school certificates? Can I still get a school diploma in Italy?

If you are a refugee and you have no school certificates, or if you do not have copies of your certificate, you can still go to adult school in Italy. In Italy, adults who have not attended school can still get school certificates. You can go to special classes for adults.

Where do I go to adult classes?

You will be able to attend a course in public schools or at a CPIA. To register, you must be older than 16 years of age and have a primary school certificate. If you do not have a primary school certificate, your local CPIA can help you plan your next step to getting a school diploma. Find a CPIA or public school near you.

What certificate will I receive?

You will get a certificate called a diploma di scuola media that shows you have the same education as someone who completed three years of middle school. Many employers will ask for this certificate before they employ people.

Can I get a higher school certificate so I can go to university?

If you have a diploma di scuola media but you want more education, you can get a secondary school diploma. You will need this to go to university. To register, you must be older than 16 years of age, have a diploma di scuola media and a regular permit to live in Italy. You can find classes at a CPIA. Some technical and professional secondary schools also offer adult classes. Find a CPIA or public school near you.

What if I have school certificates from my country?

If you have been to school in your home country and already have a diploma, you can use your diploma in Italy. But you will need to get it validated. You can do this even if you do not have a copy of your diploma. Find out how to validate your educational diplomas in Italy.

Job training

Vocational training means training to do a job. Vocational training courses can last up to 3 years. You will learn the skills of a specific job and get ready to apply for jobs.

There are many job courses for all kinds of careers. The educational and vocational training called Istruzione e Formazione Professionale (IeFP) is a very good option for adults.

You can find out more about IeFP courses at a CPIA in your area. Find a CPIA near you


University is for people who want to continue learning after they finish regular school. Many students start university just after secondary school. Others are adults returning to continue their education for work qualifications or just because of interest in a topic.

You will need to finish secondary education before you go to university..