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Degrees for a Career in Adult Education

While adult education has traditionally involved teaching adults basic or secondary education skills, the field has expanded in recent years. Schools offering top degrees in adult education can also prepare graduates for work in:

    • Adult recreation
    • Community-based education
    • Corporate training
    • Distance education
    • Professional development

Degrees in Adult Education for Teachers of Adult Literacy and Remedial Education

A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for teachers of most adult remedial and literacy education programs. A bachelor's in adult education is your best college degree option, but majors in English, math, English as a second language (ESL), or one of the sciences can also be useful.

A few schools offer bachelor's degrees in adult education designed for mid-career professionals already working as teachers. These can be the best degree programs for teachers seeking to move into the field of adult education or pick up additional work through community-based programs.

Degree Programs for Professional Development Instructors and Corporate Trainers

Many professionals move into the fields of professional development and corporate training through experience they gain on the job. Formal training in adult education, however, can be essential for professionals without related work experience, or those seeking to build their skills or expand the scope of their work in these areas.

Graduate certificates and master's degrees are generally the best degrees for professionals seeking to deepen their knowledge base and familiarize themselves with current research. Top master's degrees include:

    • Master's in education
    • Master's in professional development
    • Master's in training or human resources

Furthermore, a master's in business administration can be a top college degree for business professionals wanting to apply their skills in the field of corporate training.

Degrees in Adult Education for Distance Learning Instructors

The explosion in distance learning has opened numerous career opportunities for professionals qualified to teach courses and programs online. There are several educational paths that can lead to distance learning instruction.

    • Advanced degree in your field. A master's degree or doctorate can be sufficient to get hired as a distance learning instructor, particularly if you have extensive work experience.

    • Advanced degree in your field plus a certificate in distance learning instruction or an advanced degree in adult education with a concentration in distance education. This is undoubtedly the top degree combination for distance learning instructors, as it signifies both expertise in a particular field and the ability to teach the strategies and techniques of e-learning.

    • Advanced degree in adult education, with a concentration in distance education. If you have impressive work experience and want to teach courses based on your real-world knowledge and experience, then adding a graduate degree in adult education to your credentials could make you a highly competitive job applicant.

Skilled adult educators are needed across a wide range of sectors. Businesses need instructors to lead professional development programs and offer training; health organizations need professionals with the skills to instruct staff members in new technologies; and many adults can benefit from basic literacy education. By choosing the best degree for your career of choice, you can ensure that your education pays off.

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