The GED is America’s only high school equivalency diploma that’s recognized in all 50 states for both entry-level employment and college admission. Since 1942, high school drop-outs have taken the GED test to endorse their knowledge in five content areas: English language arts, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. It’s estimated that the 19 million GED recipients nationwide cash in a $568,000 lifetime earnings advantage over their non-diploma colleagues. Preparing for this 7.5-hour test to pass with a minimum scaled score of 450 takes considerable effort though. That’s where GED teachers come into the picture to give students the test-taking skills needed to succeed. This unique education career allows teachers to help adults aged 19 or older fill any knowledge gaps before sitting down at one of 3,400 GED testing centers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 58,810 adult education professionals like GED teachers obtain an average yearly salary of $55,140, or $26.51 per hour. GED teachers can expect mean wages of $57,460 at junior colleges, $45,130 at vocational rehabilitation centers, $60,500 at high schools, and $56,010 at government agencies. The top-paying states for GED teachers are New York and Illinois with average salaries of $69,900 and $65,700 respectively.
Newly hired GED teachers with little instructional experience typically land in the bottom 10th percentile of earnings for yearly income around $29,420. However, it’s impossible teachers to advance their salary potential to $66,800 or higher. Some GED teachers become continuing education directors for an average salary of $83,836 on average. Those with a master’s degree could work as community college faculty for salaries from $46,858 to $96,120.
GED teachers construct lesson plans in test review courses to support adults who need a second chance to complete the equivalent of a high school diploma. They’ll begin by assessing each student for potential learning challenges and adapting curriculum to suit their strengths. Their instruction covers content frequently found on the five GED sections along with basic test-taking methods for success. GED teachers must monitor students’ progress by giving informal practice exams and tweak their teaching for certain weak areas. They’ll use both printed textbooks and online software designed by companies like Kaplan or Edgenuity. In some cases, GED teachers also connect adults to career placement services or college admission offices.
Effectively preparing adults to take the GED requires unique pedagogical skills for reintroducing content basics to those who’ve been out of schooling for years. GED teachers need to be skilled communicators with the speaking and listening skills to explain abstract concepts easily and inform students of their development. Collaboration skills are important for organizing lessons with other teachers and taking input from administrators. GED teachers should be compassionate and patient when students struggle to grasp material or suffer undiagnosed disabilities. Being a GED teacher involves cultural sensitivity since adults will come from diverse racial, socioeconomic, and academic backgrounds. GED teachers also need good critical thinking, analytical, problem-solving, organizational, and classroom management skills.
Degree and Education Requirements
Becoming a GED teacher begins with finishing a high school diploma or perhaps earning the General Education Development diploma yourself. Next, you’ll need to enroll at an accredited, four-year university to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Most GED teachers choose majors like adult education, educational studies, or English as a Second Language education. Picking a teacher-training program that’s accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP) could be necessary to fulfill your state’s certification. Community colleges and trade schools frequently prefer hiring candidates with a Master of Education in Adult or Workforce Education. Finishing a Ph.D. or Ed.D. isn’t necessary unless you plan to teach more advanced university courses.
Pros and Cons of the Position
Determining whether GED education is your ideal career path requires weighing the benefits with the challenges. Let’s start off positive by saying GED teachers usually make more than the median salary for U.S. workers of $44,148. Teaching adults can be intrinsically rewarding for instructors who want a friendly, active learning environment where pupils are extra motivated. GED teachers don’t have to handle the behavioral and social problems that can erupt in K-12 classrooms. Many GED teachers work part-time for a great work-life balance. Courses are generally delivered during early mornings or evenings, leaving your 9-to-5 hours free. However, GED teachers face competition for jobs growing on par with average growth. Considerable teaching experience and training is needed for a relatively low education salary. GED teachers may need to maintain state licensing with their own continuing education. Programs could also judge teachers based on how their students perform, thus adding stress.
Building your resume for GED teaching positions begins during your bachelor’s program with at least 100 practicum hours. Request fieldwork placements in high schools and junior colleges to gain better understand of how older students learn. Accredited bachelor’s education degrees always include a student-teaching internship for spending one semester with a mentor. At graduation, inquire about your state’s certification for adult education. Taking the Praxis exams and passing background checks could be required. Some future GED teachers add the ESOL Endorsement to work with non-native English speakers too. Then, it’s suggested that you gain three to five years of classroom experience before considering a master’s degree. Many accredited colleges offer online options, such as Portland State University’s Teaching Adult Learners Graduate Certificate.
The United States’ high school graduation rate hit an all-time high of 83 percent in 2015, which is causing enrollment in GED programs to drop. Changes in government funding could also negatively impact whether lower-income learners can afford GED prep. However, there’s still a demand because the job market virtually requires holding a high school diploma or equivalent today. GED teachers also find increasing numbers of students who’ve immigrated to the country and want to improve their career opportunity. The BLS predicts that the hiring of GED teachers will rise by 7 percent through 2024 for roughly 5,500 new positions. Prospects are best in junior colleges, social assistance agencies, career services centers, prisons, and vocational schools.
Education majors better suited for teaching adults could consider becoming a GED teacher where the classroom focus is passing the lengthy equivalency test. These instructors are bachelor’s-trained professionals who inspire older students to reach their highest academic potential after leaving high school for various reasons. GED teachers guide individuals to high scores for a diploma that opens career doors with recognition from 95 percent of employers.