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Adult Education Worker Job Description, Career as an Adult Education Worker, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training College

Salary Median—$14.85 per hour

Employment Outlook Very good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Adult education workers usually teach evening classes at public high schools. Most of their students are older than eighteen—too old for regular high school. Others work for community colleges, private and religious organizations, and community groups.

Goals and subjects vary by school. Most offer basic adult education courses, which provide instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, and often English as a second language. Success in these courses can lead to general equivalency diplomas (GED), which are comparable to high school diplomas.

Continuing education is generally intended for people who have completed their basic education. Courses range from specific skills, such as typing and flower arranging, to more academic subjects, including literature, history, and Bible interpretation.

Education and Training Requirements

Most basic education workers need only bachelor's degrees, but those who teach in public high schools may need teacher certification. Administrators may need

Adult education workers teach a specific skill, such as computer use, to adults in the community. (© Tom Stewart/Corbis.)

teaching experience and master's degrees or doctorates in community education and administration.

Continuing education programs, by contrast, need workers with specific skills. Schools that need ceramics teachers are likely to hire experienced potters.

Getting the Job

If you have a specific skill you would like to teach, write to your local school board and propose a course. If you are interested in teaching basic education, you can apply directly to the superintendent of schools. Openings are sometimes listed in local newspapers, in job banks on the Internet, and with state employment services.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Continuing education teachers usually begin by working part time. They may decide to pursue teaching on a full-time basis or become program administrators. Advancement to other kinds of teaching positions may require additional education and certification. Basic education workers can also become administrators.

The job outlook is very good. Many schools that want to put their facilities to best use are offering evening classes. More employers are demanding higher levels of academic skill, which may increase enrollment in classes that teach reading, writing, mathematics, and GED preparation. Participation in continuing education depends entirely on marketing and the number of adults interested in classes for personal enrichment.

Working Conditions

Many adult education workers teach one or two courses a week, usually in addition to their full-time jobs. They are most likely to teach in the evening because their students work during the daytime.

Classes, ranging from three to sixty students, usually last from one to three hours and meet one to five times a week. Classes are most often held in public high schools and community colleges or at the facilities of community organizations. Some are conducted in prisons and private homes.

Where to Go for More Information

American Association for Adult and Continuing Education
10111 Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy., Ste. 200C
Bowie, MD 20720
(301) 459-6261

National Community Education Association
3929 Old Lee Hwy., Ste. 91-A
Fairfax, VA 22030-2401
(703) 359-8973

National Education Association
1201 Sixteenth St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 833-4000

Earnings and Benefits

Workers are often paid by the hour, and their wages vary by school, state, or private sponsor. In 2004 the median salary for adult education workers was $14.85 per hour. Part-time workers get few, if any, benefits.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEducation & Training