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Teaching Adults as a Career

By: Suzanne Elvidge BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 7 Jun 2017 |
 
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Teaching adults can be as much of a career as teaching children, and can be either full- or part-time. People can teach academic subjects that lead to GCSEs, A levels and degrees; work-related subjects that lead to vocational qualifications; or subjects for interest that don’t lead to any qualifications, just a new skill.

People who teach adults do need different skills to people who teach children. Adults are generally there because they want to be, though some have been sent there by their employer or the benefits office.

For some areas of teaching, people may need a formal teaching qualification; in others, simply qualifications, skills and experience in the area being taught

Teaching English

Teaching English as a second language in non-English speaking countries is generally known as ‘teaching English as a foreign language’ (TEFL). Teaching English as a second language in English speaking countries (e.g. to immigrants or asylum seekers) is generally known as ‘teaching English to speakers of other languages’ (TESOL). TESOL courses may also include basic literacy and other life skills.

Teaching English overseas could be a way of funding a trip around the world, or the beginning of a new career. To teach English overseas needs a qualification – these can be studied full- or part-time. These can be taken at a number of levels:

  • Certificate – e.g. Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) or Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Cert. TESOL).
  • Diplomas – e.g. Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults (DELTA).
  • Degrees – e.g. BA or MA in TEFL/TESOL.
As well as these qualifications, teachers of English as ESOL in the UK need to be a qualified teacher. Volunteers or mentors will just need an ESOL qualification. TEFL and TESOL teaching is likely to involve teaching evenings and weekends, as well as during the working day.

Teaching Basic Skills

In 2008, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) published a report saying employers were concerned about the basic literacy and numeracy skills of two-fifths of the UK workforce. Teaching basic skills includes literacy, numeracy and basic ICT (information and communication technology) skills, and as well as being a potential career choice, could make a huge difference to people’s lives.

To teach literacy, numeracy or ICT, teachers need a level three or level four specialist certificate as well as a teaching qualification. Volunteers or mentors will just need a level two certificate. Basic skills teaching is likely to involve teaching evenings and weekends, as well as during the working day.

Teaching Specialist Courses

Many people teach specialist courses based on their own skills and experience. These may lead to specific qualifications for the attendees, or to informal certificates issued by the attendees’ employers or simply the acquisition of new skills.

There are companies that run courses for people in work and these often employ people with skills and experience rather than formal teaching qualifications. Teaching specialist courses may mean working flexible hours – some courses will be during the day, and some will be over weekends and evenings.

Teaching in Colleges and Universities

Further EducationTo teach in a further education (FE) college, employers are likely to require significant experience or a degree in the relevant subject, and may also require tutors to take a teaching qualification within the first couple of years of employment, such as a PGCE, a teaching degree, or a certificate or diploma in teaching. These often can be studied part-time alongside teaching work. Teaching in an FE college may mean working flexible hours – some courses will be during the day, and some will be over weekends and evenings.

Higher EducationThere are no formal teaching qualifications needed to teach in higher education (HE), though most employers will require a degree and a PhD in the appropriate subject. Teaching in higher education is likely to be mostly during the day, though some people study degree level courses through part-time classes, which may include evening and weekend study, and some people study through distance learning, which is likely to require flexible hours.

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Hi there, I work in the healthcare sector and have been doing so for just over 7 years, during this time I have gained an Advanced Diploma in Health & Social Care aswell as other certificates and knowledge. I am now looking into teaching adults health and social care but I don't know how I would go about doing so. Does anybody know any courses I am able to do around my part time working? Or anywhere that I could get some more information?
Michelle - 7-Jun-17 @ 4:38 PM
I have a bsc health wellbeing and nutrition science degree. I have worked as a community nutritionist and have worked as a teaching assistant in the past. I want to teach adults about health/nutrition.
Kate - 2-Jun-17 @ 4:33 PM
I am qualified primary school teacher, recently left my full time job and joined supply teaching. I am interested in part time esol teaching,I also have City n Guilt basic esol qualification. I wondered if I can go into esol teaching and what qualification do I need more to go into it I will be grateful if I could have some guidance, Many thanks
Annie - 17-Mar-17 @ 8:31 AM
I am a qualified gemologist. I have developed a training course on diamond basics. I have trained staff working in the retail sector that sell jewellery in the Bahamas. I would love to be able to teach in South Wales, I don't have any teaching qualifications but would ideally like to teach adults and to teach jewellery retail staff. Do you have any advise where I can begin please?
Rhian - 10-Jan-16 @ 8:56 PM
Hi, I am an instructor in the British Army. I have instructed young adults for two years and have completed the DTLLs award. I am an IQA in NVQs and conduct my own AOR. I also teach Nutrition level four. Where should I go from here? Especially when I leave the forces. I have heard of troops to teachers, is this a good career path?
bruce - 2-Nov-15 @ 10:48 PM
Hi, I have been teachingfrench to adults privately and in different companies for 17 years in London .I am actually available to teach every morning until the end of June and from the 22nd of July .Does anyone of you know of places or websites where they need French teachers at the moment. Thanks!
Izzy - 5-Jun-15 @ 3:10 PM
I graduated with a science degree several years ago and would like to know how what qualifications I need to teach adults. I want to teach functional ICT, English, maths, life skills and employment skills. It would be good to know what courses are available in my area and who can help and support me.
Lenney - 22-May-15 @ 2:23 PM
@Jackie - you have a great career background which will be ideal to teach English as a foreign language. There are many opportunities open to you, from teaching it at home and taking in foreign students for periods of time, to teaching abroad in places such as Japan, South Korea should you wish, or if you prefer to stay closer to home, teaching in a UK classroom. Initially you would have to do a bit of research and decide what avenue you would like to take, then you would have to do the appropriate transition course, but whatever direction you choose to go on, any organisation will jump at the level of your experience. Good luck.
Jenny - 30-Apr-15 @ 10:25 AM
I have been a French teacher for 24 years at the same school. I have now decided that I would like to have a fresh start by teaching adults either French or English as a second language. I am keen to work in a new environment. I could work in business or colleges in Sussex. I am interested in any new ideas.
Jackie - 27-Apr-15 @ 12:00 PM
I have a degree in French and a PGCE and QTS in teaching French in secondary schools. I have experience of teaching children of all ages but have not taught adults and yet I believe that I am more suited to teaching adults and wish that I had chosen this path initially. Would I be able to get work teaching French to adults without doing a specific adult learning qualification? Many thanks for your help.
Caro - 10-Mar-15 @ 10:50 PM
Hi there. I have a first class degree in hotel management with French and German. After 20 years experience in the industry I am looking at the best possible route to be able to teach vocational courses in secondary and further education. Please could you let me know at your earliest convenience. Many thanks in advance
Learn - 26-Aug-14 @ 11:12 PM
I trained as a church minister twenty years ago and have done a number of courses since that time. I have not however done a course that concentrates on teaching adults and would like to do this to help me master the art of presentations and helping others to learn. My previous skills before ordination were marketing, economics and statistics which I feel will be very helpful for most organisations. Can you please advise me how to develop this at your earliest convenience.
Calypso - 22-Mar-14 @ 5:26 PM
I have 27 years experience working in IT, currently with a large multinational and household name.I have ever diminishing job security and would like to cross train into teaching basic IT skills to either adults or children.I do not hold a degree but I do have an HNC in business computing.I currently have no teaching qualifications and need to know what is required.Would much appreciate some guidance on where to start.What qualifications are required and how long will they take to achieve?
Phil - 25-Sep-13 @ 4:14 PM
I've been teaching English to French adults in France for five years now and used to teach in secondary schools. I also taught in a college and a business school in France. Today, I would like to teach English to foreign non-speakers or teach French in an English-speaking country such as New Zealand, England, Australia or Canada. I have a French degree called "maîtrise d'anglais" - a four-year university degree specialized in English. How can I continue my career abroad? Do I have to take the CELTA exam or a PGCE? Would it be possible for me to start teaching abroad with my French degree before I take another exam? I thank you in advance for your reply!This project is so important to me!
Elodie - 2-Apr-13 @ 6:34 PM
I have been a learning & devleopment senior manager for about 15 years I have my Certificater in Training Practice along with coaching and leadership delivery and experience.I would like to use my business experience to now teach adults how can I go about this?
Milly - 3-Feb-13 @ 7:17 PM
Child Care Tuition can be an essential part of any student's development. Studies have shown that students who attend regular, additional Child Care tuition on average achieve higher results than students who don't take extra tuition. Child Care Tuition provides the environment in which the student learn friendly, comfortably and supportively, free from the pressures of home or school.
Hasan - 30-Jan-13 @ 3:10 PM
I have an interest in pursuing a career in teaching because my education is excellent and I have an interest in politics, social policy and social science. I've been unemployed for three years but I've been very active in doing courses in journalism and also doing voluntary work. I currently volunteer at the Peace Hospice in Watford. I hold a BA HONOURS in Sociology.
brainbox - 7-Dec-12 @ 5:00 PM
I have a degree in English, and recently completed a teaching skills course online, I am interested in teaching adults English, e.g. asylum seekers. What would be my first step in doing this, and who would I need to contact.
laura - 17-May-12 @ 12:57 PM
I have been a learning support teacher for more than 25 years and have taken early retirement, what jobs could I apply for with my teaching qualifications and experience?
Teech - 9-Mar-12 @ 12:14 PM
I have worked in childcare for 16 years and been in management roles for 10 of those years.I complete a BA (Hons) degree in Early Childhood studies in May 2012.I am interested in teaching adults and need to know what courses are available part time and if any courses are funded by the government or what the cost of courses are.
julia - 16-Feb-12 @ 3:02 PM
I trained as a plaster 3 years ago and would now like to teach this trade to other young adults in my area need advice on how i can do this and who can help and surpport me in setting this up
tunifar - 3-Feb-12 @ 11:56 AM
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