Graduate Certificate in Adult Education

Adult Education is a diverse field of practice, research and scholarship that focuses on the how adults (16 years and older) learn and how to facilitate that learning.  Students in the Adult Education Certificate program develop the ability to teach adults, and/or plan adult learning experiences; guide communities in capacity-building and help foster learning for advocacy and action in a variety of settings. The graduate certificate program provides specialization in a variety of areas, include adult basic education; human resource management & development; leadership and administration in adult education; health services and gerontology.

The graduate certificate program reflects national and local trends in adult education, and is aligned with characteristics of Andragogy (theory and practice of educating adults).  It continues to be the only state-approved program, in the D.C. metropolitan area that provides credentialing for adult education licensure—soon to be a mandatory requirement for adult educators in the District of Columbia. It is designed to customize learning to specific learning needs using self-directed learning strategies that include learning plans and self-assessments.  The curriculum embeds workshops and seminars that are conducted by trained professionals.  The subdivision of core courses into 1-credit modules allows students to tailor their learning and adult educators to meet professional development requirements for job effectiveness and recertification (for which 90 PD hours are needed every four years).  Additionally, the program uses the cohort delivery model—students go through the program as a group, and courses are scheduled sequentially—with admissions to the program in the Fall semester only.

The program offers:

  • Graduate Certificate in Adult Education (24 graduate credit hours).
    This program is designed to prepare educators (mentors, facilitators, and coaches) to teach diverse adult populations in various contexts, and to meet OSSE certification requirements for state licensure in adult education.
  • Professional Development Training
    The subdivision of core courses into 3 one-credit thematic modules sets the stage for students to customize learning plans to their specific needs.  The incorporation of seminars/workshops on contemporary Adult Education issues (such as 2014 GED Blueprint, Common Core beyond K-12, CASAS and other assessment standards) provides adult educators with the necessary academic training to satisfy professional development and/or recertification requirements.  90 PD hours are needed for recertification every 4 years.

Certificate in Adult Education Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Learners will demonstrate a thorough understanding of program design and tools essential to navigating the historical, sociological, psychological, and philosophical foundations of adult and continuing education.
  2. Learners will demonstrate understanding of the changing field of adult education, as well as vital information about their individual identities as educators and leaders.
  3. Leaners will demonstrate knowledge of a wide range of orientations and theories of adult development.
  4. Learners will acquire the ability to teach various adult learning styles using techniques and instructional methods that accommodate different learning preferences.
  5. Learners with demonstrate how to best institute self-directed learning strategies and include learning opportunities to encourage and empower adult learners to exhibit self-determination and plan their educational trajectory.
  6. Learners will demonstrate best practices for working with persons with disabilities and special needs in relation to career awareness, exploration, and placement by understanding pre-vocational, vocational and work activities.
  7. Learners will demonstrate their ability to effectively communicate with adults using learned methodology for organizing and presenting materials and information in ways appropriate for adults.
  8. Learners will demonstrate competency and understanding of the legal, ethical, cultural, and social issues that are associated with the use of technology.
  9. Learners will demonstrate understanding of basic computer literacy skills in relation to assistive technology for special needs learners.


Curriculum and Requirements in the UDC Graduate Certificate in Adult Education Program

Program of Study 3 Credit ADED Advising Form
Program of Study 6 Credit Advising Form

Snapshot of Program Requirements

Program Core Electives Practicum/Portfolio Total
Certificate 18 3 2/1 24
Praxis Core Math/English/Reading  
GRE (If the applicant’s GRE score is equal to or higher than a combined quantitative & verbal score of 870 (old GRE or 350 new GRE) and an analytical writing of 3.5, then Praxis Core scores need not be submitted.  
Internship (0 Credits)–1 semester in an adult education program for students who are without 1 year fulltime or 2 years part-time teaching experience in a recognized adult education program. For State licensing only: Complete all qualifying State Licensing academic testing and professional education requirements. 

Applicants to the Program must:

  • hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited, post-secondary institution.
  • to teach Adult Basic Education, must meet:
    • Professional education requirements set out in Municipal Regulations, Chapter 16, Sections 1653 & 1654. Equivalent UDC courses are accepted.
    • OSSE’s State Licensure and Accreditation requirement of Praxis I passing scores.  If you do not meet this requirement at the time of admission, you must do so before completion of 9 credits of course work, to continue in the program.

To Apply Now:

  • Go to  for admissions requirements and application forms.
  • To apply to the Graduate Certificate program:
    complete application for Non-Degree Applicants.  GRE requirement is waived for students entering the Graduate Certificate program.
  • To register for PD Workshops: Please contact the Adult Education Program. Phone: 202.274.6984; or Email:

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Graduate Certificate in Adult Education Program


Faculty in the Division of Education, Health and Social Work

Find Faculty in the University Directory

Career Pathways and Prospects

With a certificate in adult education, students are prepared to teach a variety of adult basic skills and workforce development courses including:

  • Adult Literacy
  • GED
  • Workforce Development

Employment of adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024. Employment growth is expected as continued immigration to the United States will create demand for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma programs.

Contact info:

E: | T: 202.274.6172