Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

Career, Salary and Education Information

Top 3 Adult Literacy Teacher Jobs

  • Preschool Teacher - Bilingual Preschool Bright Futues, Inc - Richmond, CA

    Teachers can begin work with Only 6 semester units in the above course area if they are registered to complete the required

  • Adult Literacy ESOL Teacher Part-Time - Rush-Henrietta Central School District - Henrietta, NY

    Monday - Friday; 8:30 a.m. - Noon) EFFECTIVE: ASAP LOCATION: Good Shepherd Building Family Services Department 3318 East Henrietta Road

  • Adult Literacy Subsitute Teacher - City of Springfield, MA - Springfield, MA

    Work is performed under the supervision of the Adult Literacy Manager. No supervision is exercised over other employees. Essential Functions

See all Adult Literacy Teacher jobs

Top 3 High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher Jobs

  • Assistant Family Teacher - Boys Town - Washington, DC

    EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS : High school diploma or equivalent is required, some college credits preferred. Must be at least

  • Substitute Teachers - Old Colony Regional Voc.Technical High School - Rochester, MA

    Regional Vocational Technical High School 476 North Avenue Rochester, MAand mathematics readiness)APPLICATION PACKET MUST INCLUDE:1.School Transcripts2.Rsum3

  • ASL Teachers Aide - Sign Language - Sunbelt Staffing - Bakersfield, CA

    Send resumes about the ASL Teachers Aide - Sign Language in Bakersfield, CA job opportunity to Hiring Manager, Brendan Schuman at

See all High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher jobs

What Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers Do[About this section] [To Top]

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 of Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

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 for Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers[About this section] [To Top]

Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers hold about 77,500 jobs. The industries that employ the most adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers are 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.

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher 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] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers near you!

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.

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher 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.

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher 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 for Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

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.

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers is $50,280. 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.

The median annual wages for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers in the top industries in which they work are 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 for Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers is projected to grow 7 percent through 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.

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 Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Adult basic and secondary education and literacy teachers and instructors 77,500 83,000 7 5,500


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

Explore more careers: View all Careers or Browse Careers by Category

Search for jobs: