Lecturer (adult education): job description

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

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Lecturers need to be able to work with people from all backgrounds.

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

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • developing programmes of learning activities
  • planning, preparing and researching lessons
  • preparing teaching materials
  • contact/teaching time with students on an individual or group basis
  • checking and assessing students' work and giving feedback
  • encouraging personal development via tutorial/pastoral work
  • invigilating examinations
  • attending staff meetings
  • liaising with other professionals/employers

The job commonly requires working evenings and weekends. Many people enter the profession through part-time and temporary contracts, supplementing their salary by writing, private tuition and exam marking or by taking up several part-time posts.

Adult education lecturers and tutors teach a broad range of subjects, including literacy and numeracy skills, IT and creative arts.

Typical employers of adult education lecturers

  • State-maintained and private sixth-form, adult and further education colleges
  • Community or local authority adult education centres and outreach centres
  • The armed forces
  • The prison service

Vacancies are advertised in local authority jobs lists, the Times Educational Supplement, Times Higher Education and national, regional and local newspapers. A few specialist recruitment agencies also handle vacancies.

Qualifications and training required

There are no set academic requirements for entry into the profession. However, a degree related to your respective subject is usually necessary. Requirements can vary between employers.

Although it is possible to become a lecturer without a teaching qualification, your chances of securing a role and progressing in your career improve if you do have one. There are various levels of qualifications that you can study in further education colleges, or you can do a PGCE for post-compulsory education at a higher education institution. Employers may also favour candidates who have several years' work experience. Some employers provide the opportunity to gain a teaching qualification via part-time study once in a post.

Those who wish to teach literacy, numeracy or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) will need specific relevant qualifications.

You can find out more from our advice on training and qualifications for alternative careers in education and areas of work in education outside teaching in schools.

Key skills for adult education lecturers

  • Ability to work well with students of all ages and backgrounds
  • Organisational skills
  • The ability to work as a team with colleagues
  • Extensive knowledge of the subject area
  • Effective verbal communication skills
  • Written skills to produce coursework materials
  • Creative skills to plan and deliver interesting lessons and lectures at the right level for students

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