619 N. 7th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Rio Salado College (RSC) Downtown offers adult education classes to help you develop your academic skills to obtain a high school equivalency diploma or increase your English language abilities. These classes are offered both day and evening to fit your schedule. RSC has specialized support services to help you achieve your goals.
Come explore how our adult education classes build a solid foundation for college and/or your entry into the workforce. Adult Education Information
Important Dates and Closures: College-Wide Closures
Rio Salado College offers a variety of classes to meet the needs of our students and the community.
Non-Credit Classes Include:
- GED® Test Prep Classes
- English Language/ESL
- Adults Achieving a College Education (AACE)
Non-credit and credit Career Training is offered to co-enrolled Adult Education Students. For more information visit our Adult Education Career Training page.
Contact #: 480-377-4080
Rio Salado College testing centers are certified by the National College Testing Association (NCTA). We administer a variety of exams for students, military members and community organizations. We adhere to the professional testing standards and guidelines of the National College Testing Association (NCTA). For additional information please visit Rio Salado Colleges Testing Services
Free tutoring is available to all enrolled Rio Salado students. Tutors help you understand course content, improve study skills and develop the confidence needed to succeed in your class. Tutoring hours vary please call the RSC Location for more information.
Counselors assist students to set personal, educational, and career goals. They provide high quality and accessible services to meet the needs of the diverse student population. Counseling Services at Rio Salado College are an integral part of the total educational process. These services are provided at no cost to students. Students can visit the Counseling & Career Services webpage or call (480) 517-8785.
All Rio Salado students can access library services at any time via the Rio Salado Online Library.
Disability Resources & Services:
Rio Salado College offers resources and services that promote accessible learning for students with documented disabilities. Services and accommodations are available at no cost to qualifying Rio Salado students. Visit Rio’s Disability Services webpage for more information.
Rio Salado College partners with organizations throughout the Phoenix area to discover creative, new ways to empower our local communities. RSC works with education and community partners to improve services for local residents and offer programs and services that provide pathways to post-secondary education.
Some of our Partners include:
- Arizona Department of Education, Adult Education Services
- Arizona@Work-City of Phoenix/Maricopa County
- Arizona Department of Economic Security, Vocational Rehabilitation
- Chicanos Por La Casa
- Opportunity for Youth
- Dress for Success
Our students come from all walks of life, each with a story to tell. Following are a few of the stories from students at Rio Salado College Downtown. These stories are inspiring, like the students themselves, illustrating how education can open doors to a better future.
Esperanza (Chantel) Lopez
"Unlike other children, I was raised by an uncle," said Esperanza (Chantel) Lopez. "My mother left me with him in Mexico and came to the U.S. to make enough money to support us.
"My uncle was very good to me. He treated me like a princess. But deep inside of me, I felt that something was missing: The love of a mother. As time passed, I realized how much I missed her and needed her. After two years, my mother brought us to the U.S. Here, though, she had to spend most of her time working and could not pay attention to any of our problems."
"I knew I was on my own," she continued. "In my family, I was not told that school was important; I was told that it was very important. And yet, in freshman year, I decided to drop out of high school. I found a job at McDonald’s and when I got my first paycheck I thought I had it all. But I was wrong. As I grew older, I realized that the money I was making was not enough. So, I set a goal for myself and that was to finish school.
"I graduated from the Rio Salado College GED prep program. Any dream can be accomplished. All you have to do is go for it," Lopez said.
"I am a 54-year-old woman, a mother of five, and a grandmother of 10. I’m in love with learning for many reasons," said Debbie Conover. "For myself, my family, my neighbors, in fact education and the more I learn has allowed me to help others. Many have little to nothing but, to learn is to educate.
"To educate helps everyone to live happy, fuller lives. First with myself, I love learning because I see my mistakes. Life would have been so much easier with more education. I did the best that I could with the skills I had. Using my head rather than such hard physical work would have given me a chance to do the things I like instead of doing what I had to, to survive. I do not regret where I am now. I love my life. I just would have taken a different road to get here. At the age of 16 I stopped going to school, got married, and became a mother. I was still learning but in a different way, a harder more difficult way. My road in life has been very bumpy and with many detours. Because of abuse, physical illness and emotional struggles, it has been hard to find my way.
"I have spent many years learning how to work my way through these difficult times. But I finally found the motivation and the road that has brought me back to school. Now I am learning with more confidence and still growing as a person. Second, my family. I love watching them learn and grow. My children have all completed their education. They have families of their own, and have stressed the importance of education to their children. That brings me to my grandchildren. They are amazing. I see them loving to learn.
"Of all my many titles in life, 'Grandma Debbie' is the best! There are three that are graduating from high school this year: Coulter, Tyler and Ashley.
"I am so proud of them! They are making plans for their lives. They have their maps and are finding the roads that will lead them to their destinations. It is wonderful as I look into their eyes and can see that they are proud of me too, as they encourage me to succeed and graduate with them. Third, my neighbors. I believe we all have a story in life. I want to write my story of the experiences along the road I have taken. Hopefully, I can help inspire others to love to learn. Because it is never too late! Yes, I have a new map now and plan on continuing with my education. As in a song I heard, 'I’m coming out. It’s a brand new me. I want to shine!'”
"I’m 50 years old and was born in Tombstone, Ariz," said Lydia Guzma. "I came to Phoenix at age 12 and by the time I was 16 years old, I found myself pregnant, so I dropped out of high school."
"I got married and started my life as a mother and soon after I got a job as a cashier. After working at that for over two years, I applied as a bank teller and worked as a personal banker for over 13 years," recalled Guzman. "Due to being bilingual in English and Spanish, I specialized in all aspects of banking from manager to teller. I had started GED classes at that time as well
"My husband became disabled at a very early time in our marriage and became a violent, drunk and abusive person with me and our two children. Being the only person in a relationship where you have to work and raise children and cope with the hardships of a physically and mentally abusive husband, I had put school on hold. I got divorced after 17 years of marriage. I continued to work and was diagnosed with Fibro Myalgia and Lupus in the late 80s. There came a time when I could not work anymore due to my failing health conditions.
"I met a wonderful man named Joey. One day he asked me to marry him, and we have now been married for over three years. He encouraged and challenged me to go for it and get my GED and not quit. We inherited a foster grandchild named Araseli, who is now 16 months old. During the sleepless and long feeding nights, I studied and did my best to meet the challenge my husband gave me. And with the grace of God, the help of my husband, the help of my Rio Salado college teacher, Miss Susie, after 34 years, I finally did it! I got my GED. After what I had to endure to reach my goal, I just know that if I can do, anyone can do it. My real passion has always been photography. One day I decided to take photography classes, but I soon found out I needed my GED to attend that class. "
“I started my new life at Rio Salado College," said Maria Gomes. "I had the seed and the potential. But if there is no soil and no seed, nothing will grow. Rio Salado gave me the opportunity to grow. So now I have strong roots and the fruit will be harvested. I have all the tools to succeed.
"When I think about it, what if there had not been any help from anybody? What if I had never heard of Rio Salado College?”
Gomes began as an ELLA student at Paradise Valley Mall. Despite being in a marriage in which she was discouraged from attending class, she was passionate about education. She advanced in her language skills until the violence in her marriage forced her to quit. Approximately two years later, she was back at Rio Salado College, this time as a GED student at Northern. She was then living in a home sponsored by a women’s foundation.
Every day, Gomes took two buses to get to class and every day she was pleased and grateful to be given the opportunity to continue her education. Eventually, she made enough progress toward the GED that she was eligible to apply for the Adult ACE Program. During the application process, students meet in the computer lab to set up an online student account.
In spring of 2012, Gomes started the AACE Program. She earned an A in her first class, Strategies for College Success. The next class, Basic Arithmetic, was a struggle for her, but she put in many hours with the tutor. She finished the class with a B. She went on to accomplish many goals including becoming a U.S. citizen and induction into the National Adult Honor Society.
"Rio Salado College has great reasons to explore our passion for learning and fun. Rio Salado has a lot to offer anyone who wants to take steps toward a new beginning," said Susan Hersom. "For example, (1) Getting your GED and (2) Earning a scholarship for the AACE program where you can use it toward a new career and look good on your resume.
Rio Salado students are from all walks of life, from all over the world and all nationalities. Our world here at Rio Salado College is united. "We have an array of wonderful instructors, they believe in us even when at times we don’t believe in ourselves. They’re enthusiastic and they never make us feel that we’ve failed. They are always positive and motivate us to persevere. In addition, a great staff is ready to help from reception desk to advisors and counselors.
My daughter, Lauren, attended GED classes along with me. Rio Salado College gave my daughter, Lauren Hersom, a sense of hope. It brought out her self-esteem and gave her encouragement stepping into a better way of learning.
In high school I finished the 11th grade and was short just a few credits in the 12th. I know at my stage in life, I could progress and do a lot more with an education and it’s never too late to progress. "Mom and daughter are so blessed to have our footsteps together with Rio Salado College ingrained in our memories and hearts forever," Hersom said.