Online Master’s In Adult Education Programs

Use this guide to online master’s degrees in adult education to explore what you will learn, possible careers, and ways to pay for your degree.

Updated September 21, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s In Adult Education Programs

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Adult educators help adult learners gain foundational math and literacy skills. Specialists in this area also work with adults studying for high school equivalency exams. Adult education jobs require excellent communication skills, patience, and adaptability.

A master's in adult education prepares students for careers in schools and community-based organizations. Graduates may serve as adult educators in a secondary school or as basic education teachers in a local nonprofit.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), adult education specialists earn median annual salaries of $55,350. Salaries in this field vary depending on job type and location. Adult educators may work full time or part time. The BLS projects about 5,300 job openings in adult education each year between 2019-2029.


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FAQ's Surrounding Master's in Adult Education Learning Programs


What degree do I need to teach adults?

Most adult education jobs require a bachelor's degree. A master's in adult education benefits those who seek more specialized roles.

What is the highest degree you can get for teaching?

Many schools offer a doctorate in education. Students may pursue a Ph.D. or Ed.D. depending on their career goals.

What are the different kinds of degrees in education?

Colleges offer education degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Most education jobs only require a bachelor's degree.

How many years is a degree in education?

An adult education master's degree typically takes two years to complete. Some schools feature accelerated programs that take less time.

Why Get a Degree in Adult Education?

Adult education specialists serve in essential roles within local communities. They improve literacy, help individuals learn English, and provide support for adult learners to gain a diploma. Adult education master's degrees prepare graduates to contribute to community development in meaningful ways.

Many schools offer affordable options for students wanting to pursue a career in adult education. Some adult education programs offer part-time or accelerated curricula, allowing working professionals to earn their degrees on their own terms. Students may choose to enroll in an online adult education program. Online degrees provide maximum value to enrollees who may already work in education.

How Much Does an Adult Education Degree Cost?

The cost of a master's in adult education varies depending on school type, location, and program length. Public schools usually cost less than private institutions. Schools in urban areas may charge higher tuition rates than institutions in rural areas. Students could pay less for an accelerated adult education program.

An online master's in adult education remains an affordable option for many students. Online programs tend to charge less than in-person degrees. Lower operating costs translate into better value for learners. Some state schools feature in-state tuition rates for online students even if they live in a different state.

Although students may pay distance education fees, an online program offers much flexibility. Enrollees who work may benefit from the individualized instruction of an online degree. Some online programs offer accelerated schedules, decreasing the time to degree and saving students money. Programs that accept transfer credits for work or other nonclassroom experiences also help students reduce their expenses.

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do Adult Education Majors Make?

Salaries for adult education jobs vary by job type, location, and responsibility level. The median annual salary for adult educators hovers around $55,000, according to the BLS. Managerial roles that oversee other educators may feature higher salaries. Part-time work as an adult tutor typically pays less than average.

Adult educators working full time in secondary schools or government organizations earn more than those in the nonprofit sector. A typical adult educator at a high school may earn about $60,000. Adult education majors can expect to find higher paying jobs in states like California, Oregon, and New Jersey.

Certifications provide learners with more career opportunities. Certification in English as a second language (ESL) or special education garners educators more than adult basic education instructors. A candidate's education level also impacts earning potential. Graduates with a master's in adult education can command higher salaries than bachelor's degree-holders.

Courses in Adult Education

Adult education programs feature core courses on adult learning, instructional design, and educational theory. Students may also take specialized courses on ESL instruction and workforce development.

Courses in an adult education master's degree explore both the theory and practice of adult education. Students learn how to plan curricula and create appropriate assessments. They also study research methods and educational policy. Many adult education programs require students to complete a practicum or internship. These experiences provide learners with hands-on skills that they can apply to their careers.

The list below highlights three common adult education courses.

Certifications and Licensure for Adult Education

Most states require adult educators to acquire a teaching license. Licensure requirements vary by state, but most include a bachelor's degree, student-teaching experience, and an exam. Specialized fields such as ESL instruction may require additional certifications. The list below describes three certifications for adult educators.

Adult education specialists typically hold basic state teaching licenses. These require the completion of a bachelor's degree in education, a background check, an exam, and supervised teaching experience. After three years of full-time teaching, educators may choose to pursue the national board certification. Adult educators wanting to specialize in ESL instruction may pursue the TESOL certification. This program provides educators with essential skills for teaching English to both children and adults. Certification requirements include bachelor's- or master's-level coursework in ESL education and an exam. The National Association of Workforce Development Professionals sponsors a certification program for adult educators focusing on workforce development and training. The certification requires a combination of education and work experience in five competency areas, including grant writing and career advising.

Scholarships for Adult Education

Students enrolled in adult education programs qualify for several scholarships. These opportunities support adult education majors at all levels. Many learners seek state and federal financial aid to help fund their education. Individual schools may offer scholarships and grants for qualified students. The list below highlights three adult education scholarships.

Scholarships for Adult Education
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Get Educated Distance Learning Scholarship

$1,000 GetEducated.com sponsors two annual scholarships for students attending any accredited online program, including adult education programs. Applicants must submit an online application, a 500-word essay, transcripts, and FAFSA information.

Ruth Crymes TESOL Fellowship

$1,500 The TESOL International Association funds an annual fellowship for graduate students in TESOL or second language studies. Application requirements include a short essay, a description of the applicant's graduate project, and a recommendation letter.

Leon Bradley Scholarship

$3,500 The American Association of School Personnel Administrators sponsors two scholarships for minority students majoring in education. The award assists students during their supervised student-teaching year.

Online Master's In Adult Education Programs 2022

#1

University of Georgia

School Information
Location Athens, Georgia
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 87%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Georgia provides online options for graduate-level learners interested in pursuing degrees remotely. In addition to educating students at its campus, the public institution enrolls students in 29 online programs. At the school, graduate degree-seekers can enroll in a master of learning, leadership, and organization development program. Busy students balancing academics with personal obligations often benefit from the online adult education and learning program's flexible scheduling and enrollment options.

Learners gain transferable skills and prepare for positions in the field during core coursework and adult education and learning classes. Students who plan to pursue specialized careers can complete practical learning experiences aligning with their professional goals. Master's degree-seekers pursuing their adult education degree full time typically graduate in 1-2 years. For specific application details, including requirements and deadlines, prospective learners can contact an admissions advisor.

Online learners benefit from affordable tuition rates and can apply for institutional funding to further reduce their financial burden. The institution charges average graduate tuition rates of $8,878 for in-state students, while nonresidents pay an average of $25,186. Enrollees with financial need can submit the FAFSA to qualify for federal grants, scholarships, and loans. The school reports that 97% of students receive financial aid.

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#2

Indiana University Bloomington

School Information
Location Bloomington, Indiana
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 79%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 19% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Indiana University Bloomington leads in online learning. With a rigorous curriculum and faculty experts, the adult education program ranks among the top programs in the field. Like on-campus students, online learners work with advisors, IT professionals, and other support staff. The online program's curriculum incorporates video lectures, assignments, and class discussions.

To fund their education, 84% of the school's students obtain financial aid and 31% take out loans. Degree-seekers gain the knowledge and skills they need to secure roles in their field.

Indiana University Bloomington Fast Facts:

Number of Online Learners: 8,390

Number of Online Master’s Programs: 10

Graduate School Tuition Rate: $9,501 in-state; $31,932 out-of-state

Average Student Aid: $11,645

Average Net Price With Aid: $13,036

The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

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#3

North Carolina State University

School Information
Location Raleigh, North Carolina
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

North Carolina State University educates online graduate degree-seekers from its campus in Raleigh. The public institution delivers online programs, including master's-level options, that are ideal for busy learners. The school's graduate options include a flexible and affordable master's degree in adult and community college education.

Master's students begin the online program by completing core coursework in adult education and learning. Degree-seekers take advanced courses in the field and select electives to customize the program to their interests. In addition to classroom learning, students receive access to faculty mentorship and practical learning experiences.

After completing the adult education and learning program, master's degree-holders can apply for leadership roles, which often pay higher salaries. The institution's career resources include faculty advisors and career counselors, who help students locate job placements.

Degree-seekers at the accredited institution can qualify for federal grants and loans. Learners can research funding options including fellowships and employer-sponsored tuition plans. To fund their graduate education, 68% of the school's students receive financial aid.

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#4

East Carolina University

School Information
Location Greenville, North Carolina
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 66%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Among East Carolina University's online offerings is a top-ranked master's program in adult education. With 13,890 distance students, the public institution also delivers programs on campus in Greenville, North Carolina. Working professionals who enroll in online programs can complete academic requirements around their schedule.

Degree-seekers in the master of arts in adult education program complete a rigorous curriculum that fosters field-specific knowledge and transferable skills. Graduate students consult with faculty mentors to select classes aligning with their interests and career goals. While pursuing the master's degree, online learners develop industry-specific knowledge and complete flexible coursework. Graduates often benefit from increased adult education career opportunities after earning their master's degree. The institution offers career services to help master's students efficiently transition from their studies into the workforce.

To help learners explore their funding options and plan their future, the school delivers career advising and financial aid counseling. The school's affordable tuition rates make it easier for learners to pursue graduate degrees. Private scholarships and institutional fellowships can also help learners fund their master's studies.

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#5

University of Arkansas

School Information
Location Fayetteville, Arkansas
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 66%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Situated in Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas offers undergraduate and graduate programs in virtual and in-person formats. The public institution's master's programs include fully online options for distance learners. The affordable master's degree in adult and lifelong learning prepares students for careers in adult education and learning.

The online adult education program begins with core classes. The program also includes advanced adult education and learning classes and electives, which allow degree-seekers to tailor the curriculum to their interests. Master's students can take advantage of faculty mentorship and hands-on learning opportunities.

After completing the adult education and learning program, master's degree-holders can apply to leadership roles, which often pay higher salaries. Graduate students can access professional assistance from faculty advisors and career counselors.

The institution holds accreditation, which means degree-seekers can submit the FAFSA to receive federal grants and loans. Learners can reduce out-of-pocket costs by applying for grants, scholarships, and fellowships. Of the school's students, 76% receive financial aid.

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