Overview of a Master's Degree Program in Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching
A master's degree program in adult and continuing education and teaching prepares students for a career as teachers to adult students. This can lead to a variety of teaching experiences, as adult education and continuing education can apply to many types of class settings.
Classes may occur in a workplace setting, high schools or at a community college or four-year college or university. Teachers of adult and continuing education might be teaching English to non-native citizens, or they may be helping an adult earn their high school diploma for the first time. With adult and continuing education teaching, you have options as to what type of class you teach.
Adult and continuing education teaching is the perfect option for retired teachers, or those looking for extra work to supplement their income. If you do not have a background in teaching, but have already earned a bachelors degree, a masters degree in adult and continuing education is a great way to transition into this career.
Applicants of these programs come from a range of backgrounds. Depending on the program, your peers may come from the field of human resources, community colleges, university extension programs, religious organizations, community organizations, armed services, adult basic education and literacy and more.
Applying to an Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching Master's Degree Program
In order to apply to a master's degree program in adult and continuing education teaching, you need at least a bachelor's degree. Although you may have earned a bachelor's degree in any concentration, it is helpful to have earned a bachelor's degree in the subject that you wish to teach. Teaching adult education and continuing education is growing in popularity, so admissions to graduate programs are competitive and applicants must have earned good grades in college.
The standard admissions process for this program include completing the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test, providing a personal statement, writing sample and attending a personal interview. Usually, the GPA minimum requirement is a 3.0. However you may be able to find a program that has a lower requirement.
How to Choose a Master's Degree Program in Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching
You want to choose a program that specializes in the type of teaching that you wish to do. Earning a master's degree in adult and continuing education can prepare you for a variety of adult teaching positions. Read the program descriptions below to decide which type of program fits with your career goals.
Some adult and continuing education and teaching masters degree programs are designed to prepare individuals to work for a range of companies, from nonprofits to corporate trainings. These programs focus on training adults for professional development.
Other programs focus on teaching adults in the college setting. These adults may be taking continuing education courses for their own personal enjoyment and enrichment, or they may be enrolled in the last few classes needed to earn a degree. Other adults might have returned to school to complete their high school diploma.
Some graduate schools have a comprehensive master's degree program in adult and continuing education and teaching in which they combine both types of programs. This prepares the individual to teach in any adult education position.
You may decide that you want to earn your master's degree, but do not believe that you have the time to attend grad school full time. If this is the case, try pursuing an online master's degree program in adult and continuing education and teaching. This will allow you to sign into your classes at your convenience, leaving you the time to maintain your other responsibilities such as work and family. As teaching is a hands-on process, some online master's degree programs follow a blended structure in which students must attend school in-class for a portion of the program. This may last anywhere from one day or longer. Make sure you understand the travel requirements before applying to an online master's degree program.
What to Expect in a Master's Degree Program in Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching
The main objective of a master's degree program in adult education and teaching is to learn the various ways in which adults learn. In order to do so, programs also teach students how to design, develop and manage adult and continuing education programs; the history of adult education; and use technology to aid in adult learning.
Most programs focus on a combination of theory and practice and place a heavy emphasis on professional communication. Thus, class discussions are aimed at problem solving make up a large portion of the curriculum. The student should interact with their peers in a professional manner, similar to how they will interact with their co-workers in a school setting.
You may be attending grad school in a state that requires adult education teachers to have a teaching license. If so, your program will prepare you for your states teacher licensing examination. Check with your school to see if this applies to you.
Students attending a master's degree program in adult and continuing education and teaching with the goal of becoming a teacher of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) should expect to learn naturalization and citizenship. Similarly, if you are planning to become a teacher for adult GED pursuers, plan on having additional instruction on the structure of the test and how to pass it.
Top 10 Graduate Schools for Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching
- University of Phoenix
- University of West Alabama
- Capella University - Minneapolis
- Kansas State University
- Tusculum College, Greenville
- University of Oklahoma, Norman Campus
- University of Central Oklahoma
- University of Arkansas, Main Campus
- Buffalo State College
- Cleveland State University
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