A degree in teaching helps to prepare you for joining the ranks of professional educators. Becoming a teacher is a very fulfilling career, especially because you will be helping to shape the minds and influence younger generations. When looking at how to become a teacher online, you should weigh all of your options. You can choose to participate in either in-person or online teaching programs. In this article, we will be discussing what the path is for those that pursue online teacher education, as well as, the benefits of pursuing this career online.  

Online Teaching Degrees vs In-Person Teaching Degrees

There are different pros and cons when looking at online teaching degrees versus in-person teaching degrees. Online learning consists of virtual classrooms and all subject materials are covered virtually. Due to the pandemic, there has been an increase in students enrolling in online teacher certification programs. Some of the key benefits are listed below: 

  • Great accessibility for students – By participating in an online degree program, you are able to participate in a quality curriculum from any location. 
  • Self-paced learning – This means that the courses can be taken as quickly or as slowly as one would like. There is no set-in-stone time frame for when you can finish your degree. 
  • Schedule flexibility – Not all people have the time to take classes in person. The flexibility of the program being online helps individuals who may need to juggle multiple responsibilities. 
  • Diversity (i.e., appeals to students from many backgrounds) – Because individuals from many kinds of backgrounds all over the United States participate in online teacher certification, there is exposure to many different kinds of people.  
  • Often at a lower price than in-person programs – Many online certification programs offer a lower price than an in-person program. This allows individuals who may have not been able to afford a traditional program to pursue teaching as a career. 

Steps to Becoming a Teacher Online

There are a few steps to becoming a teacher online, and they are detailed out below. Earning an online teaching degree helps to prepare individuals to lead classrooms with newer technology and regular instructional methods. However, teaching is not the online occupation that a teaching degree can prepare you for. You may also be prepared for educational administration, curriculum development, and school policy and advocacy roles. Typically, prior teaching experience is not required, which makes becoming a teacher online somewhat simple. 

1. Get a bachelor’s degree in education or any subject.

Now, individuals in the United States are able to get a bachelor’s degree in any education or any subject. In the past, it was required  a bachelor’s degree to be in education for those wanting to pursue teaching. Because of this change, as long as you have a bachelor’s degree in any subject, you can become a teacher by obtaining an alternative teaching certification. 

 2. Obtain a teaching certification.

There are two main criteria for anyone who wants study and obtain an alternative teaching certification:

  • A bachelor’s degree (in any subject) – Typically, a bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete. Depending on the state, you may need to finish the bachelor’s degree with a certain GPA. 
  • Eligibility to work in the US – In order to teach in the United States, you must be eligible to hold a job in the United States. 

Requirements for Teachers Online

Each state can vary in requirements for teachers online. Some online teacher certification programs can help certify you to teach in a variety of states across the United States. Because of this, it’s important to check the specific guidelines and requirements for your state before beginning an online course.  Below is a list of certain skills that should be possessed by an individual pursuing an online certification: 

  • Time management – Any teacher, regardless of if they are online or in person, should be able to have time management. This will help efficiently run the  class. 
  • Stimulating virtual learning environment – It can be hard for students to pay attention in class, especially when they are online. Try to create a stimulating environment so  students are not easily distracted. 
  • Communication skills – Body language and communication can be harder to interpret over video. Working on being effective in your communication skills can be crucial to students being able to understand you virtually. 
  • Use of feedback – You should be able to give feedback to students just like you would in person. Make sure that even if you are teaching online you are still speaking with students and paying attention to their progress in the class. 
  • Adaptability & curriculum support – Not all students learn the same. If you notice that some students are falling behind or are not doing as well as, make sure you can tailor the curriculum and hold time outside of the classroom to meet with students. 
  • Engage students – As stated before, having a stimulating work environment and being engaging with students is extremely important in a virtual setting. There are many distractions outside of the classroom, so engaging students is necessary for their learning. 
  • Constant learning & subject expertise – A large part of being a teacher is continuing your own education. Your ability to learn and grow in the subject you teach will push you to become a better teacher. 

How Long It Takes To Become a Teacher Online

Depending on how many of these requirements you have already fulfilled, how long it takes to become a teacher online can vary. For those who have their bachelor’s degree in any subject and are eligible to work in the United States, it can take as little as 6-9 months to complete an alternative teacher certification program. Once you’ve completed all requirements set by the state and the program you are in, you can apply for a teacher certification through your state’s Department of Education. Take a look at a variety of  certification options and start preparing for your online teaching career. “Teachers of Tomorrow can help you achieve your online teaching certification”