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Unconventional Careers you can Have with a Master’s Degree in Adult and Continuing Education

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A master’s degree in adult and continuing education is a surprisingly versatile degree. In addition to a work in adult basic education, a master’s degree can lead you to a career in the business, technology, non-profit, or healthcare sectors.

Below are three unconventional careers you can pursue with a master’s degree in adult education:

Employee Relations Specialist

Falling within the top 20 on CNN Money’s 100 Best Jobs in America, an employee relations specialist brings education to the corporate world. A major part of this job involves overseeing the company’s internal employee development and recruiting efforts. The skills used in this area are similar, if not the same, to those obtained with a master’s degree in adult and continuing education.

To design effective workplace development programs, employee relations specialists should understand how adults learn. Unlike children, adults choose to continue their education because of a perceivable benefit. Often, they believe learning a new skill is a necessary step to achieve a particular goal. This translates well in the corporate environment, as employee development programs are designed to teach staff members new career-related skills, either to improve their productivity or train them for a better position.

According to PayScale, an experienced employee relations specialist earns an average $62,000. A bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum requirement for this position, but most businesses prefer a master’s or relevant work experience. Having a master’s degree can better prepare you for the demands of working in a corporate environment. By concentrating in human resource development within an adult education graduate program, you can study the unique ways adult education integrates with the corporate environment. This can put you ahead of the competition, as you’ll likely be more prepared for the position than someone with a bachelor’s in either education or human resources. A master’s degree also helps qualify individuals with these backgrounds for a promotion in HR and professional development.

E-Learning Specialist

According to PayScale, the average salary for an e-learning specialist is $55,000. Common undergraduate degrees of employees in this position include education, communication and information technology; additional certification can help in your career search.

An e-learning specialist’s job is to design, build, onboard, and improve online learning programs. These can range from simple presentations and quizzes to entire courses, complete with a syllabus and final evaluation. E-learning specialists blend their knowledge of adult learning with their grasp of educational technology, distilling complex concepts into simple terms for students to easily understand.

Because their primary job description involves tailoring educational material for a digital learning environment, e-learning specialists are capable of working in a wide variety of fields. For example, some help create community college programs for English-as-a-second-language learners, while others work on corporate training programs for new hires.
One commonality among e-learning specialists is that many are skilled in computer programming, digital design or application development. They’re able to combine such expertise with their knowledge of adult education to create intuitive and effective online learning applications that are easy for students to use.

Obtaining a master’s in adult and continuing education can better prepare you for the duties and responsibilities of an e-learning specialist, especially if you choose a concentration in educational technology. This course of study is designed to teach you how technological trends like smartphones, tablets and video conferencing can provide stronger outcomes for adult learners.

Community Organization Administration

Community wellness groups like the YMCA and United Way agencies need administrators with advanced degrees to successfully carry out their missions. Many of these organizations provide educational organizing services, teaching local activists how to form groups, strategize, and advocate. As such, these nonprofits may greatly benefit from someone with an understanding of andragogy in addition to a philanthropic nature. By earning a master’s degree in adult education, you can acquire the skills and credentials necessary to teach local organizers the most effective ways to better their communities.

According to PayScale, a program administrator for a nonprofit can make up to $70,000. In addition to designing and implementing adult education programs, your duties may include interviewing, hiring, and training new staff for your team; creating and hosting fundraising events like auctions, gala dinners and walk-a-thons; or coordinating with other educating groups like churches and colleges. Starting as a program administrator is a great way to transition to an executive director position, which comes with a top salary of approximately $120,000.

These aren’t the only options available to graduates. A master’s degree in adult and continuing education is beneficial for any job that involves helping adults learn, grow, develop, and change.

Sources:

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Employee_Relations_Specialist/Salary

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=E-Learning_Specialist/Salary

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Program_Administrator,_Non-Profit_Organization/Salary

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Executive_Director,_Non-Profit_Organization/Salary

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