One of the hottest new careers is teaching adult education classes in basic computer skills. While most young people learn all the technical skills they need in grade-school and high-school, many adults over the age of 40 never had that advantage because school systems hadn’t incorporated tech and PC skills into coursework when they were young. The result has been an explosion in demand for what most educational institutions call adult learning, and the vast majority of the classes people sign up for are computer-related. Sought after classes include PC skills, beginning level coding, social media, and DIY hardware repair. Older adults enroll in tech courses so quickly that many community colleges and universities are hiring new instructors to handle the load. What do you need to do to join the ranks of this new breed of tech teachers? Here’s how you can prepare yourself for a rewarding career in the growing field of adult technical education.
Acquire the Skills for the Job
You can’t show someone how to do something unless you already know how to do it yourself. Be sure your own tech skills are up to snuff, at least to the point where the entry-level chores are easy for you to do and demonstrate to those willing to learn and who might have zero knowledge of computers.
Do Some Student Teaching
Even before you’re certified, consider offering your services for free in one of the many community service organizations dedicated to helping under-employed adults get back in the job market. This makes sense for many reasons. Not only will you hone your classroom savvy but you’ll make important connections in the community and find out where the good jobs are. It will also help you boost your own resume with a nice bit of experience and a professional reference from your volunteer coordinator.
Get a Degree
To make yourself attractive to school districts who hire adult ed instructors, it’s essential to get a college degree. It doesn’t have to be in teaching, either. Consider majors like English, communications, business, and history. Getting a student loan is a quick and efficient way to pay for your education. Not only do lenders offer competitive interest rates and reasonable terms but many districts will pay back part of your loan after you’ve been teaching for a year or two.
Get Certified as an Adult Instructor
In most U.S. states, it’s possible to apply for a special certification that enables you to teach not only computer classes to adults but specialized programs like GED test prep, essential living skills, household budgeting, job interview preparation, and more. This area of the education field is growing rapidly and most of the students are coming off long-term periods of unemployment or multiple years of incarceration. Many are in desperate need of what most of us consider the bare bones abilities to get through life. If you are willing to take additional coursework along the way, you can easily qualify to instruct adults who need to get their high school diplomas, learn to read, or figure out how to create a resume. It’s rewarding, good paying work that will leave you with a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.