Teacher Education for Adult Education Teachers

Adult education teachers can be found in community centers, high schools and local colleges around the country. Learn about teacher preparation programs for adult education instructors, and find information about additional career opportunities and earnings here.

Is a Career as an Adult Education Teacher for Me?

As an adult education teacher, you'll help students acquire the confidence and motivation they need to pursue new ideas and skill sets. An understanding of the academic and emotional needs of each student can be key to working as an adult education teacher; the ability to communicate effectively is also important.

Career Options

In addition to traditional schools, adult education teachers often work with learners from diverse backgrounds and cultures in continuing education centers, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Churches and private schools may also need teachers to provide instruction in business, childcare or other occupational areas. You might also provide on-the-job training for company employees, which can include classes in computer technology.

Salary Information

Instructional positions for adult education teachers may vary by location, subject and place of employment. Opportunities may be better in inner cities and rural areas. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), adult basic and secondary education teachers earned a median annual salary of $51,110 in May 2013, with those in the lowest 10% earning $28,630 or less and those in the top 10% earning $84,590 or more (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work as an Adult Education Teacher?

Educational Options

In general, a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited university is usually required to work as a teacher. Employment prospects may be best for those who have earned more advanced degrees, though. Master's programs and graduate certificates in adult education or similar fields, like teaching English as a second language, are widely available. Some doctoral programs in adult learning are available, too.


Graduate programs typically focus upon data collection and research and include training in qualitative and quantitative methods. In a master's degree program, you may study group dynamics, adult learning processes and educational leadership. You may also have to write a thesis.

Doctor of Education in Adult Learning programs typically culminate in a research-based dissertation. Advanced-level coursework might cover emotional and social intelligence, organizational behavior and communication.


A few states require adult education teachers to be licensed. While requirements vary from state to state, they typically include completion of a bachelor's program and some teacher-training experiences.

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