Exploring Career Options

Your Career in Adult Education

About This Profession

Adult education supports others in their pursuit and passion for lifelong learning across a wide range of learning outcomes, including adult basic education, skills training, professional development, language learning, technology training, and continuing and higher education. Career opportunities for adult educators encompass a broad spectrum of environments in education and health professions, creative and performance arts, business, journalism, corrections, social work and the military. Adult educators may work in the field of social justice supporting and serving culturally and linguistically diverse community members and organizations in local, regional, national and/or international contexts.

Adult educators can be found working in informal, non-formal, and formal contexts. Adult education can be planned or unplanned, as learning can occur in “formal classrooms, living rooms, community halls, libraries, gardens, senior homes, wi’kuoms, hospitals, farms, faith centres, on the streets and sidewalks, on fishing boats, around campfires, and in all manner of workplaces, relaying on various forms of technology, resources, materials, pedagogical strategies, and knowledge bases”. (Brigham, et al., 2021, p. x)

A Snapshot of Adult Education Experience

Key Duties

Key duties of an adult educator depend very much on context given adult education occurs face-to-face in the classroom, online utilizing various technologies, or via hybrid or blended learning, and in workplace environments. Key duties may include:

  • Building meaningful relationships with learners.
  • Understanding individual student’s strengths and needs
  • Program and curriculum design and delivery
  • Understanding the contexts and learning objectives of learners
  • Designing and developing meaningful learning opportunities
  • Undertaking evaluation and assessment of learning
  • Teaching academic subjects, vocational or apprenticeship trades and skills
  • Conducting professional development or workplace training
  • Communicating and collaborating effectively with colleagues, administrators and management
  • Upgrading and updating subject-related, andragogical, pedagogical and methodological knowledge and skills
  • Undertaking research
  • Familiarity with financial and/or human resource management and administration, budget, resource allocation and funding opportunities
  • Principle-based leadership, negotiation, mediation, conflict management and dispute resolution

Critical Skills

Hard Skills
  • Critical analysis and reflection 
  • Knowledge and understanding of andragogy, pedagogy, methodology, evaluation and assessment 
  • Knowledge and understanding of subject specialization 
  • Applied learning and experience in distance education utilizing digital technologies 
Soft Skills
  • Communication 
  • Collaboration 
  • Self-care 
  • Teamwork 
  • Negotiation and mediation 
  • Problem solving 
  • Social and emotional intelligence 
  • Intercultural competence 
  • Organizational skills 
  • Planning skills 
  • Observational skills 
  • Administrative experience 
  • Creativity 
  • Work independently 
Traits
  • Humility
  • Compassion and caring 
  • Patience 
  • Enthusiasm 
  • Integrity 
  • Honesty 
  • Respectful 
  • Dependability 
  • Self-motivated 
  • Able to inspire others 
  • Resourceful 

Work Environment

The field of Adult Education is very diverse and, so too, are the work environments. The possibilities are truly endless, with the work environment depending on each person’s career path. Working conditions may vary as well and may include full-time, part-time, contract work, with a variety of schedules and combining virtual, on-site, and hybrid delivery.
Work Environments Examples
  • School boards 
  • Colleges and universities  
  • Trade and Technical schools 
  • Local governments 
  • Private companies 
  • Corrections 
  • Community Centres 
  • Non-Profit organizations 
  • Newcomer Centers 
  • Indigenous Communities  
  • Military 
  • Care Facility 
  • Training Centres 
Job Title Examples
  • Lecturer 
  • Facilitator 
  • Corporate Trainer 
  • Curriculum Specialist 
  • Elementary School /Middle School/ High School Teacher 
  • English-as-a-Second Language Teacher 
  • Second-Language Instructor 
  • University Professor or College Instructor 
  • Special Education Teacher 
  • Indigenous Educator 
  • Learning and Development Specialist 
  • Continuing Education Instructor 

The average salary information: “The median annual Curriculum Specialist salary in Canada is C$73,671, as of August 27, 2021, with a range usually between C$68,052-C$83,142,  Salary may vary depending on a number of factors including industry, company size, location, years of experience and level of education” (Salary.com reference). 

DID YOU KNOW?

Yorkville University’s Programs Recognised in the field of Adult Education​

Job Search Tips - Where to Focus Your Time

Building Professional Relationships (80%)
Online Activities (20%)
  • Build a strong resume and cover letter targeted to each job you apply for - Ask your YU Career Advisor for assistance! 
  • Create a strong LinkedIn profile and use the job board 
  • Subscribe to or search job boards such as MonsterWorkopolisJob Bank CanadaIndeedGlassdoor 
  • Visit career pages of organizations that interest you the most and check for new job openings 
You might be interested in this career option!

The field of Indigenous Education is increasingly and recently emergent within systems of education in Canada. Indigenous education introduces learners to Indigenous knowledges as a system of knowledge in the context of multiple knowledges offering educators a unique and challenging opportunity to champion and facilitate education reform and systemic change in local, regional or national contexts. A rewarding career pathway, educators can anticipate encountering barriers, gaps, and challenges as well as opportunities to build and strengthen awareness and understanding within diverse social and intercultural contexts. 

The average salary for an Indigenous instructor is between $56, 869 and $84,594 (CAUT, (2020), By the Numbers).  

Curriculum Developers/Specialists play a major role in any education system. They decide what the institution should be teaching. You might be employed by colleges, universities, school boards or various government organizations based on your specialization. Responsibilities may include but are not limited to:  

  • Design and develop course content 
  • Develop and facilitate teacher education training, courses and programs 
  • Curate educational materials such as textbooks and presentations 
  • Ensure programs and courses meet applicable standards  

The average salary information: “The median annual Curriculum Specialist salary in Canada is C$73,671, as of August 27, 2021, with a range usually between C$68,052-C$83,142, Salary may vary depending on a number of factors including industry, company size, location, years of experience and level of education” (Salary.com reference). 

Reference

Brigham, S. M., McGray, R., & Jubas, K. (2021). Introduction: Adult education and lifelong learning in Canada. In S. M. Brigham, R. McGray, & K. Jubas (Eds.), Adult education and lifelong learning in Canada: Advancing a critical legacy (pp. x-xvii). Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc & the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education.

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