Become an Adult Education Instructor: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Oct 20, 2021

Learn how to become an adult education instructor. Research the education requirements, volunteer opportunities and licensure you will need to start a career in adult education instruction.

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Adult Education Instructor

Adult education instructors work with adult students to help them master new skills or fine tune old ones. Adult education instructors can find employment at a number of places, such as non-profit organizations or community colleges.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Licensure and Certification State licensure to teach in public schools or in government programs
Salary $43,635 (2020 median salary)*

Source: *

Here are some of the career requirements for an adult education instructor:

  • Employers look for someone with a bachelor's degree.
  • Employers also look for someone with a state license in order to teach in public education organizations.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary for an adult education instructor is $53,630.

How do you become an adult education instructor?

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Completing a bachelor's degree program is required to be an adult education instructor. Grades may factor into some state licensing processes, so committing to coursework is crucial to success. Additionally, courses that develop a student's understanding of educational theory and philosophy may be helpful, as positions often require teachers to be up-to-date on adult instructional models.

Step 2: Gain Experience

Not all adult education instructors are paid professionals; instead, many volunteer their time. For this reason, individuals can gain experience by volunteering in unpaid positions. The three areas of expertise where you can often find volunteer positions, are adult basic education (ABE), adult secondary education (ASE), and English literacy instruction (ESL or EFL).

Step 3: State Licensing

Adult education teachers may be required to obtain state licensing, especially for government-run, government-funded programs or public school-associated programs that may be subject to government oversight. This process involves certification, and may have such requirements as a bachelor's degree with a minimum grade point average.

Requirements vary between states, and licensing is not a requirement in all states, so teachers should look to their local government education departments for guidance. In some cases, adult education licenses are not the same as those for public school teachers. In other states, normal state licensing requirements for teachers are applied and include a bachelor's degree and completion of a teacher training program.

Step 4: Find Work as a Teacher

Adult education teachers can find employment in a number of environments, such as at a local school, through a community outreach center or other non-profits, within a community college, or for a private company. Different organizations may have different requirements based on both their needs and institutional requirements that all teachers must meet.

Step 5: Career Advancement

Seasoned educators may find opportunities for advancement based solely on the merit of experience. Possible positions may be counselors, principles, or other administration positions. To ensure advancement in conjunction with experience, educators can obtain advanced degrees and credentials relating to education; for example, a specialization in education administration or leadership.

You can obtain a bachelor's degree, gain some experience, get licensed, find an adult teaching position, and then work on additional experience in an advanced degree, in order to secure a good adult education teacher position.

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