Online Degrees in Adult Education
Faced with a turbulent job market, more adults are returning to their education, pursuing increased professional certification, specialized corporate training, or even new careers. Adult learners are highly motivated and have concrete expectations from their classroom endeavors. Their experience and unique concerns require a drastically different approach to instruction than grade school students. By implementing andragogy, or learning strategies focused on adults, adult educators help these older students acquire the skills they need to succeed in today’s workforce.
Degree programs in adult education combine theoretical approaches to adult learning with practical teaching tools. Students acquire advanced communication and research skills while examining the many diverse populations that seek continued education. Along with training techniques, courses typically cover adult psychology, curriculum planning, distance education, and evaluation methods. Additionally, online degree programs offer firsthand experience with the latest technologies in adult learning, such as web conferencing and mobile computing.
Available Online Adult Education Degree Programs
Bachelor’s Degree in Adult Education: A bachelor’s program in adult education takes approximately four years of full-time study to complete, and is typically offered as either a bachelor’s of science in adult education or a bachelor’s of arts in adult development. Undergraduates learn general teaching practices, as well as key distinctions between adult and childhood education. Along with basic psychology, curriculum focuses on effective instruction methods, trends and social issues in adult learning, and training program design. A bachelor’s degree in adult education prepares one to instruct at vocational and technical schools or in the workplace as corporate trainers. Many graduates become basic education teachers, helping adults learn literacy or prepare for their GED.
Master’s Degree in Adult Education: A master’s program in adult education is more focused than undergraduate study and usually requires two years of additional coursework to complete. Many online colleges offer the degree as a master of arts, a master of science, or a master of education, with concentrations in adult basic education, human resources development, online teaching, or English as a second language. Master’s programs instill the skills necessary to organize training programs and instruct adults at the collegiate level.
At the graduate level, courses emphasize the practical application of advanced adult learning theory, and include study of student assessment, curriculum development, and distance education. Students typically choose a professional focus area, such as job preparation or workplace learning, and complete electives pertaining to that field. Some programs even include an internship in a related adult learning environment. With a master’s degree in adult education, graduates can pursue careers in training and development administration or career counseling. Graduates with sufficient teaching experience can even instruct at a community college or join the faculty of some online schools.
Doctoral Degrees in Adult Education: Doctorates in adult education vary from program to program, but typically take three to six years of further study. Doctoral students are required to master advanced principles of adult education, as well as contribute to the field through innovative research. Many online colleges offer the degree as either a doctor of education (Ed.D.) or a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.), with concentrations in adult learning, postsecondary education, or adult education leadership. The Ed.D., a practitioner’s degree, focuses on the professional practice of adult education, while the Ph.D. is primarily academic, concerned with research and advancement of theoretical knowledge.
Doctorate programs typically include three phases: core coursework, doctoral study, and a dissertation. The dissertation, an original contribution to adult learning theory, represents the culmination of a candidate’s studies. With a doctoral degree in adult education, graduates can pursue careers as higher education faculty, such as professors or administrators, or institutional researchers, who collect and analyze data about adult students.
Career Opportunities for Graduates of Adult Education Programs
As college enrollment increases, and employers enforce stricter hiring practices, the demand for adult instruction specialists will continue to grow. Adult educators fill essential training roles in a wide range of for-profit and non-profit organizations. With a degree in the field, graduates might pursue careers in anything from college instruction and administration to career counseling or human resources. Employment opportunities can be found at vocational schools, traditional universities, online colleges, workforce development centers, and even major corporations.
With a degree in adult education, one can take his or her experience as a learner and apply it to a successful career mentoring others. For details on available programs, request information from one of the online schools below.
Online Degree Programs in Adult Education
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