Adult education covers a number of different fields in instruction. Examples of environments where adult educators are required are:
- Literacy and GED courses
- Language and skills training for immigrants
- Personal tutoring
- Continuing education and special interest courses
- Corporate training
Adult education teachers can find positions in schools, colleges and businesses, or can provide private lessons.
An adult learning environment is also very different from a traditional classroom setting. Many of the students have been out of a formal learning situation for quite a while - and some previously left school because they didn't like it or had difficulty with it.
Many adult learners are choosing to upgrade their education because of job requirements, but you'll also find many personal reasons lead adults back into the world of education. This diversity amongst students could result in a greater challenge for you as the teacher, in managing the classroom.
However, you may also find the opposite to be true, as your adult learners might be more eager to engage themselves in the learning process. The reactions you receive from your students will truly depend on the type of learning environment you're working in and why the students are enrolled.
Some may find a career in adult education too precarious - the positions are often contract and part-time because adult students can't always commit to fulltime learning. The classes also tend to be held at night so your schedule will be outside the traditional nine to five. The availability of positions most often depends on enrollment, so if you're teaching a class that isn't required for a certain course of study, a permanent position may not be possible.
Despite these drawbacks, adult education is perfect for those who love to teach but don't enjoy working with children or adolescents. An adult classroom can feel more like an equal give and take of ideas, and you won't have to "babysit" your students. As adults, it's their choice to attend and engage in the class, and you'll generally find they want to be there.
The salary of an adult educator is variable, and will depend on the skill level of your students (for example, a college teacher will earn more than a high school instructor), the course you're instructing (a career-based course, such as computers, will pay more than an interest course, such as cooking) and the situation you're teaching in (private tutoring can pay more than traditional school settings, depending on how much you charge per session). Overall, you could be looking at a salary of anywhere from the low $20 000 a year range to around $100 000 a year.