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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 can 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 is likely to vary depending on geographic location, experience and other factors.

Sources:

  1. 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
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Education Pays, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Training and Development Managers, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm#tab-6
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Colorado State University, Adult Education and Training (AET), http://www.online.colostate.edu/degrees/aet-online/
  7. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 2012, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d12/tables/dt12_439.asp
  8. Penn State University, Master of Education in Adult Education, http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/degrees-and-certificates/adult-education-masters/overview
  9. 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/
  10. University of Idaho, Adult/Organizational Learning and Leadership, http://www.uidaho.edu/ed/leadershipcounseling/adultorganizationallearningandleadershipm
  11. University of South Florida, M.A. in Adult Education, http://www.coedu.usf.edu/main/departments/ache/ade/adema.html

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