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Adult education careers are varied and include teaching, administration, and curriculum development, as well as positions in regulatory and accrediting agencies. While many people may find a great deal of satisfaction in teaching adult students, the field of adult education requires training competent individuals in support roles. Qualifications for adult education careers vary considerably, with some people working in adult education holding advanced degrees, while others may gain their training on the job.
Adult education classes can vary in topic and scope, with some coursework geared toward assisting adults who lack basic academic skills, such as the ability to read or write, while other programs train adults in job skills or for new careers. Teachers of adult education courses in such remedial subjects may need special training and licensure to do so. Other instructors spend their adult education careers teaching continuing education or enrichment classes. While it is possible to earn an adult education degree, many teachers of adult education simply hold a degree in their area of specialization, though they may also be licensed or recognized by a licensing board to provide training in a particular trade or profession.
Other adult education careers include the administration of adult education schools and programs. Administrative positions can range from office support to high-level management, including academic posts at community colleges, trade schools, and universities that offer adult education programs. Office support workers may interact with students on a regular basis and offer assistance with course scheduling, selection, and financial issues. They may also assist instructors in ensuring that they have the facilities and tools needed to teach their courses. Adult education managers and higher ranking officials may liaise with accreditation and regulatory officials, hire instructors, and approve curriculum.
For those who are not interested in working directly with students but who wish to pursue adult education careers, curriculum development and instructional design may be of interest. These professionals design curriculum and instructional aids for adult education programs, such as textbooks, workbooks, and online learning platforms. Given the popularity of online education for adults, many adult education instructional designers specialize in the development of online courses.
Since educational programs are often regulated or subject to outside scrutiny, there are several adult education careers for those who wish to work for government licensing bodies or third-party accreditors. These individuals may work to establish criteria for quality education and benchmarks that educators must meet. They may also evaluate instructors, schools, and curriculum. Some licensing bodies and accrediting agencies focus on adult education programs, credentialing programs that are of sufficient quality and that prepare students for future careers.