Requirements for Teaching Adult Literacy Classes

Sep 16, 2019

Are you interested in a career as an adult literacy teacher? Read this article for more information about prerequisites for this position, typical job responsibilities, and other career details.

Essential Information

Adult literacy teachers help adults understand and master subjects like English, math, reading and writing. Teachers focus on adults whose literacy abilities lie at or below the eighth grade level. They're generally required to have a bachelor's degree in education, a teaching license and experience in teaching. Some states also require a special adult literacy teaching license.

Required Education Bachelor's degree at minimum; some employers require a graduate degree or certificate
Licensure Varies by state; some states require a teaching license, while others require special adult literacy teaching licensure
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 10% decline for adult literacy & high school equivalency diploma teachers
Median Annual Salary (2018)** $53,630 for adult literacy & high school equivalency diploma teachers

Sources: *The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics & **O'Net OnLine

Adult Literacy Education Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an adult literacy teacher is typically required to have, at minimum, a bachelor's degree in teaching or a related subject. Some states may require literacy teachers to have a master's degree or graduate certificate as well. Employers of adult literacy teachers may prefer to hire those who have previous experience teaching adults. Education requirements may also vary depending on the specific class being taught

English for Speakers of Other Languages Teacher

A person who teaches English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) may need formal education in how non-English speakers acquire a new language. For instance, they may take college courses in linguistics or complete a graduate certificate program in teaching ESOL. It's also helpful for an ESOL teacher to have working knowledge of the culture and customs of other countries. Although an ESOL teacher is not always required to know a second language, it is helpful.

General Educational Development Teacher

A teacher who leads General Educational Development (GED) prep classes may be required to know what path students preparing for a literacy exam should take. Because students come from many different literacy levels, teachers must have a plan in place to ensure that each student prepares properly. A GED teacher may be required to develop individualized instruction plans for students, or they may have to follow a structured curriculum. They may also be required to work with students on additional GED topics beyond reading and writing.

Continuing Education Options

Many states also require adult literacy teachers to participate in continuing education and professional development programs. Local and state policy details expectations for teachers, which may include attending workshops or conferences. Sometimes this can be accomplished via the Internet. The National Center on Adult Literacy (NCAL) and the System for Adult Basic Education Support (SABES) offer many tools for teachers, including training, support and access to resources.

Licensing Requirements

In addition to a bachelor's degree, some states require adult literacy professionals to have a teaching license. Other states require special licensing for teachers dedicated to adult literacy. Licensing requirements vary by state and may be stricter for teachers who work in a government-run literacy program. In order to qualify for licensure, applicants must have a bachelor's degree and have completed an approved teacher-training program.

A career as an adult literacy teacher usually requires at least a bachelor's degree, a teaching license and sometimes a specialty in literacy. They are responsible for helping adults improve their literacy levels. Job outlook for this field is expected to decline for the next ten years.

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