How to Become an Adult & Continuing Education Teacher Quickly

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Are you considering a career in adult and continuing education but you're not 100% sure on how to enter the field? Keep reading to discover how to become an adult or continuing education teacher as quickly as possible.

Adult & Continuing Education

The field of adult and continuing education as a whole is quite broad. While some employers and localities may view adult and continuing education teachers as one in the same, today we're going to look at them separately for the sake of you, the job seeker.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, adult education teachers typically teach (or reteach) students over age 18 basic subjects, such as reading, writing, mathematics, and life skills, which helps prepare them to become competent, educated employees and citizens. Adult education teachers may also arm students with the skills that are necessary to earn their high school equivalency diploma, or GED.

On the other hand, continuing education teachers primarily instruct adult students in niche areas of study, such as nursing, cosmetology, technology, or other fields that may experience rapid advancements. While some continuing education instructors teach courses that are strictly for self-enrichment, others teach classes that are required by certain jobs for state licensing purposes. To expand on the latter, many professions require workers to complete a certain number of continuing education (commonly referred to as CE) credits in order to renew their license.

Regardless of the path that you're interested in, there are specific requirements that must be met, and those requirements determine how quickly you can get a job. Let's take a look at those now.


Adult Education Teacher Requirements

New Career

If you're looking to become an adult education teacher as a brand new career, you'll likely need to earn at least a bachelor's degree in education. This commonly takes about four years depending on how much time you can devote to your studies. Several universities offer adult education majors as well as master's degrees or graduate-level certificates in adult education, which may be required by certain employers. You can often complete these degree or certificate programs online, which may speed up the process.

You may also have to complete a certain amount of student teaching in order to gain experience before landing a job as an adult education teacher. Additionally, many states and employers require that adult education teachers be licensed and/or certified. Because requirements can vary so drastically from state to state, it is advisable to check with your state's education department to ensure that you complete the necessary steps. The same goes for employers; requirements can be very different from one employer to the next, so always check to be sure you follow the appropriate path for your preferred job.

Transitional Job

Are you already a teacher but looking for a change of pace? If you already have a bachelor's degree in education, you may have to complete some adult education coursework or earn a master's degree in adult education prior to obtaining a job in the field. There may also be additional educational, licensing, or certification requirements depending on your state and employer. Again, remember to always check these requirements.


Continuing Education Teacher Requirements

The requirements for continuing education teachers are a bit different. Because continuing education focuses on niche areas of study, teachers are almost always required to be experienced professionals in their specific line of work. Instead of needing a degree in education as adult education teachers commonly do, continuing education teachers are typically required to hold a degree in their respective field. For example, continuing education teachers that teach cosmetology classes are usually required to be experienced, licensed cosmetologists.

Licensing and certification are also common requirements, and in some cases, prospective teachers are required to complete at least some coursework in teaching before they enter a classroom. This helps them gain the skills that are necessary for lesson planning, student evaluation, and other teacher-related responsibilities.


Bottom Line

As you can see, the paths and time frames for becoming an adult and continuing education teacher may vary from one individual to the next. If you are already a teacher, you'll likely be able to become an adult education teacher much quicker than someone who is just entering the teaching field. Additionally, if you are already a professional in a specific field, you'll probably be able to become a continuing education teacher much quicker than someone who isn't an experienced professional.

The main thing to remember is that there is no set of standard, definitive requirements for adult and continuing education teachers. If you are interested in becoming one, do your research so that you know exactly what you'll need to reach your goal.

By Erin Riskey
February 2017
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