How can I grow my adult education career? The question might have popped up a few times as you cruise through your career. There has been a significant increase in the number of adult students enrolled in undergraduate programs over the past decade. This is largely due to the great recession we experienced in 2008, which resulted in widespread job losses.
Since then, many adults have recognized the need to pursue higher education to improve their chances of job security. Coupled with a desire for economic stability, many adults are returning to school so they can compete with younger, more skilled employees entering the workforce. These young people have been trained in the latest technology and the older ones recognize the need to get up to speed.
Eventually, many working adults realize that they are extremely dissatisfied with their current jobs and are looking for a change.
What is Adult Education?
Adult education seems to be a fairly simple term as it refers to educational programs designed for adults; However, it is wider than it looks. Adult education is not limited to academic education. Adult education is a diverse field that can include workforce training, continuing education, college and university programs, distance education programs, and more.
Some adult education programs focus on basic adult skills. Community colleges, nonprofits, and public agencies offer adult classes that can help them learn essential skills in reading, math, ESOL, business, and more. GED or other equivalent high school qualifications may also fall into this category.
Academic programs are offered. Many study programs are aimed at adult learners who want to advance in their careers, change careers, or who are required to attend continuing education to maintain their license to practice in their field.
Colleges and universities often offer continuing education and professional development programs without awarding any degrees or certificates. Instead, they are designed to meet continuing education requirements in specific areas. Any of these examples could be online or on campus.
Adult degrees can also lead to employment in the corporate world, provide training, develop training programs or materials, and more. So while adult education is a very basic term, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Some careers in university administration, community education program development, corporate training, human resources, etc. requires applicants to have a degree in adult education.
Online Adult Education Degree
Curriculums are popular in online form because many people who want to further their education in teaching or education in general are actively working as teachers. Many professionals spend their college years instructing their students.
Therefore, it is difficult to reconcile these two roles at the same time. Online programs minimize these problems because they are often presented in an asynchronous format so you can log in at any time.
Even synchronous programs, while less flexible on the surface, are designed to easily fit into the typical work schedule of a teacher or school administrator.
There are a lot of additional benefits to earning your masters in adult education online. You are not limited to what the colleges and universities in your area have to offer.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will need to meet the licensure requirements in your state and that programs offered in another state may not meet those requirements. You may not need any professional experience, but if you want to be a teacher, it’s your responsibility to get certified.
Even if you don’t want to be a teacher, there are plenty of opportunities if you choose to earn your adult education degree online. You can work at the district level or help design adult education programs and materials. You could work at a college or university as a continuing education director.
There are also jobs that are completely separate from education. You can also find work in the public sector, government agencies or work in business, document design and training programs. Depending on the degree you choose to pursue, many career opportunities will open up before you.
All you have to do is find the program that’s right for you. We want to help you do that, which is why we’ve created a ranking of the best online adult education degrees offered nationwide. All programs of study presented are master’s programs with a focus on adult learning, adult education, leadership, and continuing education.
Also read: Top 7 Adult Education Universities
1. University of East Carolina
East Carolina University offers online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and provides exemplary support to students as they return to school. ECU understands that many of its students have full-time careers, families and maybe even defend our country abroad. This is why courses are offered in a flexible asynchronous format. Many plans will offer multiple start dates, up to five times a year. Online students will have access to student resources as well as technical support, and they will be eligible for scholarships and financial aid.
Master of Arts in Adult Education
ECU’s Online Certificate in Adult Education is a Master of Arts degree in Adult Education. Students are not required to choose a major but majors are offered in human resource development, community college teaching, and adult literacy. You will need to complete at least 36 credits to graduate.
This program is designed to help you become an effective leader in adult learning programs, whether in an academic or corporate setting. Required courses include Introduction to Adult and Community Education, Adult Learners, Adult Education Program Development, Adult Education Organization and Management, Instructional Strategies in Adult Education major and educational study course of your choice.
The rest of your credits will come from electives in the concentration of your choice, or you can work with your advisor to create a plan that best suits your needs. There are no on-campus requirements for this program and all supervised testing can be taken at an approved location near you.
2. Oregon State University
Oregon State University has been ranked among the top 10 in the nation for online programs for the past 5 years, according to US News & World Report. OSU eCampus has some of the most comprehensive offerings of any university, covering more than 110 fields of study and over a thousand courses offered online. All of the expansion options available through eCampus are designed with the same dedicated faculty as the campus-based alternatives.
Classes are offered in a variety of formats and have multiple opening dates throughout the year. Online students have many opportunities at OSU; you will be eligible for financial aid and scholarships, you will be able to take supervised exams and even take part in local internships and you may have a chance to participate in study abroad opportunities .
Master of Adult Education and Higher Education
Oregon State University offers more specialized online degrees in adult education. The Master of Education in Adult and Undergraduate Education requires 45 credit semesters, which equates to a 30-credit program. Classes last eleven weeks and have four semesters per calendar year. Students have the unique opportunity to benefit from a highly collaborative group model while also benefiting from the flexibility of a completely online and asynchronous teaching approach. Students are admitted to the program each fall and can graduate in just two years.
The OSU Certificate of Adult Education is the only credential in the US dedicated to online learning or distance education. The program is fully regulated, guided by Human Resource Development Standards Institute standards.
You’ll take 36 credits of core coursework, complete an internship, and then create an applied research project. No electives; instead, you personalize your experience through internships and research. It is an affordable and intensive program that will equip you with the skills needed to create effective digital learning experiences for adults.
3. University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas offers online programs through U of A Online. This university is a great example of an online college, offering online adult education degrees and more. There are programs offered at every academic level in a variety of in-demand fields of study.
All programs are designed by academic departments located on the main campus of the university to ensure that you receive the same intensive and engaging education as a traditional student, wherever you are.
This university is one of the best in the country, and flexible, fully online teaching options allow you to get the education you deserve without sacrificing. Online students pay the same reduced tuition rates as Arkansas residents.
Master in Adult and Lifelong Learning Education
US News & World Report has ranked the online graduate education programs offered by the University of Arkansas among the best in the nation. The Master in Adult and Lifelong Learning Education is a non-thesis program consisting of a total of 33 credits.
Not only is it one of the best adult online education degrees, but it’s also one of the most affordable. The cost per credit is less than $500, regardless of residence. You can get this degree completely online and do not require GRE or GMAT for admission.
The program consists of one research course and five foundation courses in adult education. Core courses cover a number of topics related to adult education as well as curriculum development, teaching strategies, and organization and management. Of the 33 required credits, 12 of which will come from electives of your choice and the last three will come from a capstone project. What sets this online adult education degree apart is that the University of Arkansas offers students in this program the added option of concurrently pursuing an adult education license.
4. Kansas State University
Kansas State University offers a wide selection of online degree programs created by the same outstanding faculty as the on-campus programs the school offers. Online degree programs have the same accreditation and follow the same standards, so they will help you expand your knowledge and equip you with skills relevant to a career in your field.
Online students are eligible for scholarships and financial aid, pay affordable tuition, get access to a variety of student services, and more. You can even accelerate your graduation with eight-week succinct courses, credit transfer, and the ability to earn up to 21 credits per semester.
Master’s in Adult Learning and Leadership
Innovation in education is incredibly important, and Kansas State University’s adult online education program was designed with this in mind. This university offers a very open-minded Master of Science in Adult Learning and Leadership.
The curriculum is very broad so that students are not tied to a particular career group. Instead, you can get an affordable, comprehensive education and chart your own career path. 33 credits are needed to round up this degree.
All the courses you will take are only eight weeks long and delivered asynchronously. There are six required courses that all students must take, and you will then have the option of choosing 15 elective course credits.
Kansas State offers an impressive selection of nearly 30 elective courses so you can customize your study plan. You can also choose to earn a graduate certificate in adult learning, leadership motivation or social justice to meet your elective course requirements.
5. Ball State University
Ball State University has received national recognition from many sources for providing outstanding on-campus and online learning programs. Ball State Online is recognized for innovation and excellence; It is also the first institution to receive the Quality Problem Learner Support Program certification. This certification is awarded because Ball State Online provides essential services and support to students.
Online students at this university have access to technical support, tutoring, peer mentoring, career planning, and more. All classes are delivered asynchronously and have flexible scheduling options.
Master’s in Adult and Community Education
Ball State University offers a 100% online Master of Arts in Adult and Community Education. This online adult education degree has a strong focus on community education and it is one of the few in the country to do so. You can take your courses entirely online or choose a hybrid option if you’re close to the school.
This program is unique in that online students are allowed to replace core courses not offered online with existing courses. No other university we recommend offers this kind of flexibility. Core courses make up the bulk of this 30-credit program.
The core section explores topics that will introduce you to the foundations of adult community education, curriculum planning, instructional strategies, and more. The rest of the courses you take is up to you. You can choose which courses you take to meet your study requirements and then choose three courses to choose from. You can choose courses that match your interests, or choose three courses in a specific field to create a sub-major.
Students in this program also have another unique opportunity. If you want to take an additional course of 33 credits total, you can earn a dual degree in adult and community education as well as executive development for public service.
6. University of Idaho
The University of Idaho offers a much more limited selection of online degrees than many other universities, but it certainly doesn’t lack quality. All available online courses are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no fixed hours of login. Students who live close to campus can choose to take classes on campus at any time as an online student, but most programs can be taken without going to the university once. . Scholarships, financial aid, library services, academic counseling, and more.
Master of Science in Organizational Learning and Adult Leadership
The University of Idaho offers a Master of Science in Organizational Learning and Adult Leadership. This program is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of organizational development theory, as well as the ability to think strategically, lead organizational change, become strong leaders and apply transformational learning principles.
The program has 30 credits, most of which stem from the common core of the program; however, this is another adult education degree program that offers a broad core curriculum.
You can build on common core subjects with elective courses tailored to your career aspirations to personalize your degree. Another way to customize this program is to choose the dissertation or non-thesis option, both of which can be done online.
The thesis option will require 39 credits. One of the hallmarks of the University of Idaho Adult Education Program is that it has an exceptionally generous transfer policy that allows you to earn up to 12 credits.
7. Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University offers students the opportunity to be introduced to the Sunshine State through a selection of more than 40 online degrees. FAU provides students with a world-class education on their own schedule.
All courses are available 100% online and accessible anytime, anywhere. The school also offers competitive tuition rates and award-winning student support services.
Master of Education in Leadership in Adult and Community Education
Florida Atlantic University’s online Master of Adult and Community Education Leadership program is a comprehensive, flexible, and accessible adult education degree.
The main objective of the program is sustainability. You’ll take courses such as Sustainable Leadership for Entrepreneurs and ACE Change Makers; Evaluation, planning and sustainability with geospatial technologies and; Grants writing and program management to CAOT and nonprofit organizations, as well as more traditional adult education courses. You will need 36 or 39 credits to graduate depending on your circumstances.
The program is divided into four parts. First, it’s the endurance core described above. There is also the Leadership Fund, the Professional Foundation, and the Education Fund. These components in turn equip you with leadership skills, practical skills that you will use in your career, and research skills in an educational context. There are no electives. Students follow a prescribed set of courses.
This reduces the personalization aspect that many people look for in a degree program. However, the courses you take will equip you with a diverse range of skills that can be applied to many professions.
8. Seattle University
Seattle University is a relatively small Jesuit university offering only a handful of online programs. This university offers full-time and part-time options for students to complete their degree program online.
Courses can be synchronous or asynchronous depending on the program you follow and the courses you choose. For example, the adult online education degree Seattle U is famous for allows students to choose whether they want to take their courses synchronously or asynchronously.
There is no guarantee that other programs will be structured this way. Seattle U’s online programs are affordable and designed by dedicated faculty to capture and match industry trends.
Master’s in Adult Education and Training
Seattle University offers an online master’s degree in adult education and training as well as a master of arts in adult education and training. Both programs require 45 credits.
The MAED program requires students to complete a graduate project while the MED allows students to take an additional elective course instead. Otherwise, the programs will be identical. Students can choose to major in Basic Adult Skills or Human Resource Development. This program enrolls students once a year in the fall.
The program is divided into several parts. There are Core components of the School of Education and Adult Education and Training that will introduce students to educational research, adult learning, curriculum assessment, teaching methods and design, etc This is followed by electives and additional electives in adult education and training.
The major typically requires the enrollment of at least 12 elective credits. The courses you choose will be selected in conjunction with your advisor to ensure they meet your needs. There are various topics, such as counseling theory, instructional leadership, lifelong career development, and more. Students can even choose to complete an internship for elective credit.