Master Degree in Adult Education

Earn Your Master's Degree in Adult Education

Earning your master's in adult education can qualify you to teach the growing ranks of adult learners (teaching certification is often needed as well). Many different types of people are seeking educational opportunities, from workers looking for greater job security or advancement, to immigrants sharpening their language skills, to senior citizens boosting their computer literacy.

Whether you're already a professional educator or coming from a different background, a master's program in adult education could equip you with the theoretical framework and the practical skills to effectively teach adults. Course topics may include instructional design and learning technologies, as well as topics related to a chosen area of specialization. These specializations may include English as a Second Language (ESL), health education and corporate training. Programs typically consist of between 30 and 40 credits and possibly a culminating research project or thesis, which can be completed in about two years. However, the time frame may be flexible to accommodate students who are working professionals.

Career Paths :

After earning a master's in adult education, students might go on to work in a wide variety of settings, including in community colleges and other postsecondary educational institutions, in government agencies and in corporate environments. Teaching certification is usually required as well. Potential careers include:

Adult Literacy Teacher - This type of educator helps adults gain essential language skills. A literacy teacher may work with adults whose reading ability has been hampered by a learning disability, or with ESL students who need a basic comprehension of English in the workplace. Employment of adult literacy teachers is expected to grow 15 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).

Training and Development Manager - These educators typically works for a business, developing training materials for new hires and continuing education courses for current employees. They may lead classes themselves, as well as manage training budgets and create training modules that match the company's goals. A master's in adult education program that includes human resource development and workplace learning courses might be a good choice for those interested in this career. Employment of training and development managers is expected to increase 15 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Career Earnings :

Graduates of adult education master's degree programs might earn more than they did when holding only a bachelor's degree. In 2011, the median annual income of people with a master's degree or higher was $59,230, compared to $44,970 for those with a bachelor's, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (nces.ed.gov, 2012).

However, wages will vary depending on job title and employment setting. For example, training and development specialists earned a BLS-reported national median wage of $55,930 in May 2012, while adult basic literacy teachers earned a median $48,590 (bls.gov/oes, 2013). Compensation varies depending on geographic location, experience and other factors.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, Adult Literacy and GED Teachers, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm#tab-6

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Education Pays, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Training and Development Managers, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm#tab-6

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Summary Report for: 13-1151.00 - Training and Development Specialists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/About/Data-for-Occupations-Not-Covered-in-Detail.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Summary Report for: 25-3011.00 - Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers and Instr, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/About/Data-for-Occupations-Not-Covered-in-Detail.htm

Colorado State University, Adult Education and Training (AET), http://www.online.colostate.edu/degrees/aet-online/

National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 2012, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d12/tables/dt12_439.asp

Penn State University, Master of Education in Adult Education, http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/degrees-and-certificates/adult-education-masters/overview

University of Georgia, ACADEMIC PROGRAMS - ADULT EDUCATION, LEARNING AND ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM, http://www.coe.uga.edu/leap/academic-programs/adult-education/m-ed/adult-education-face-to-face/

University of Idaho, Adult/Organizational Learning and Leadership, http://www.uidaho.edu/ed/leadershipcounseling/adultorganizationallearningandleadershipm

University of South Florida, M.A. in Adult Education, http://www.coedu.usf.edu/main/departments/ache/ade/adema.html

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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
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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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Master of Science: Education
  •  Ranked one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  •  Offers a no-obligation, 3-week trial period where students may determine if the university is right for them before they commit to it.
  •  Strives to be a student’s partner in lifelong learning; committed to helping them achieve their goals.
  •  Serves students of all ages, from first-graders learning to read to professionals seeking postgraduate training.
  •  Provides career-oriented diploma through master’s programs in fields such as healthcare, business, legal and paralegal services, information technology, criminal justice and design.
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Instructional Design & Technology
  • Push Your Creativity To The Next Level.
  • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
  • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
  • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
  • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
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M.Ed. Teaching & Learning: History
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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