Lecturer (adult education): job description

Last updated: 21 Jun 2023, 15:39

Adult education lecturers teach academic and vocational subjects to adults of all ages and academic abilities.

A lecturer in action

What does an adult education lecturer do? | Graduate salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Adult education – also known as lifelong learning – involves providing short programmes for learners who are over 19 and therefore compulsory education. Topics include basic skills (such as numeracy and literacy); academic subjects, which may involve working towards public exams; and work-related skills.

Some providers also offer practical or leisure-based programmes, such as creative arts, foreign languages and IT. Lecturers (sometimes called tutors) in these topics are often practitioners (such as artists and IT professionals) who supplement their income with part-time teaching.

Typical duties include:

  • researching and developing learning programmes
  • planning and preparing lessons, including creating teaching materials
  • teaching students on an individual or group basis
  • checking and assessing students' work and giving feedback
  • attending meetings with colleagues and local employers.

The job commonly requires working evenings and weekends as courses tend to be held at these times.

Starting salaries

Adult education lecturers are often employed on part-time and temporary contracts, with pay set out by hourly rates rather than a yearly salary.

Typical employers of adult education lecturers

  • Further education colleges.
  • Community or local authority adult education centres and outreach centres.
  • The armed forces.
  • The prison service.

Vacancies are advertised on local authorities’ and colleges’ job sites, national newspapers’ websites and specialist sites such as Times Higher Education .

Qualifications and training required

There are no set requirements for entry into the profession, but professional experience or a degree related to your subject is usually necessary. You don’t always need a teaching qualification to teach in adult education but if you want to move into other kinds of teaching you will likely need one. Providers sometimes offer adult education lecturers the opportunity to study for this while working.

Read about getting a teaching job at a further education or higher education institution .

Key skills for adult education lecturers

  • An understanding of how adults learn and the ability to apply this.
  • Organisational skills.
  • Extensive knowledge of and practical skills in your subject area.
  • Excellent communication (written and spoken) skills.
  • IT skills and creativity to design teaching materials and classes suitable for a wide range of students.

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