Adult Literacy Tutor

Learn what education and training you'll need to work as an adult literacy tutor. Find out more about what these tutors do. Get information on job growth and salary statistics for this career.

Is Tutoring Adult Literacy for Me?

Career Overview

Adult literacy tutors help adults learn how to read and write by teaching them the basics of spelling, grammar, composition and comprehension. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, adult literacy increased very little between 1992 and 2003, which suggests a significant need for adult literacy tutors in the United States (www.nces.ed.gov). Although volunteer positions comprise many of the adult literacy tutoring opportunities, others are paid.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the reasons for adult illiteracy include a lack of education, a non-English speaking background or a mental or physical disability (www.bls.gov). In addition to a solid understanding of the English language, adult literacy tutors should have patience, compassion and good teaching skills. Many tutors work part-time, usually in the evenings or on weekends, so they can work around their students' work and family schedules.

Employment Information

According to the BLS, about 77,400 people worked with adults to teach them basic remedial education skills, including literacy, in 2012. The BLS projected that between 2012-2022, the employment of adult literacy tutors and teachers would increase by 9%. The high turnover rates among part-time workers means that you're likely to find an opening, particularly if you work in areas where there are many new immigrants. As of May 2013, the median annual salary for adult literacy teachers was $51,110.

How Do I Become an Adult Literacy Tutor?

Undergraduate Education

According to the BLS, to teach or instruct adults in a professional capacity, you must have at least a bachelor's degree. However, some employers may prefer that you have a master's degree. The ideal training ground is a degree program in adult education, reading and literacy, literature or writing.

Through an undergraduate degree program in adult education, you'll explore learning styles and study theories of adult learning. This can help you develop strategies and techniques to teach adult learners and explore methods for assessing their progress. With this training, you could work with adult learners at community centers, local universities and other areas.

Graduate Education

Completing a master's degree program in adult education may provide you with the chance to specialize in adult literacy. Courses may train you to teach reading to adults and work with people who are learning English as their second language. You may explore methods for including technology in the classroom. Some programs may cover strategies for managing adult literacy or GED training centers. With this training, you can tutor adults in literacy, manage an adult literacy community program or continue your studies to become a reading specialist, helping adults and children to master reading.

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