Illinois Masters in Adult Education Programs
Earning a masters in adult education could give you the opportunity to change people’s lives. After all, one of the most important goals of adult educators is to provide future students with skills and knowledge to potentially secure employment or enhance their careers. Masters in adult education (M.Ed.) programs could prepare you to do just that, by helping to develop the expertise to jump start a career as an adult educator or as a training and development manager for a business or government agency.
While earning your masters in adult education, you could learn to teach adult learners in a number of different settings, such as in a classroom, organizational training programs, or even remotely. You might study how to provide professional training, or teach a wide range of subjects such as English as a second language or basic literacy. Through coursework in masters in adult education programs, you may learn to create, develop, and deliver effective lesson plans and overcome the unique challenges that face adult learners in each of the different roles.
Sound like a great choice for you? Continue reading to learn more and find your perfect masters in adult education program. Then, click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to contact programs and get started!
Fun Fact:One in three college students begin their college career after the age of 25. And one in five start after the age of 30.
Earning Your Masters in Adult Education: Basics
Masters in adult education degrees typically come in one of three forms: masters of science, masters of arts, or a masters of education. While these programs are very similar, there are some differences in their educational approach. Masters of science (MS) programs tend to be geared more to the technical approaches of teaching adult learners and how to create coursework to optimize learning. Masters of arts (MA) programs may provide you with more flexibility in your course selection and focus on preparing for teaching professions.On the other hand, masters of education (MEd) programs may have more courses that focus on theories and best practices. All three however are academically equivalent degrees and may provide many of the same opportunities upon earning your degree.
Additionally, masters of adult education programs may come under a variety of different degree names, which include, but aren’t limited to:
- Adult Learning and Workforce Education
- Adult Education and Training
- Masters of Science in Adult Education
- Master of Education in Adult Education
- Adult and Work Place Education
- Adult and Continuing Education
Most masters in adult education degree programs take two years of full-time study to complete. While each share many similarities, every school varies in its goals and approach. Consider your personal career and educational goals and read program listings carefully to evaluate which masters in adult education programs may be great for you.
Masters in Adult Education Application Requirements
Typically, masters in adult education programs require you to have already earned a bachelors degree from an accredited institution for enrollment. Some programs may also ask that you earned your undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA. Other programs may require you to have a minimum of 18 months of instructional experience and be currently employed so that you have an opportunity to apply the concepts learned during your coursework. It’s important to note that all programs are different and may have different admissions requirements. Research individual schools like those in the sponsored listings below to learn more about each program and contact them directly for further details.
Potential Curriculum For Masters in Adult Education Programs
Courses in masters in adult education programs focus on preparing you for the many challenges of teaching adults. These challenges may include accommodating different learning styles and navigating different learning environments such as classrooms, at a business, or for government programs. While earning your degree, you may study the best ways to help adult learners balance education with work and family responsibilities or readjust to school after a long absence. Coursework aims to provide you with both theoretical and practical knowledge, so that you may understand best practices and when to apply them.
Common courses in adult education may include:
- Adult Teaching and Learning
- Process and Methods
- Adult Learning Through the Lifespan
- Adult Education Planning and Development
- Survey of Research Methodology
- Adult Education Program Development
Each of these courses, plus any others you may take while pursuing your masters in adult education, may include independent study, group projects, and field-based learning. Most programs also require you to take a capstone or seminar class during their final semester, which normally includes a capstone thesis project that demonstrates a mastery of skills and knowledge.
Despite many commonalities, each masters in adult education program may emphasize a different area of the field. For instance, some programs may focus on teaching in classrooms, while others may be more directed toward teaching for businesses or large organizations. Those programs geared to businesses and organizations typically focus on preparing students to develop, implement, and manage systems to improve organizational performance, for example. Read program listings carefully and contact schools directly to learn more so that you can find a program that meets your individual goals and needs.
Choosing a Masters in Adult Education Program: Learning Formats
There may be different learning format options available to you when pursuing a masters in adult education. Each has their own potential benefits and may appeal to different students. The three most common learning formats are:
On Campus Masters in Adult Education
In traditional programs, all required courses occur on-campus. This also means classes are held at a specific time and place every week.
Potential benefits of traditional, on-campus learning:
- Courses are offered on-campus during set times
- Close-knit and active alumni groups for networking and job searches
- Face-to-face communication with professors and classmates
- Use of campus facilities such as computer labs, library, and student services
Online Masters in Adult Education
Online masters in adult education programs are designed to meet the needs of busy professionals. Most programs allow you to perform coursework wherever and whenever you like. Plus, because of the rise in popularity of online learning, pursing your degree online may provide you experience with common online learning tools that you may use later in various teaching positions.
Potential benefits of online learning:
- Freedom and flexibility to perform coursework around your schedule
- Use of multimedia (webinars, podcasts, etc.) to enhance learning
- Better class discussions (because some students are less nervous about sharing true opinions online)
- May help develop online communication skills
Hybrid Masters in Adult Education
Hybrid masters of adult learning programs allow students to take some courses online and others on campus. This may provide you with the best of both worlds. You could take online courses around your schedule, but then attend others on campus to develop the camaraderie and friendships that may be lost through online learning.
Potential benefits of hybrid learning:
- Best of both worlds, some online courses and some on campus
- Take classes online when fits your schedule
- Take on-campus classes for face to face interactions
- Use school facilities such as computer labs, library, and student services
It’s important to consider your lifestyle and learning preferences to determine which of these types of programs would be a great fit for you. During your research, weigh the pros and cons of each, and consider the individual programs’ goals and approach to find your perfect match!
Potential Careers in Adult Education
Earning a masters in adult education degree may help you pursue a career in a number of different fields. Potential careers in adult education could include, but aren’t limited to teachers, program developers, administrators, advisors, and managers. If you’d like to teach adult learners in a classroom setting, you might consider pursuing a career as an adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teacher. [i]Others who have earned their masters in adult education may want to help train and develop employees to meet the goals of organizations or businesses. These individuals might become training and development managers.
If these careers sound interesting to you, now may be a great time to enter the field. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the number of adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers to increase 7% for the years 2014 to 2024. That’s because immigration to the United States is expected to continue at the current rate and many immigrants don’t speak English well enough to find and keep employment. This trend, combined with the number of United States citizens who are illiterate, or didn’t graduate high school, means demand for ESL and high school equivalency diploma teachers is expected to continue rising.[ii]
The number of training and development managers is also expected to increase 7% during the same ten-year span because of society’s increasing reliance on innovative technology. New technology may mean that training programs and manuals will need to be rewritten to integrate features such as mobile learning and social media.vi While a bachelors degree is the typical requirement for an entry level position, some training and development manager positions do require a masters.v By earning your masters in adult education, you could be primed to take advantage of this opportunity and support adult learners in pursuit of their goals.
Take the Next Step to Earn Your Masters in Adult Education Degree
If you’re interested in helping adults learn in a variety of settings, then earning your masters in adult education may be a perfect option for you. You could play an important role in improving the lives of your students and helping them achieve their dreams. To get started, browse the listings below. Click on any of the sponsored listings to learn more about individual programs. This may include program description, curriculum, and admission requirements. Then, contact the school directly to request more information to find the perfect masters in adult education program for you!
Sources: [i]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-4 | [ii]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm#tab-6
Northcentral UniversityMaster of Education - Adult Learning and Workforce Education
Northern Illinois UniversityAdult Education
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignCurriculum, Technology, and Education Reform
Southern Illinois University - CarbondaleWorkforce Education and Development - Master
Northwestern CollegeMaster of Organizational Leadership - Master