Qualifications for Teaching Online


Authored by Geoff Vaughan in Teaching and Learning
Published on 10-26-2009

More and more people are turning to the Internet to take classes, as you just can’t beat the convenience of being able to log onto a class in the comfort of your own home, or any location where you can get online access. Not only has online distance learning made things more convenient for students, it has also opened up more doors for people to telecommute as instructors. You need to have several qualifications to teach online, and these qualifications vary from school to school.

Online education is available to high school and college students, as well as for people who are trying to pursue professional and personal development in key areas. You must determine which of these audiences you would like to teach, since the requirements to teach at a high school are different than those of a college or university. For example, most high schools require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree; undergraduate degree programs often require a minimum of a master’s degree; and graduate level courses require a minimum of a doctorate to teach those programs. Most undergraduate and graduate programs require for the instructor’s masters degree and/or doctorate to have at least 18 credit hours in the course they will teach. This is because schools want the instructors to be subject matter experts on the topic.

Every state has different certification requirements for a person to be able to teach. You can find out what the requirements are for each state by going to the websites for the State Education Department. For the most part, the requirements that you need to teach in an actual school are also necessary for you to be hired to teach online. Some states require the instructor to have a teacher’s certification, and often this certification must be updated regularly by taking additional courses and applying for the certificate.

Once you figure out what subject you would like to teach, you must then choose where you would like to teach. Most websites have a link to the jobs that are available. Another search avenue is to contact the institution’s Human Resources Department. You can start early to prepare to teach online by finding out what this academic environment wants its instructors to have in order to teach online. Just as every state has different criteria, every school has different requirements they want teachers to meet for online instruction. This will give you the opportunity to start taking classes and getting the necessary certification for the level and location you want to teach.

If you have teaching experience, you will be more likely to get hired on to teach online, than if you have never taught. The key to marketing yourself to get an online teaching job if you don’t have teaching experience, is to provide experience of how you have taught others in your current job. Perhaps you trained a new employee or taught a safety class at work. Incorporating things that you have done to teach others in your current employment can help you get a part-time or full-time job teaching online.

The most important things that you can do are to take the right classes and get a teaching certificate. Having the proper education and certification will make you eligible to teach online classes.


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