California Adult Education Online Programs | Online Adult Education Degree

Adult education online programs may provide you with the education to teach adult learners in a number of different settings, all while studying from the convenience of your home or office. Upon earning your adult education degree online, you could pursue a career for businesses, organizations, or the government as a training and development specialist. Or, perhaps you seek to help adult learners in classrooms as a literacy or postsecondary teacher. Whatever your goals, online adult education programs may help prepare you through the study of adult learning theories, best practices, and the appropriate application of those theories to help adult learners overcome the unique challenges they face.

The best part about earning your adult education online degree is that you could enjoy the freedom and flexibility that online learning provides. That means you may perform coursework around your busy schedule without having to drive to campus and fight for a parking spot. And you’ll gain potentially valuable experience with online tools which may be useful later in your career. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll be preparing to provide your future students with the skills they may need to find and keep jobs. That means you may have the opportunity to truly have an important impact on their lives.[i]

So, if you enjoy helping others through the power of education, continue reading to learn all about online adult education programs. Then, click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about individual programs!

Did You Know? About 50% of the 2 million immigrants that come to the United States every year lack a high school education and proficient English skills.[ii]

Adult Education Programs Online: Basics

Adult education online programs aim to teach the fundamental theories and methods for teaching adult learners and how to overcome the common obstacles they face. These obstacles could include learning disabilities, balancing family and work responsibilities, and readjusting to school. Because of these obstacles, courses may focus on how to not only develop lesson plans, but adapt your teaching methods to meet the needs of each individual student.

Some programs may concentrate more on preparing you to teach adult learners in the classroom, while others may aim to provide you the education to train for organizations and businesses.[iii] Programs that are focused on teaching in the classroom, whether it be as a postsecondary teacher or literacy and high school diploma teacher, may provide courses that focus on developing lesson plans, linguistics, and foundations of adult learning. On the other hand, programs focused on business training may include courses such as human resources management, business administration, and psychology.[iv]

Some adult education online programs may offer you the option of choosing a specialization or concentration as well, such as Administration, Adult Literacy, and Training and Development. These may help prepare you to pursue a specific role in the field or deepen your knowledge in an area that interests you. Carefully consider your goals to find a great program for you. To find out more about individual programs, click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to request more information from individual schools.

Potential Benefits of Online Learning Through Adult Education Online Programs

Online learning continues to grow in popularity because of the freedom and flexibility it provides students. While some programs offer synchronous online programs—where classes meet online at a certain time—most adult education online programs are asynchronous. That means that you can perform required coursework whenever you want and around your busy schedule.

However, there are many other potential benefits of online learning. One may be enhanced class discussions, as some students feel more comfortable sharing their true opinions online. Plus, most online programs use multimedia, such as webinars, podcasts, and infographics, which may help knowledge retention while you pursue your adult education online degree.

Finally, there are the potential career benefits of gaining experience with this learning format. As the popularity of online classes and use of remote workers continues to grow, many adult education courses are beginning to move online. Future employers may be looking for those with experience in this format and an aptitude for technology. What better way to gain this than by experiencing online education as a student! You may be even more prepared to provide a great online class to your future students.

Adult Education Online Degree Program Options

Typically, there are three different degree types for adult education online programs. These are graduate certificate programs, masters degrees, and doctorates degrees. Each of the different degree levels are focused on preparing you to teach adult learners. However, depending on the degree you pursue, courses may require more independent research and study. For instance, a doctorates course will cover deeper components of adult teaching theory than a certificate program course. Carefully consider your goals, as well as previous professional and educational experience, to find the best adult education online degree for you!

Online Graduate Certificate in Adult Education

Online certificate programs may be a good way for you to develop an understanding of how to effectively teach adults learners, without committing to a long-term degree program. Courses typically focus on providing you with a basic understanding of techniques and best practices for adult education, and the times to apply them. This could be a great way to deepen your knowledge and then quickly apply new techniques on the job. You could also test the waters of graduate level learning, then potentially transfer credits to a longer adult education graduate program. However schools vary, so check with potential programs to see if your credits might be eligible for transfer.

Most certificate programs are designed for part-time students who are already working full-time and have earned a bachelors degree. Therefore, programs typically only offer one course per semester. However, because most certificate programs only require four to six classes, students often complete the programs in two years. Post-masters degree certificate programs may also be available to provide you with an even deeper understanding of educational theories and how to apply them. Schools vary, so contact your preferred school for details

Online Masters in Adult Education Programs

Most masters in adult education online programs offer one of three different types of degree programs for you to choose from. The most common types of masters degrees in adult education are:

  • Masters of Arts (MA)
  • Masters of Science (MS)
  • Masters of Education (MEd)

All of them are educationally equivalent degrees and most require that you’ve earned a bachelors degree while maintaining a minimum GPA. Typically, all three of the different masters degree programs require 30 to 40 credit hours, and may be earned through two years of full time study. Program lengths vary by school.  However, where they may differ is in their approach. For instance, an MA in adult education may focus more on applying theories to the classroom, while an MS may prepare you more for a role in educational research. These compare to an MEd, which may provide opportunities in a number of different aspects of education, such as administration, curriculum development, or leadership roles.  Before applying to schools, it’s important to understand your goals and research individual programs to find a perfect match for you!

Online Doctorate in Adult Education Programs

Earning your online doctorate degree in adult education may provide you with a deep understanding of lesson preparation, curriculum, teaching strategies, and the development of environments for the effective teaching of adult learners. Doctorate degree programs typically focus on higher level thinking, such as critical analysis, as well as the application of theory and research. In fact, earning a doctorate degree is different from any of the other degrees because of the scope of the research involved. Most doctorate in adult education programs require students write, present, and defend a dissertation to graduate and typically can be completed in three years of part time study.  Program lengths, however, vary by school.

Typically, online doctorate degrees in adult education can be found in two forms:

  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

These are both academically equivalent degrees and are the terminal degree in the field, which means it is the highest degree you can earn in adult education. While there are many similarities, depending on which of the doctorates degrees you earn, you may be more prepared to pursue one type of position over another. For instance, if you decide to pursue a PhD in adult education, courses may focus more on developing you as a postsecondary teacher. An EdD, on the other hand, may prepare you to pursue roles in leadership developing strategies and curriculum. Click on any of the doctorate programs below to learn more!

Take the Next Step to Earn Your Adult Education Online Degree!

If you enjoy teaching others skills they may need to enhance their career but need to accommodate a busy lifestyle, an adult education online program might be great for you. This way, you can take classes and perform coursework around your schedule! You may even be able to apply techniques and teaching methods to your future classes as an online teacher. Plus, you’ll be preparing to give your students the valuable tools they may need to find and keep employment, and improve their livesi .

Does that sound like the perfect degree program for you? Then, click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about individual programs. Then, 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]proliteracy.org/Resources/Adult-Literacy-Facts | [iii]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm#tab-4 | [iv]bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm#tab-4

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