How Do I Become an Adult Literacy Teacher?

Explore the career requirements for adult literacy teachers. Get the facts about education requirements, licensing, job growth and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Literacy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Adult Literacy Teacher?

Adult literacy teachers are education professionals who work with adults to help them develop literacy skills. This specifically refers to their ability to use printed and written information. Adult literacy teachers will help their students with word-level and sentence-level reading and comprehension skills. This means that they work with students to help them recognize words, pronounce words and comprehend the meaning of words. They also help them work on understanding the meaning of a word in the context of a sentence so that they can follow written directions. The goal is to help their students be able to use printed and written information in their daily life so that they can function in society.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree at minimum; a master's degree or graduate certificate is preferred
Education Field of Study Education, adult education, literacy education
Key Skills Patience, cultural sensitivity, an ability to think on your feet
Licensure Teacher licensing required in some states
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% (for all adult literacy and high school equivalency teachers)*
Average Salary (2015) $54,060 (for all adult basic education, secondary education and literacy teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Duties of an Adult Literacy Teacher?

Literacy involves all aspects of reading, including spelling and grammar. As an adult literacy teacher, you teach students how to read in addition to teaching writing, basic English language skills, vocabulary and speech. You are part of the support system that works to help them secure jobs and seek higher education.

There are three areas of adult literacy. You may help students that are at an eighth-grade reading level or below, those earning their GED certificate or those who are not proficient in English. Your job duties may include creating teaching materials to meet students' abilities, maintaining student records, assigning and grading coursework, preparing and administering tests, establishing goals for students and implementing relevant teaching methods.

What Education Do I Need?

You usually need at least a bachelor's degree in education to meet licensing requirements set by the state. In addition, you may need further training in adult education or literacy education. You may consider a master's degree or a gradate certificate in adult education or literacy. In a literacy program, you may study topics including how to teach adult students, writing instruction and language development.

Do I Need a Teaching License?

Most states require a license for teachers, though options vary based on education, intended employment and subjects being taught. In some states, you may be required to get a license that is meant particularly for teaching adults. Others may require criminal background checks and completion of specific education requirements. Most states require some type of continuing education to maintain a license.

What Is My Potential Salary and Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), adult literacy teachers (who are grouped among GED teachers and other remedial instructors) earned an average salary of $54,060 as of May 2015. The top-paying employers for this field were state governments, which paid an average salary of $65,080. The BLS projected employment opportunities for these teachers to grow 7%, which could result in a total of 83,000 positions by the end of the 2014-2024 decade.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

General education diploma (GED teachers) and high school English as a second language teachers have a lot of professional similarities to adult literacy teachers. GED teachers work with adults who have not completed high school to help them acquire the basic skills needed to earn a GED. English as a second language teachers work with students whose native language is not English. They help them build their reading, writing and speaking skills. Their focus is on helping their students expand their knowledge of the English language in ways that will be beneficial for employment and daily life. All of these educational professionals need a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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