How to Become an Adult Basic Education Teacher

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Many adults are forced to leave school due to special circumstances, or to enter the workforce before they finish learning the general education skills needed to complete high school. Adult basic education teachers instruct adults and youths who have left school prior to graduating in the basic skills essential to becoming productive contributors to society, furthering their education, and pursuing better job opportunities.

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What does an adult basic education teacher do?

Adult basic education teachers may have a specific focus, such as adult literacy, remedial education, or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) preparation, and are trained to teach adults and youths in or out of school basic subjects in reading, history, writing, science, and general math. These basic skills are essential for problem-solving in everyday life situations. Other focuses, including English as a second language (or ESL) are also taught to non-native adult students, along with basic education.

Adult literacy teachers help adults not just learn to read, but help to improve reading comprehension, and teach skills that adults normally acquire after school, such as reading and understanding bank statements, stock reports – even crossword puzzles, and other recreational reading challenges. Remedial education teachers generally teach adults who have under an 8th grade education, or students who are still in high school, but are in need of extra assistance in order to graduate. A GED teacher will generally instruct adults who are past high school age in preparation for the GED exam, or related high school equivalency certificate.

These educators use teaching methods that are geared specifically toward adult learners. They adjust to a wide range of learning styles and use different teaching methods such as direct instruction, small-group work, and individual teaching. They make individual assessments of each student’s skills and abilities before instruction to efficiently create learning opportunities. These teachers also assess each student over time and record their progress and potential to advance to a higher education level. Click here to find out how to become an adult basic education teacher.

What kind of training does an adult basic education teacher need?

Almost all programs require adult basic education teachers to have a minimum of a bachelor degree in adult education and some programs require a master degree. Most states require licensed adult education teachers to qualify to work in a local or state government program. Some states require adult education licenses and others require a public school teacher license. Licenses generally require a bachelor degree and completion of a teacher training program. Many colleges and universities offer graduate certificates and master degrees in adult education.

Adult basic education teachers must receive continuing education and professional development activities to keep their skills current and be abreast on new developments in the field of adult basic education.

What are the prospects for a career as an adult basic education teacher?

Employment for teachers of adult basic education is projected to grow by 14% through 2016, which is faster than average for all professions, from 76,000 jobs in 2006 to more than 86,600 jobs in 2016. (1)

Job prospects are expected to be favorable, especially for educators who already have experience teaching adult learners. A large number of job opportunities are also expected to replace teachers who leave the profession by switching to another career field or retiring.

How much do adult basic education teachers make?

Currently, the entry-level adult basic education teacher salary is around $32,300, with salaries exceeding $43,700 for those with 20 or more years of experience. Those in local and state government positions have starting salaries around $42,000. (2)

Teaching adult basic education is a satisfying career for educators who have a passion for teaching adults with a variety of backgrounds. Basic education teachers must be understanding and respect individual differences and circumstances. They must also be compassionate in regards to special situations. Excellent communication and motivation skills are also essential. Click here for a list of programs to get your adult basic education degree online.

Joshua T Osborne

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