Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

Summary

adult literacy and ged teachers image
Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers instruct adults in basic skills.
Quick Facts: Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers
2015 Median Pay $50,280 per year
$24.17 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Internship/residency
Number of Jobs, 2014 77,500
Job Outlook, 2014-24 7% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 5,500

What Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers Do

Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers instruct adults in basic skills, such as reading, writing, and speaking English. They also help students earn their high school equivalent diploma.

Work Environment

Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers are often employed by community colleges, community-based organizations, and public schools. Many adult education teachers work part time.

How to Become an Adult Literacy or High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher

Most adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Employers typically prefer workers who have some teaching experience.

Pay

The median annual wage for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers was $50,280 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth is expected as continued immigration to the United States will create demand for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma programs.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers Do About this section

adult literacy and ged teachers image
Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers need to use different teaching strategies to meet their students’ needs.

Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers instruct adults in basic skills, such as reading, writing, and speaking English. They also help students earn their high school equivalent diploma.

Duties

Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers typically do the following:

  • Plan and teach lessons to help students gain the knowledge and skills needed to meet their goals, such as learning English or earning their high school equivalent diploma
  • Adapt teaching methods based on students’ strengths and weaknesses
  • Emphasize skills that will help students find jobs, such as learning English words and common phrases used in the workplace
  • Assess students for possible learning disabilities
  • Monitor students’ progress
  • Help students develop study skills
  • Connect students to other resources in their community, such as mental health services or job placement services

Before students enter these education programs, their educational level and skills are assessed. These assessments are typically performed by another staff member; however, in some programs the teacher may conduct the assessments. Based on the results of the assessment and student’s goals, teachers develop an individualized education program.  

Teachers must formally evaluate their students periodically to determine their progress and potential to go on to the next level of classes. However, they may informally evaluate their students’ progress continually.

Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers often have students of various education levels in their classes. As a result, teachers need to use different teaching strategies and methods that meet all of their students’ needs. They may work with students in classes or tutor them one-on-one.

Teachers prepare students for further education and help them to develop skills that they will need in the workplace. For example, they may teach students how to read a contract or how to estimate the cost of materials needed to remodel a kitchen. 

There are three basic types of education that adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers provide:

Adult basic education classes teach students the basics of reading, writing, and math. Students who enter these classes usually do not have a high school diploma. They generally are 16 years or older and need to gain proficiency in these skills to improve their job situation.

High school equivalency and adult secondary education classes prepare students to take the test to earn a high school equivalent diploma. Some programs are combined with career preparation programs so that students can earn a high school equivalent diploma and a career-related credential at the same time.

The high school equivalency exam is composed of four subjects: language arts, math, science, and social studies. In addition to teaching these subjects, teachers also help their students improve their skills in communicating, critical thinking, and problem solving—skills they will need to prepare for further education and successful careers.

English as a Second Language (ESL), also called English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), classes teach students to read, write, and speak English. Students in these classes are immigrants to the United States or those whose native language is not English.

ESL teachers often focus on helping their students with practical vocabulary for jobs and daily living. They also may focus on preparing their students to take the citizenship exam.

ESL teachers may have students from many different countries and cultures in their classroom. Because the ESL teacher and the students may not share a common native language, ESL teachers must be creative in fostering communication in the classroom to achieve their education goals.

Work Environment About this section

Adult literacy and GED teachers
Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers often work in community colleges, community-based organizations, and public schools.

Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers held about 77,500 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 29%
Junior colleges; state, local, and private 28
Other schools and instruction; state, local, and private 11
Healthcare and social assistance 7
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 4

Students in adult literacy and high school equivalency programs attend classes by choice. As a result, they are often highly motivated, which can make teaching them rewarding and satisfying.

Work Schedules

Classes are held at times when students are not at work, so many teachers work in the mornings and evenings. Many adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers work part time.

How to Become an Adult Literacy or High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher About this section

Adult literacy and GED teachers
Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult and teachers must respond with patience when students struggle with material.

Most adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Employers typically prefer workers who have some teaching experience.

Education

Most states require adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some employers, such as community colleges, prefer to hire those with a master’s degree or graduate coursework in adult education or English as a Second Language (ESL). Some colleges and universities offer master’s degrees or graduate certificates in teaching adult education or ESL.

Programs in adult education prepare prospective teachers to develop adult education programs, to use effective teaching strategies for adult learners, to work with students from a variety of cultures and backgrounds, and to teach adults with learning disabilities. Some programs allow these prospective teachers to specialize in adult basic education, secondary education, or ESL.

Prospective ESL teachers should take courses or training in linguistics and theories of how people learn second languages. Knowledge of a second language is not necessary to teach ESL, but it can be helpful to understand what students are going through.

Many adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers take professional development classes to improve their teaching skills and ensure that they keep up with the latest research in teaching adults.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers to have a teaching certificate to work in government-run programs. Some states have certificates specifically for adult education. Other states require teachers to have a certificate in elementary or secondary education.

To obtain a license, adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers typically need a bachelor’s degree and must complete an approved teacher-training program. For more information, contact the state director of adult education. Contact information can be found from the U.S. Department of Education.

Training

In order to receive certification or licensure, teachers may need to perform fieldwork, commonly referred to as student teaching. During student teaching, they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom setting. The amount of student teaching that is required varies by state.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Adult literacy and high school equivalency teachers must collaborate with other teachers and program administrators. In addition, they talk with students about their progress and goals, and must explain concepts in terms that students can understand.

Cultural sensitivity. Teachers must be able to work with students from a variety of cultural, educational, and economic backgrounds. They must be understanding and respectful of their students’ backgrounds and be familiar with their concerns.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Teachers must be patient when students struggle with material.   

Resourcefulness. Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers must respond appropriately to difficult situations and think on their feet. For example, they need to be able to alter their teaching methods to meet the needs of each student they teach and find ways to keep students engaged in learning.

Pay About this section

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

Median annual wages, May 2015

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

$50,280

Education, training, and library occupations

$47,220

Total, all occupations

$36,200

 

The median annual wage for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers was $50,280 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,870, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,140.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private $58,180
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 49,570
Junior colleges; state, local, and private 48,730
Other schools and instruction; state, local, and private 45,140
Healthcare and social assistance 39,990

Classes are held at times when students are not at work, so many teachers work in the mornings and evenings. Many adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers work part time.

Job Outlook About this section

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Education, training, and library occupations

8%

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

7%

Total, all occupations

7%

 

Employment of adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Employment growth is expected as continued immigration to the United States creates a need for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma programs. Some immigrants do not speak English and will want to improve their communication skills to help them find jobs in the United States. English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers will be needed to help these students gain the required skills.   

In addition, traditional schooling does not always give some adults the literacy or other skills they need to find employment. These students often seek to improve their skills in adult education programs later in life.

However, student enrollments in adult education and ESL programs have declined in recent years. At the same time, high school graduation rates have increased, reducing the need for adults to obtain high school equivalent diplomas. Fewer students will result in less demand for the adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers who teach them.

Enrollment in these programs is often related to the ability of students to pay, either directly or through government-sponsored programs. Changes in government funding for adult education and ESL programs will impact the demand for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers.

Job Prospects

Many adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teacher positions are part time, and full-time positions are uncommon and difficult to find. As a result, prospects will be best for workers who are willing and able to take a part-time position. In addition, those with experience teaching will have better prospects.

Employment projections data for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Adult basic and secondary education and literacy teachers and instructors

25-3011 77,500 83,000 7 5,500 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2015 MEDIAN PAY Help
Career and technical education teachers

Career and Technical Education Teachers

Career and technical education teachers instruct students in various technical and vocational subjects, such as auto repair, healthcare, and culinary arts. They teach academic and technical content to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to enter an occupation.

Bachelor's degree $52,800
High school teachers

High School Teachers

High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Bachelor's degree $57,200
Instructional coordinators

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness.

Master's degree $62,270
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers prepare younger students for future schooling by teaching them basic subjects such as math and reading.

Bachelor's degree $54,550
Librarians

Librarians

Librarians help people find information and conduct research for personal and professional use. Their job duties may change based on the type of library they work in, such as public, school, and medical libraries.

Master's degree $56,880
Middle school teachers

Middle School Teachers

Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grades. Middle school teachers help students build on the fundamentals they learned in elementary school and prepare them for the more difficult curriculum they will face in high school.

Bachelor's degree $55,860
Postsecondary teachers

Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and career and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.

See How to Become One $72,470
School and Career Counselors

School and Career Counselors

School counselors help students develop academic and social skills and succeed in school. Career counselors assist people with the process of making career decisions by helping them develop skills or choose a career or educational program.

Master's degree $53,660
Social workers

Social Workers

Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workers—clinical social workers—also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.

See How to Become One $45,900
Special education teachers

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with mild and moderate disabilities. They also teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities.

Bachelor's degree $56,800
Teacher assistants

Teacher Assistants

Teacher assistants work under a teacher’s supervision to give students additional attention and instruction.

Some college, no degree $24,900
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm (visited May 28, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

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2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.