Adult Education Teachers

What Adult Educators Do ?

Adult education teachers help people earn their high school or general education diploma after they have been away from school for a period of time. Adult education teachers typically help students sharpen their skills in crucial areas of communication, such as reading, writing and speaking English, as well as help them to improve their understanding of basic math. They may employ a wide variety of teaching skills since classrooms typically are full of students with different educational backgrounds. Adult educators might also work with students from a variety of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. They may need to work at night or on weekends since many of their students may be pursuing their GED or diploma while working full time. They could look for employment opportunities with community colleges, public schools and community-based organizations and learning institutions.

How to Become an Adult Education Teacher

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, 2012), most states require adult education teachers to hold at least a bachelor's degree as well as a teaching certificate. Many employers prefer to hire teachers that have a master's degree, however. Employers also prefer to hire teachers that have some previous classroom experience, the BLS notes.

Bachelor's and master's degree programs help prepare prospective adult education teachers through study of effective teaching strategies for adult learners, which is quite different from teaching children. Most states require adult educators to hold a teaching certificate, especially for government-run adult literacy programs. Other states require certificates especially for the field of adult education. Certificates may be earned through approved teacher-training programs; some could be online based. Qualities crucial to success may include top-notch communication skills, sensitivity to different cultures and the ability to adapt teaching methods to help individual students excel.

Potential Career Earnings

In 2012, there were 66,040 adult education and secondary education teachers employed in the U.S. at median annual salaries of $48,590, the BLS reports (bls.gov, 2010). The bottom 10 percent of adult educators earned less than $27,460 per year while the top 10 percent earned more than $82,490. States with large populations -- California, Texas, New York -- employ the highest number of adult educators. New Jersey, California and Wisconsin were the top-paying states, however, offering mean hourly wages above $30 an hour.

Employment for adult literacy and general education teachers is expected to rise by 15 percent from 2010 through 2020 as continued immigration to the U.S. powers demand for more adult literacy programs, according to the BLS. Additionally, the number of Americans who cut their high school education short but wish to fulfill the goal of earning a general education diploma may be looking to compete their GED education as well. Many of these workers may look to improve their competency at reading and writing through adult education programs, the BLS indicates.


Adult Basic and Secondary Education and LIteracy Teachers and Instructors, Occupational Employment and Wages (May 2012), http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes253011.htm

Adult Literacy and GED Teachers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm#tab-6

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MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Sports Management - EdS
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
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  • Online Courses
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Master's (M.Ed.) - Adult Education and Training
  • Ranked one of the Best for Vets schools in Military Times Edge magazine’s 2013 “Best for Vets” edition.
  • Offers MUSE (My Unique Student Experience), a content delivery system that gives students the option to watch, view, read or listen to required course materials.
  • Allows students to complete courses at whatever pace they want.
  • Provides IntelliPath, a proprietary learning technology that lets students learn at their own pace.
  • A DANTES-affiliated university and member of the Service Members Opportunity Colleges.
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  • Online Courses
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Preliminary Education Specialist Credential
  • Founded over 60 years ago on the principles of inclusion and social justice.
  • Offers credit for previous life and work experience.
  • Equipped with over 17,000 titles in their library.
  • Has 3 semesters and 6 start dates a year.
  • Located in Pasadena, CA, with instructional sites in Sacramento, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Visalia as well as online options.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
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  • Online Courses
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  • Accelerated Programs
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AS Teaching
South College , Knoxville
Good for Working Adults
  • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for their Physician Assistant program in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Campus is 56,000 square feet of modern lecture classrooms, specialty laboratories with state-of-the art equipment, writing and math lab, student center, and more.
  • Programmatic accreditation from several organizations, including the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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  • Accredited
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