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Adult Literacy Teacher: Job Info & Career Requirements

Research the educational and skill requirements needed to become an adult literacy teacher, as well as the job description and employment and salary outlook. Read on to decide if this career is right for you.

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Career Defined for Adult Literacy Teacher

Adult literacy teachers provide reading and writing instruction to adults, including high school dropouts and recent immigrants. Literacy programs are open to any individual who needs to improve his or her reading skills. Adult literacy teachers work with both public and private agencies and educational programs to ensure that adults have access to the educational resources they need. Adult literacy teachers must set clear objectives for students, provide continual guidance and track their progress. These teachers also develop lesson plans and create teaching aids. Because most adult literacy programs are not taken for credit, these teachers usually work with students on a less formal level.

Education Bachelor's degree is typically required along with training in adult education; teaching license may be required
Job Skills Ability to adapt coursework, strong communication skills, patience and understanding
Median Salary (2015) $50,280 for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Adult literacy teachers usually have a bachelor's degree in education and may have a master's degree. Some education degree programs offer concentrations that teach students to be adult educators or provide additional training in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Courses may include adult education administration, adult psychology, curriculum development and global issues in adult education. Teachers who instruct students in English as a second language may want to take linguistics courses; although being bilingual is certainly helpful for this career, it is not required in most cases.

Licensing Requirements

Most states also require licensure for adult literacy instructors who teach in government-subsidized programs. Some states have certification requirements specific to adult literacy teachers. In these cases, a bachelor's degree is often a minimum standard to qualify for certification.

Required Skills

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), adult literacy teachers usually need the following skills:

  • Patience and understanding when working with students
  • Ability to adapt coursework to meet each student's needs
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to boost students' confidence

Employment and Salary Outlook

The BLS reported that employment opportunities for adult literacy and GED teachers were expected to be fast as average in the coming years, increasing at a rate of 7% from 2014-2024. The median salary for adult literacy teachers was $50,280 in May 2015, according to the BLS.


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