As the name suggests, adult education programs prepare you to work with adult learners. The programs are based on adult learning philosophy, known as andragogy. In andragogy, learners are assumed to be self-motivated, self-directed, and have accumulated life experiences that need to be accounted for in course design and delivery. Adult learners are also goal-oriented and so the course goals and objectives must be established early in the course. They are relevancy-oriented, and so must see a reason for learning something, and the practical applications of what is being taught need to be clear. Also, adult learners need to be treated with respect – with valuable experience and knowledge. All these considerations impact on course development and delivery, so as to result in a totally different learning experience to that which many of the adults might have experienced during their earlier years in secondary education.
Campus-based and online education in adult education programs can lead to interesting and satisfying careers facilitating learning in adults. This page provides information on what is studied in these programs, where you can study them, what the prospects are after completion, and more.
What does education in adult education comprise?
Graduate programs in adult education enable you to design, deliver and manage the effective learning of adults in a variety of settings. Most programs will allow you to concentrate on your chosen setting, including online education, workforce development, continuing education, higher education, and military education.
A typical master’s in adult education might include: approaches to adult learning and distance education; adult and continuing education policy; adult development and learning; program planning for adults; workforce development; critical analysis and research skills; technology in adult education; issues and trends in adult education; plus a thesis or dissertation.
A typical doctoral program in adult education might include: approaches to adult learning and distance education; critical analysis and research skills; and, application of theory and research to develop effective learning environments for individuals from a variety of backgrounds. The doctoral program will probably include one or more residential periods.
What are the career prospects?
Graduates of adult education find employment in: corporate training; teaching in the private sector; community services; educational administration, and management in vocational, technical, college/university, and continuing education. The qualifications you need to be an adult educator depend on the type and level of educational program. For example, if you are working with students who are preparing to take their GED, a bachelors or masters degree would usually be required, but in order to teach in higher education in a university, you a need a doctoral qualification. Some adult educators teach in community college courses or in specialized areas such as English as a Second Language (ESL). Adult education programs also provide a base for further training in counseling and careers work. Graduates also find work in development jobs and other non-profit organizations.
The United States Department of Labor reports a median annual income of about $40,000 for adult literacy and remedial education teachers. In a US university, as an Assistant Professor you would earn about US$54,000, as a Associate Professor about US$67,000, and as a full Professor you would earn about US$85,000 – but the competition is tough.
List of schools and programs
You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.
At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.
- Master's (M.Ed.) - Adult Education and Training
- Master's (M.Ed.) - Instructional Design and Technology
- Master's (M.Ed.) - Curriculum and Instruction for Educators
- Founded over 60 years ago on the principles of inclusion and social justice.
- Offers credit for previous life and work experience.
- Has 3 semesters and 6 start dates a year.
- Located in Pasadena, CA, with instructional sites in Sacramento, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Visalia as well as online options.
- Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
- Preliminary Education Specialist Credential
- M.A. Education with Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
- M.A. Education with Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential
- And more...
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*
- MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
- MS in Education - Educational Psychology
- MS in Instructional Technology (K-12)
- And more...
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University. We offer online programs focused on doctoral and master’s degrees in the schools of business and technology management, education, psychology and marriage and family sciences.
- Sports Management - EdS
- Global Training and Development - EdS
- E-Learning - EdS
- And more...
As a recognized leader in higher education since 1920, IWU empowers busy adults to reach their educational goals, advance in their careers, and find their true calling in life, all within a supportive, faith-based environment.
- Principal Licensure Program
- Transition to Teaching Certificate - Secondary
- Master of Education - Curriculum & Instruction & Track Online
- And more...
For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.
- Master of Science in Education, Teaching and Learning
Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.
A liberal arts institution with 16 colleges and schools, Liberty offers programs in fields such as medicine, religion, law, aviation, cinematic arts, psychology, business, and more. Part of the Big South Conference, Liberty fields 20 NCAA Division I athletic teams and 32 Club Sports teams, offering fans an unparalleled college sports experience.
- MA Teaching: Middle Grades
- M.Ed. - Teaching and Learning
- M.Ed: Teaching & Learning Student Services
- And more...
- AS Teaching
- Instructional Design & Technology
Your creativity is a big part of who you are and where you're going. To take it, and your future, as far as you want, you need an education that's focused on developing your talents and putting you on the path toward the creative career that stirs your imagination.
- Instructional Technology & Design (BS)