GED instructors teach classes that prepare adult students to take the qualifying examination for the General Educational Development certificate, which is widely accepted as a substitute for a high school diploma. The qualifying exam tests students for competency in the main subjects taught during secondary school, such as math, science, social studies, writing and critical reading. There are no uniform certification requirements for GED instructors; states and educational institutions have varying criteria.
Although GED instructor certification requirements vary, most states require instructors to have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. A specific major is not required, although earning a bachelor's degree in education would allow future GED instructors to gain valuable student teaching experience. No matter the major, bachelor's degree students should take courses that provide the expertise necessary to teach a secondary school curriculum, including mathematics, biology, chemistry, English, reading comprehension, writing and social studies.
Some states require GED instructors to have a master's degree. As GED instructors deal solely with an adult population, having a master's degree in social work, psychology or adult education is often useful. Earning a master's degree typically takes two years of full-time study; at the close of the program, students are generally required to present a thesis or exposition based on original research.
Most colleges, universities and centers for adult education require GED instructors to have some teaching experience. Those with bachelor's or master's degrees in education will fulfill this requirement through their program's mandatory student teaching component. Applicants with degrees in other subjects can apply to a teacher education program. These programs act as liaisons between universities and elementary or secondary schools to provide future educators with education and experience in the teaching profession. Postgraduate teacher programs typically last one year.
Some institutions require GED instructors to hold a state teaching certificate. Certification requirements vary, so aspiring GED instructors need to check with their state's board of education for details. The most common requirements are a bachelor's degree, completion of a teacher education program, a passing score on a teacher assessment examination and undergoing a criminal background check. A licensing fee must also be paid.
Adult Education and Literacy Certification
Many educational institutions require GED instructors to hold an Adult Education and Literacy certification, or AEL. Some schools that offer GED instruction also offer AEL certification; in other cases, AEL certification is available through state boards of education. A bachelor's degree is typically a mandatory prerequisite, and the applicant must pass a criminal background check. A specified number of continuing education credits may be required to maintain the certification.