United States Adult Education Degree Programs (On-Campus)
Adult education degree programs may provide you with the skills and knowledge to truly impact the lives of others. That’s because while earning your adult education degree you may learn how to develop, deliver, and assess curriculum, coursework, and teaching methods to effectively teach adult learners. This could be as a basic literacy or ESL teacher, or as a training and development manager for businesses and organizations. Either way, you’ll be helping others develop the skills they may need to enhance their careers, and possibly their lives.[i]
On-campus, or traditional face-to-face adult education schools, may offer a structured learning atmosphere that could appeal to you if the thought of pursuing your degree in your pajamas seemed more stressful than freeing. Other benefits of adult education on-campus programs may be the ability to use campus facilities such as computer labs and the library, and developing a closer bond with classmates and professors. In fact, by earning your adult education degree on-campus, you may have the opportunity to watch effective adult education lesson plans and teaching methods in use – with you as the adult learner!
If you’ve always enjoyed teaching others, but would rather teach adults than children, then continue reading to find out all about adult education schools. Then, click on any of the sponsored listings to learn more about individual schools.
Did You Know? Low adult literacy is responsible for an excess of $230 billion a year in health care costs because nearly half of American adults have trouble understanding health information
Adult Education Schools: Basic Facts
Adult education schools may prepare you to teach adult learners in a number of different roles, such as a corporate trainer for businesses, organizations, or government agencies,[ii] or as a literacy and high school equivalency diploma teacher.i You will likely study how to effectively create, deliver, and evaluate lesson plans and curriculum for adult learners and the effective application of a variety of teaching methods.[iii] You may also learn to help students overcome common obstacles unique to adult learners, such as learning disabilities and the challenge of balancing education with work and family, and tailor lessons to their individual strengths and weaknesses.
When pursuing your adult education degree, common courses you may take include:
- Adult Learning Theory
- Instructional Strategies for Adult Learners
- Instructional Technology and Online Education
- Program Design, Assessment, and Evaluation
- Curriculum Development and Instructional Design
However, it’s important to remember that every program is unique and courses may vary from school to school and depending on the level of adult education degree you decide to pursue. Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about individual adult education schools to find the most appealing program for you!
Benefits of Earning Your Degree On-Campus
Pursuing your adult education degree in a traditional format may be a perfect solution if you prefer more structure. Because on-campus courses meet at a specific time and location, you could schedule accordingly. Plus, taking courses face-to-face with classmates and professors may help develop camaraderie and friendships that may not happen online.
These relationships may have more opportunity to grow with access to campus facilities, such as the library, cafeteria, as well as to activities such as intramural sports and other campus groups and events. And building relationships with your peers and professors could prove important as you begin networking and searching for employment. Especially if you’re looking to teach in the area!
So, if you’re interested in earning your adult education degree on-campus, browse the sponsored listings on this page to find a perfect program for you!
Licensure for Teaching Adult Education
One of the careers you may pursue after earning your adult education degree is as a basic literacy and high school equivalency diploma teacher. These teachers also typically teach ESL students as well.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the number of literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers to increase 7% for the years 2014 to 2024. As immigration to the United States continues at its current rate, there may be a large number of adults who don’t speak English well enough to find and keep employment.i That means basic literacy, ESL, and high school equivalency diploma teachers may continue to be in demand
Adult Education Requirements
Some states require that teachers receive a state license or teaching certificate to practice. Every state is different, and you should research your state’s specific requirements. That being said, most states require:
- Bachelors degree
- Complete approved teacher-training program
- State certificate (Some states have certificates in adult education, others require either a certificate in elementary or secondary education)[iv]
- A clean criminal background
Adult education schools may be a great way to prepare to apply for licensure and provide the basic knowledge you may need to succeed. Additionally, some states may require masters degrees, so be sure to do your research so you might find the perfect adult education graduate school for you.
Different Adult Education Degree Options
Typically, adult education graduate degrees come in three different options: certificates, masters, and doctorates. All adult education degrees focus on providing you the education necessary to teach and support adult learners. However, each degree level may vary in depth of study and objectives. Read on to learn more and determine which might be great for you.
Certificate programs are typically created for part-time students who work full-time and normally consist of four to six classes, depending on the program. Often, courses focus on providing a deep understanding of the fundamentals of teaching adult learners by building on past educational experience and immediate application through group-based projects. This may prepare you to teach adult learners skills they may need to find and keep employment.
Because most students who enter a certificate program are already working full-time, many enroll in on-campus certificate in adult education programs to enhance their career through professional study. Additionally, most institutions allow students who have earned their certificate to transfer those credits to an advanced degree. That means certificate programs may provide you with an opportunity to take some advanced level courses without committing to the rigors of a masters or doctoral degree. Check with your potential school to see if this might be an option.
Most on-campus graduate certificates in adult education programs are post baccalaureate certificates, which means you may need a bachelors degree, though not necessarily in adult education, to be accepted. However, there could be some post-masters certificate programs that require a masters degree. Typically students earn their certificate in a year or two, but this may depend on transfer credits and professional experience. Contact schools directly for details.
The masters degree in adult education was the most awarded degree earned in the field in 2014. That’s because most masters in adult education programs require that students have earned a bachelors degree from an accredited university and graduated with a minimum GPA, but typically the bachelors degree doesn’t have to be in adult education. That makes it one of the most accessible masters degrees to pursue.
Interested? Then you should know that there are three different types of masters degrees in adult education you might choose from. They are:
- Masters of Arts (MA)
- Masters of Science (MS)
- Masters of Education (MEd)
While all of these different masters degree options prepare you to teach adult learners, there are some differences between them. For instance, a masters of science in adult education may prepare you for a career in educational research, while a masters of arts may focus more on applying theories to the classroom. Because earning your masters degree may be challenging, it may be important for you to know your goals before pursuing your degree so that you know which type of degree may be perfect for you.
Most masters degree programs in adult education can be completed in two years if you’re able to take two classes a semester. Often, masters degree programs also require a portfolio or thesis project, in addition to core coursework, to prove that you have acquired the necessary tools to earn your degree.
Upon earning your degree, you may be able to pursue a number of different career paths. Some of the roles you may pursue, including a training and development manager, only require a bachelors degree. However some companies are now looking for candidates with advanced degrees and your pursuit of higher education could set you apart.[v] The median salary for a training and development managers in 2015 was $102,640.[vi] Plus, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be a 7% increase in the number of training and development managers for the ten years 2014 to 2024v because innovative technology will continue to change the way companies and organizations train their employees, especially those who work remotely. Therefore, training programs may need to be restructured and training manuals rewritten to accommodate and include new technology, such as mobile learning and social networks.[vii] That means now may be a great time for you to earn your adult education degree on-campus!
A doctorates degree in adult education is the terminal degree in the field, which means it is the highest degree you can earn. Therefore, classes and coursework require you to perform more independent research and normally delve deeper into subject matter than courses at other degree levels. Due to the rigor of these studies, most adult education doctorates degree programs require that students have earned a masters degree from an accredited institution. Also, before earning your degree, most programs require a dissertation to show you’ve acquired the necessary education. Programs vary however, so contact individual schools for details.
Depending on your professional experience, upon graduation you may be qualified for a number of different advanced career paths. Many students who earn a doctoral degree look to become postsecondary teachers at colleges or universities. In some fields, you may only need a masters degree to become a postsecondary teacher, however most require a doctorate degree.[viii] Doctoral degree graduates may also pursue careers as program planner and evaluator or as a director of grant writing. These options allow graduates to apply their degree into the strategy and research of effectively teaching adult learners and work to impact the education system as a whole.
Take the Next Step!
There may be many adult education schools available to you, most of which offer different degree levels on-campus. Learning in a traditional, face-to-face format could provide you with the structure to help you succeed. Plus, it may provide an opportunity for you to develop relationships with classmates, professors, and alumni groups that could help you find a job later on.
So, if you enjoy helping others develop skills, pursuing your adult education degree may be the perfect choice for you! Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about individual adult education degree programs. That may include admissions requirements, graduation requirements, and a program overview. You can even contact the schools directly to request more information!
[i]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm#tab-6 |[ii]bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/training-and-development-specialists.htm#tab-2 |[iii]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm#tab-2 |[iv]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm#tab-4 |[v]bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm#tab-4 |[vi]bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm#tab-5 |[vii]bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm#tab-6 |[viii]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-4
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University Chicago's School of Education serves more than 1,000 graduate students enrolled in master's, educational specialist, certificate, and doctoral programs.
- Elgin, ILElgin, IL
National Louis University
Sixteen month online program with emphasis on reflecting on practice.
- Lisle, IL
- Skokie, IL
- Wheeling, IL
- Chicago, IL
- Greensboro, NCGreensboro, NC
North Carolina A&T State University
The mission of the Adult and Continuing Education Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is to prepare effective adult...
- Dekalb, ILDekalb, IL
Northern Illinois University
- Fargo, NDFargo, ND
North Dakota State University
North Dakota State University offers both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees in Education, with an emphasis in either Institutional Analysis or Occupational and Adult Education.
- Bronx, NYBronx, NY
- Louisville, KYLouisville, KY
University of Louisville
The Department of Occupational Training and Development is involved with the urban community to promote and provide quality education and experiences...
- Indiana, PAIndiana, PA
Indiana University Of Pennsylvania
Prepare for a career in workforce training, instructional technology or adult education by earning a Master's in AECT from IUP.
- Muncie, INMuncie, IN
Ball State University
This growing field holds promise if you are looking to help educate or train adult learners.
- Huntington, WVHuntington, WV
- Alva, OKAlva, OK
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
The focus of the program is on the preparation of faculty and administrators for post-secondary educational settings such as community and senior coll...
- Harrisonburg, VAHarrisonburg, VA
James Madison University
The Master of Science in Education degree with a major in adult education/human resource development is designed for persons entering or advancing in posit...
- Riverside, CARiverside, CA
University of California - Riverside
UCR Extension, in collaboration with the UCR Graduate School of Education, offers a California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) approved prog...
- Columbia, ALColumbia, AL
University of Missouri - Columbia
- Kingston, RIKingston, RI
University of Rhode Island
- Saint Louis, MOSaint Louis, MO
University of Missouri - St Louis
The program offers emphasis areas in adult education and in higher education.
- Denton, TXDenton, TX
University of North Texas
- New York City, NYNew York City, NY
- Greeneville, TNGreeneville, TN
A graduate degree in education specifically designed for corporate training professionals and others who work in training for adults...
- Storrs Mansfield, CTStorrs Mansfield, CT
University of Connecticut
- Little Rock, ARLittle Rock, AR
University of Arkansas - Little Rock
- Athens, GAAthens, GA
University of Georgia
The Adult Education Program prepare educational leaders, researchers, and instructors to educate adults in various settings.