5 Best Master’s Programs in Adult Education and Learning in 2021

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Laura Leavitt
Updated June 28, 2021

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Grad School Hub's 5 Best Master's Programs in Adult Education and Learning features one of the fastest growing industries in society today.

Whether it's in the classroom or workplace, adults are everywhere – who knew? Adult educators empower, inspire, and teach other adults advanced skills they'll need to succeed.

Students who earn a degree in adult education go on to work as employee relation specialists, e-learning specialists, or community organization administrators. If teaching in the classroom is your end goal, you can always find a job as a high school equivalency educator, or an adult literacy teacher.

Explore these promoted online degree programs.

These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master’s or PhD programs.

The 5 Best Master's in Adult Education and Learning for 2021

  1. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    Indiana, PA

    Tuition

    $17264

    The Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers a Master of Education in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education through two unlikely sources: IUP's Department of Adult and Community Education and the Department of Communications Media.

    While students have the option to complete their entire two-year degree online, residential IUP students have access to a radio station, graphics lab, and animation studio on campus. Required courses include The Adult Learner, Issues in Distance Education, Program Planning in ACE, and Community-Based Education. Students also choose between completing a thesis or non-thesis option.

    • Graduation rate: 53.3%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $$$$ 
    • Number of programs offered: More than 140 programs
    • City location: Indiana, PA 
    • Admission requirements: Transcripts, letters of recommendation, Goal statement, 
    • Standardized test scores/requirements (is the GRE required and what is the average score for admission): No GRE or MAT scores required
    • Contact: https://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id=42867
    • Website
  2. James Madison University
    Location

    Harrisonburg, VA

    Tuition

    $16252

    James Madison University's Department of Learning, Technology and Leadership Education is now home to a comprehensive MS in Adult Education & Human Resource Development. JMU's unique degree program can be completed either online or through classroom instruction.

    Required courses include Diversity and Ethics, Learning Theories and Practice, Learning in Adulthood, and Organizational Behavior. Students may choose between completing a research paper or a thesis project. Students of JMU's MS program have a 100 percent rate of employment within three months after graduation and boast an average annual salary of $60,000.

    • Graduation rate: 82%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $$$$ 
    • Number of programs offered: More than 130
    • City location: Harrisonburg, VA 
    • Admission requirements: Online application, transcripts, GPA 2.75 or higher, personal statement, two letters of recommendation, resume
    • Standardized test scores/requirements (is the GRE required and what is the average score for admission): GRE is not required
    • Contact: AHRD@jmu.edu
    • Website
  3. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $12966

    Florida International is a public research university offering an MS in Adult Education and Human Resource Development through it's Department of Leadership and Professional Studies. Prospective students can apply during the fall, spring, and summer semesters and unlike many other graduate programs, the GRE is not required for admission.

    Students who graduate from FIU will meet the requirements for Florida's certified program in Adult Education Administration after completing a minimum of 36 credit hours. Required courses include Adult Teaching Methods, Perspectives on Adults with Disabilities, Instructional Analysis and Design, and Computer Based Training. FIU is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top public schools in the U.S.

    • Graduation rate: 72.3% 
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $$$ 
    • Number of programs offered: More than 190 degree programs
    • City location: Miami, Florida 
    • Admission requirements: 3.0 GPA in upper-division coursework, applicant statement, two letters of recommendation, and a resume
    • Standardized test scores/requirements (is the GRE required and what is the average score for admission): GRE not required
    • Contact: Tonette S. Rocco
    • Website
  4. University of South Florida
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $11398

    The University of South Florida offers students an MA in Adult Education through a 36-credit program offering 600-level courses such as The Adult Learner, Methods of Teaching Adults, and Adult Learning and Cognitive Styles.

    USF's Adult Education program is intended for students who hold a non-education BA and who wish to work in health care delivery, business and industry, professional associations, or other non-school based working environments.

    • Graduation rate: 69.4%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $$$ 
    • Number of programs offered: 180 undergraduate majors and degree programs 
    • City location: Tampa, Florida
    • Admission requirements: 3.0 GPA (some flexibility), statement of purpose, resume or vita, three letters of recommendation
    • Standardized test scores/requirements (is the GRE required and what is the average score for admission): GRE not required
    • Contact: http://www.grad.usf.edu/majors
    • Website 
  5. North Carolina State University
    Location

    Raleigh, NC

    Tuition

    $13066

    North Carolina State University's College of Education offers an MA of Education in addition to an MS with a specialization in Adult and Continuing Professional Education. NCSU's MS degree is a thesis-based program completed residentially, online, or both. Required courses include The Adult Learner, Instructional Strategies, and Teaching in an Online Environment.

    NCSU is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 32nd Top Public University in the United States in addition to ranking among the Best Colleges for Veterans, Best Value Schools, and Most Innovative Schools in the Country.

    • Graduation rate: 77.2% 
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $$$ 
    • Number of programs offered: More than 300
    • City location: Raleigh, NC 
    • Admission requirements: Submit transcripts, personal statement, CV/Resume, and education history through NCSU application portal
    • Standardized test scores/requirements (is the GRE required and what is the average score for admission): GRE scores are currently waived
    • Contact: Susan Barcinas, Ed. D. 
    • Website

What careers can you pursue with a master’s in adult education and learning?

A degree in this field prepares you for a variety of employment opportunities. You’ll learn to create curriculum, implement it online or in-person, and effectively communicate with students, who are also adults. This degree can lead to adult education classroom roles or human resources jobs like human resources director, a role in which you’ll be offering required and optional training to employees to build up the workforce at your company.

What types of classes do you take to earn a master’s in adult education and learning?

The curriculum for a master’s in adult education and learning will include classes to help you understand what adult learners bring to a classroom environment, as well as classes on pedagogy, technology in the education world, and how to create excellent instructional design and program planning.

How should I pick the best adult education and learning program for me?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. In general, you’ll want to consider the costs of the program — in-state tuition can help cut down on the costs — and you’ll also want to think about whether you prefer full-time or part-time coursework.

You may also want to decide whether you want a digital learning focus or a more traditional focus and whether you have a particular field of training you want to pursue, since some programs may have specialized healthcare training classes or outdoor education classes.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Explore Similar Programs.

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Laura Leavitt

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Laura Leavitt is a writer and teacher in Ohio who covers education topics for Best Value Schools, Graduate School Hub, and Criminal Justice Degree Schools, among others. She has written for Business Insider, The Billfold, The Financial Diet, and more.

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GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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