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Adult and Continuing Education Doctorate Program Information

Adult and continuing education doctoral programs focus on effective teaching practices for postsecondary students. These research-intensive programs can be completed in about three years of full-time study.

Individuals who are interested in adult and continuing education can complete doctoral degree programs in the field. Read on to get information about prerequisites, program requirements and career information.

Adult and Continuing Education Doctorate Program Details

Adult and continuing education doctorate programs train degree candidates to plan, deliver and facilitate coursework for students enrolled in postsecondary education programs. These programs typically require a minimum of 90-94 credit hours to complete. Most schools also require a practicum in an approved setting as well as an internship with a school or other educational organization. At some schools, internships are replaced with self-study and experiential courses. In addition, students are required to conduct research leading to a final dissertation.

Program Coursework

Some schools require students to complete approximately 12 credit hours of prerequisite adult education seminars before being allowed to take core courses. Once this requirement has been fulfilled, students can take classes in a variety of topics, including:

  • Characteristics of adult learners
  • Research methods
  • Educational philosophies
  • Educational psychology
  • Multicultural curriculum programming
  • Organizational learning
  • Program planning
  • Administration
  • Human resources

During their final semesters, professors guide degree candidates through the process of researching and writing a doctoral dissertation. For their dissertation research, students undertake independent study in a particular subspecialty within the field of adult and continuing education. Typical specialties include:

  • Educational and media technology
  • Curriculum design
  • Faculty leadership

Entrance Requirements

Most adult and continuing education doctorate programs seek applicants with at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Some schools often require a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. In addition, students are required to submit application materials, including the following:

  • Academic transcript
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Application fee

Career Options for Graduates

Graduates typically find employment as administrators or professors at community colleges, technical schools or 4-year colleges and universities. They could also find jobs as program managers or consultants with businesses and non-profit organizations.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, postsecondary education administrators earned a median annual salary of $90,760 as of May 2016. Job opportunities in this field were expected to increase 9% over the 2014-2024 decade. Postsecondary teachers, on the other hand, could see a 13% growth in employment over this same 10-year period. As of May 2016, the median salary for postsecondary education teachers was $62,520.

In doctoral programs, degree candidates can take advanced courses and conduct research related to adult continuing education, which can prepare them for positions at postsecondary institutions.

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