How to Earn a Bachelor Degree in Adult Education

Bachelor of Adult Education

Earn your Bachelor's Degree in Adult Education

A bachelor's degree in adult education can help you learn how to teach adults looking to advance their academic knowledge and usually requires four years of study. Teaching adults requires a different skill-set than teaching children, and your degree program should be designed with this in mind.

The responsibility of an adult educator is to teach in an engaging and effective manner. Your bachelor's in adult education program should reflect this commitment by offering courses in topics like learning and development, critical thinking and evaluation, learning assessment, learning style fundamentals and instructional design. Because online education is becoming increasingly prevalent, including in adult education systems, some adult education programs may include instruction in online teaching.

Career Paths

Adult literacy teacher and GED teacher are two potential occupations for those with a bachelor's degree in adult education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (, 2012) projects a 15 percent national increase (close to the average occupational growth rate) in these careers between 2010 and 2020 and reports that approximately 66,000 of these adult educators worked in the U.S. in May 2012 (, 2013).

Adult students usually have specific goals when they return to school, such as earning a GED or learning the English language. Students who had dropped out of school at a young age may also be looking to master basic education skills in reading, writing and math. Positions in adult literacy or GED teaching may be found through public school systems, junior colleges, state and local governments, online institutions and other education providers. It's important to note that it may be necessary to obtain a teaching certificate/license depending on the state and teaching environment you wish to work in. Details on state-specific requirements can be found through

Career Earnings

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that in May 2012, adult education and literacy teachers earned a median national annual wage of $48,590, with the lowest 10 percent earning up to $27,460 and the top 10 percent earning up to $82,490 (, 2013). Educators of adults may enjoy the satisfaction of teaching without the disciplinary issues often associated with teaching younger people. Additionally, adult education centers may follow the academic calendar, potentially granting adult educators ample vacation time. Online teaching opportunities can also create additional work flexibility.


  1. "Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers and Instructors," May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013,
  2. Adult Literacy and GED Teachers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 11, 2012
  3. "Work-based Education," Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education, December 12, 2008,

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