Adult Remedial Education Instructors Overview

Many employers require a bachelor’s degree at minimum for adult remedial educational instructors and most publicly run programs also require a public school teaching license. Part time jobs without benefits are not uncommon in this career. That said, job prospects look favorable, especially for those who can teach English to non-native speakers.

Nature of the Work for Adult Remedial Education Instructors

Adult Remedial Education Instructors

Adult remedial educational instructors teach math, reading, writing and English speaking skills to adults and youths not in school. They help equip students to solve problems, further their education and find better jobs. Instruction is classified in three categories: English literacy instruction for adults with limited proficiency in the language, adult basic education (ABE) for adults who test at or below an eighth-grade level and adult secondary education (ASE) for students seeking a high school equivalency credential like the General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Many of these students never graduated from high school or failed to acquire the skills needed for their career or education goals. More and more, adult remedial educational instructors find immigrants or other who aren’t fluent in English. Adult remedial educational instructors who work with these students are referred to as English as a second language (ESL) teachers or teachers of English to speakers of other languages (ESOL).

English Language Learners Teachers help non-native adult speakers learn to read, write, speak and listen in English, often using real-life scenarios. Depending on skill level, some of these students may focus on job-related communication skills or academic skills. ESL adult remedial educational instructors work with students of many cultural backgrounds including age and languages spoken, so they need to be sensitive to cultural differences. Some students may have been very well educated in their own country and others may have had little schooling. Instruction will need to be tailored to meet the needs of students who advance at different paces. Because these adult remedial educational instructors won’t share a native language with their students, creativity can be important for learning and communication.

Adult basic education teachers instruct students in basis of reading, writing, math, science, languages, history and more, gearing teaching methods toward adults. They’re responsible for students 16 years and older who need to build skills in one or more subject. Adult remedial educational instructors learn to tailor teaching methods to a variety of learning styles from one-on-one to large-group instruction. Before classes begin, students’ skill must be assessed because they’re often at different levels in each subject and the results help develop personalized education plans for each students. Usually assessment is not the responsibility of adult remedial educational instructors. Formal evaluations are required by adult remedial educational instructors to determine progress and potential for students advancement with constant informal evaluations. Adult remedial educational instructors in ABE often help students with study skills and self-confidence in academics as well. Students with learning or physical disabilities aren’t uncommon and they often need additional expertise. Instructors need to know how to help these students reach their goals, understand challenges and provide the tools needed to overcome those challenges.

Adult secondary education or GED teachers help students meet the goal of passing the GED exam. To earn a GED students must pass a series of five tests in reading, writing, mathematics, social studies and science. Most adult remedial educational instructors in this area teach all subjects to help students pass the test plus they help students improve critical thinking, problem solving, information processing and communication skills that are essential for advanced education and future careers.

At all levels, adult remedial educational instructors help students find additional resources in their communities such as job placement services, healthcare or postsecondary educational institutions such as community colleges.

Outside of the classroom, adult remedial educational instructors prepare lesson plans, complete paperwork and stay current in the field. Typically adult education courses don’t require attendance or graded papers. As technology becomes more widely used for ESOL instruction, teachers need to learn the latest software.

While traditional teachers often have to deal with behavioral and social problems, the adult students adult remedial educational instructors teach typically don’t present the same issues. These adult students are often highly motivated and choose to attend classes, which can make the work very satisfying. That said, some students carry baggage of past learning difficulties that present a challenge to teachers. The classrooms available to adult remedial educational instructors can be less than ideal—they’re often cramped and old without modern amenities.

Part time work is common for adult remedial educational instructors and many workers hold several part time teaching jobs or work a full time job as well. Evening and weekend hours are common as classes are scheduled to meet the needs of students who have jobs or families.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Adult Remedial Education Instructors

Bachelor’s degrees are a must for nearly all adult remedial educational instructors, but some programs seek candidates with a masters degree in adult education or a masters degree in ESOL instruction. In addition, some states require an adult education teacher or public school teacher license.

Most states require adult remedial educational instructors to hold a bachelor’s degree, though some programs favor those holding masters degrees. Experience in teaching adults is often preferred. Adult education or ESOL masters degrees and graduate certificates are offered through some colleges and universities, though some adult education programs offer teacher training workshops and classes such as methods for teaching adults, technology and teaching, teaching adults with learning disabilities and working with students from many cultures. Training in second-language acquisition theory and linguistics is important for ESOL teachers and an understanding of the naturalization and citizenship process can be helpful. ESOL adult remedial educational instructors don’t need to know a second language, but those that do may have a better understanding of their students’ perspectives. GED teachers should be well versed in the requirements and subject areas of the GED exam.

Professional development varies widely though both part time and full time teachers need to participate to stay up to date on new developments to enhance their skills. Professional development workshops and activities are typically required by state to match the needs of that particular state or locality. Some adult remedial educational instructors can complete professional development through online schools.

Adult remedial educational instructors employed in a state or local government run programs often need either a public school teacher license or a license for adult education teachers, but requirements vary by state. To qualify for a license, a bachelor’s degree and completion of an approved teaching training program is needed.

Students in adult education often come from a variety of economic, cultural and educational backgrounds so adult remedial educational instructors need to be ready to accommodate. They must be familiar with typical concerns and be understanding and respectful of different circumstances. Communication and motivation skills are a must for teachers.

Advancement opportunities vary by state and program. Some adult remedial educational instructors who work part time may find full time teaching jobs or full time positions as a coordinator or director as jobs become available. Others use the classroom experience to move into policy work with a nonprofit organization or government unit or to research or write teaching materials.

Top 10 Most Popular Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching Schools

1. University of Phoenix (Multiple Campus Locations)
2. University of West Alabama (Livingston, Alabama)
3. Capella University - Minneapolis (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
4. Kansas State University (Manhattan, Kansas)
5. Tusculum College, Greenville (Greeneville, Tennessee)
6. University of Oklahoma, Norman Campus (Norman, Oklahoma)
7. University of Central Oklahoma (Edmond, Oklahoma)
8. University of Arkansas, Main Campus (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
9. Buffalo State College (Buffalo, New York)
10. Cleveland State University (Cleveland, Ohio)

See All Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching Schools

Most Popular Online Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching Schools

1. University of Phoenix - Online School
2. Purdue University Global
3. University of Arizona Global Campus
4. Walden University - Online School
5. Capella University - Online School
6. Argosy University, Online Programs
7. St. Joseph's College - Online School

Employment and Job Outlook for Adult Remedial Education Instructors

Number of People in Profession


Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow faster than average (increase 14 - 19%).

About 96,000 adult remedial educational instructors were working in 2008 and additional teachers worked as unpaid volunteers. Most paid instructors are employed by the educational services industries though many jobs are federally funded with help from state and local governments.

Faster than average job growth is expected in the career and many openings will occur due to those who leave or retire from the career. Overall, job prospects are favorable with the best options available to those able to teach English as a second language.

Through 2018, employment of adult remedial educational instructors is projected to increase 15 percent, which is faster than average. A more literate workforce is in demand across all occupations so the demand for basic adult education, secondary adult education and adult literacy is expected to increase. The growing number of immigrants and other residents looking to improve English skills will pave the way for employment of adult remedial educational instructors specializing in ESOL.

When the economy is good, the demand for adult literacy and education decreases because workers are hard to find causing employers to hire workers without a degree, English proficiency or a GED. But when times are bad employers can be more selective and workers often feel the need to have more education to get a job. Funding levels also affect adult education classes and thus cause the number of adult remedial educational instructors jobs to fluctuate from year to year. Budget concerns may cut back federal funding of adult education causing programs to favor volunteers. Immigration policies and the relative prosperity of the country also tends to have an impact on the demand for ESOL teachers due to the number of immigrants in the country.

A high turnover of part time adult remedial educational instructors often creates many job openings. ESOL teachers, especially in states with residents possessing limited English skills like California, New York, Texas and Florida, will find the most opportunities. However, as other parts of the country are now attracting large immigrant populations, good opportunities for ESL teachers are more widely available.

Earnings and Salary for Adult Remedial Education Instructors

The median hourly wages is $22.26 for adult remedial educational instructors. The highest 10 percent earned above $38.95 an hour, the lowest 10 percent earned under $12.48 and the middle 50 percent earned between $16.65 and $29.78. Full time adult remedial educational instructors who work for a school system or the government typically earn a salary with benefits including health insurance. Part time workers on the other hand, are usually paid hourly or by the class without benefits.

Annual Salary for Adult Remedial Education Instructors

On average, Adult Remedial Education Instructors earn $45,920 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $26,510/yr $34,720/yr $62,970/yr $83,120/yr

Hourly Wage for Adult Remedial Education Instructors

On average, Adult Remedial Education Instructors earn $22.08 per hour.

10% 25% 75% 90% $12.75 $16.69 $30.27 $39.96

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook