Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers and Instructors
Requirements for teaching adult literacy and remedial education, including ESL and GED preparation, vary by State and by program. Federally funded programs run by State and local governments usually have higher standards than programs run by religious, community, or volunteer organizations. Most State and local governments and education institutions require that adult teachers have at least a bachelor’’s degree and preferably a Master’’s degree. Some require an elementary or secondary teaching certificate and a few have recently begun requiring a certificate in ESL or adult education. Teaching experience, especially with adults, also is preferred or required. Volunteers usually do not need a bachelor’’s degree, but must attend a preservice training program instead.
Most programs recommend that adult literacy and remedial education teachers take classes on teaching adults, using technology to teach, working with learners from a variety of cultures, and teaching adults with learning disabilities. ESL teachers should also have courses on second language acquisition theory and linguistics. In addition, knowledge of the citizenship and naturalization process is very useful. Knowledge of a second language is not necessary to teach ESL students, but can be helpful in understanding the students’’ difficulties. GED teachers should know what is required to pass the GED and be able to instruct students in the subject matter. Training for literacy volunteers usually consists of effective teaching practices, needs assessment, lesson planning, materials selection, characteristics of adult learners, and cross-cultural awareness.
Adult education teachers must have the ability to work with a variety of cultures, languages, and educational and economic backgrounds. They must be understanding of their students’’ circumstances and familiar with their concerns. All teachers, both paid and volunteer, should be able to communicate well and be able to motivate their students. Previous experience as a volunteer or an aide in a literacy program is recommended.
Professional development among adult education teachers varies widely. Because of the part-time nature of the job, attendance at classes is difficult for many instructors. Therefore, professional development usually consists of voluntary attendance at workshops, conferences, and seminars 1 or 2 days per year. The Internet is playing a larger role in helping teachers learn to expand approaches and techniques in the classroom. They can now take online courses, join chat groups with other teachers, and research journal articles. There are very few opportunities for advancement in this profession. Most jobs are part time and offer limited career potential. However, those who do have full-time jobs often do administrative work along with teaching. Others may go into policy work at a nonprofit organization or perform research. The most experienced teachers may mentor new instructors and volunteers.
The main qualification for self-enrichment teachers is expertise in the subject area. A portfolio of one’’s work may be required. For example, to secure a job teaching a photography course, an applicant would need to show examples of previous work. Self-enrichment teachers should also have good speaking skills and a talent for making the subject interesting.
1. Approved Program - A Virginia state-approved teacher preparation program or an alternative state approved program. (For more information relative to this method of licensure, please contact the Virginia college or university where you wish to enroll.)¹
2. Reciprocity - an individual coming into Virginia from any state may qualify for a Virginia license with comparable endorsement areas if the individual has complete a state - approved teacher training program through a regionally accredited four-year college or university or if the holds a valid out-of-state teaching license, which must be in force at the time the application for a Virginia license is made. An emergency or temporary certificate/license is not acceptable.¹
3. Alternative Licensure - an alternative route to licensure is available through the recommendation of the individual’s employing Virginia school division or nonpublic school.¹
An individual who is employed by a Virginia school division or nonpublic school can be issued a three-year, nonrenewable provisional license upon request of the Virginia employing educational agency if the individual:
The code of Virginia limits the validity period for the provisional license to three years. This license may not be renewed following its three year expiration date.
The following requirements must be satisfied in order to become eligible for the five-year renewable license:
1. Professional Teacher’s Assessment (Please refer to the web site, Professional Teacher’s Assessment, for more detailed information regarding this requirement.)
2. Professional Studies Requirements: Professional studies course work specified below from a regionally accredited four-year institution or an alternative program for licensure may be submitted by the employing educational agency for review and approval by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Virginia Department of Education. Refer to the professional studies requirements listed in the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel.
Adult education- 15 semester hours
• Human Growth and Development - 3 semester hours
3. One year of successful, full-time teaching experience in the endorsement area in an accredited public or nonpublic school. A full-licensed experienced teacher must be available in the school building to assist the beginning teacher employed through the alternative route.
Regular licenses must be renewed every 5 years. To renew the license, the individual must obtain at least 180 points through a series of 10 professional development options. License holders without a master’s degree must earn at least 90 points by completing a three - semester - hour course at an accredited two or four-year college in the content area listed on the license. During one five year cycle, the license holder may be granted approval to take course work in special education, English as a second language, gifted education, or technology education in lieu of the three - hour content course. In addition, professional development activities designed to support the Virginia Standards of Learning, Standards of Accreditation, and Assessments may be accepted in lieu of the content course for one renewal cycle.
¹ Please refer to www.pen.k12.va.us, and click Professional Teacher’s Assessment, describing the assessment requirements in Virginia.
• Exam Fee:
• Out of state (based on the address written on the application form): $75
• License Renewal: $25
• Add or evaluate for an additional endorsement: $25
• Other actions on licenses (adding a degree/ duplicate licenses): $25
• Name change (only request): $25 (for duplicating the license)
• A cap of $50 will be assessed for a request for multiple actions on license.
For More Information, Contact:
The Praxis Series, ETS
ETS Corporate Headquarters
Princeton, NJ 08541 USA
Phone: Tol.l F.9476
Adult Literacy, Remedial Education, and GED Teachers
Virginia Department of Education
Division of Teacher Education and Licensure
P.O. Box 2120
Richmond, VA 23218-2120
The data sources for the information displayed here include: Virginia Career VIEW Research.