Do you have a desire to teach but would prefer the convenience of an online classroom? If so, online teaching might be the perfect option for you. Online learning is on the rise because more and more students prefer the convenience of studying from home.
Read on for information and tips on where to find jobs, salaries and how to understand the current job market if you want to become an online teacher.
Main Takeaways: Getting an Online Teaching Job
- Online teaching has moved into the mainstream. Whether students are taking part or all of their coursework online, the option has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years.
- Teachers can cover all subjects and levels online. This gives you more choices when it comes to what age group and subject you could teach.
- Below we explore salary expectations, future growth rate and more. Read on to learn how you can find your next online teaching gig.
- What is Online Teaching?
- What Are People with Online Teaching Jobs Responsible for?
- Do I Need a Degree to Work in this Field?
- Types of Online Teaching Jobs and Titles
- Salary Ranges and Expectations for Online Teaching Jobs
- Projected Growth Rate of the Online Teaching Field
- How to Get a Job in Online Teaching
- Top 6 Skills to Be Successful in Online Teaching
- Online Teaching has Perks
What is Online Teaching?
Online teaching is similar to traditional teaching, but is delivered in 2 different ways:
- Classes are taught 100% virtually through a computer or other smart device. Teachers assign and grade projects online and communicate with students via video conferencing or Webex, instant messaging, online discussion boards and email. Students can enroll in individual courses or earn a 2- or 4-year degree. Many high schools also offer online curriculums.
- A combination. Students can take a combination of in-classroom courses as well as virtual courses.
There are many different online degree options available for students, so there will always be a demand for online teachers.
What Are People with Online Teaching Jobs Responsible for?
Some online teachers serve as adjunct staff members for colleges, universities and high schools and while others work independently, offering courses through their own company. Others are full-time staff members of colleges or other educational institutions.
Online teachers develop classroom curriculum, give online lectures and presentations, foster student discussions and grade student work.
Do I Need a Degree to Work in this Field?
In most cases, you’ll need a college degree to be an online teacher. Every state has various requirements for teachers. Most require at least a bachelor’s degree in education and passage of a state-administered exam. There are several different degree programs offered, such as:
- Early childhood
- Elementary education
- Secondary education
- Special education
There are also online teaching degree programs offered at various 2- and 4-year colleges, as well as certifications in subjects such as English as a second language (ESL) and adult education.
A master’s degree in education is usually needed to be an online instructor at the community college level, and at the university level, a master’s or doctorate degree may be required.
Types of Online Teaching Jobs and Titles
There are several different job classifications and titles which fall under the larger online teaching umbrella. Here are a few examples:
Entry-Level Online Teaching Jobs
Entry-level online teachers, which could also be called online teaching assistants, online assistant tutors or junior online teachers, typically support more seasoned instructors with paperwork and grading.
These types of jobs provide valuable experience which adds credibility to your resume.
Many parents hire online tutors (also called virtual or ACT or SAT tutor) to help their children in specific subjects in high school or to prepare them for the ACT or SAT tests. Adults can also hire tutors for themselves to boost their knowledge and skillset in English, math or other subjects.
Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)
ESL online teachers teach non-English speaking students English and grammar as part of a local or online-only school. They communicate via Webex, email or instant messaging and provide students who graduate with a certificate of completion.
Online Foreign Language Teachers
Many people looking to learn a foreign language prefer online courses so they can learn anytime, anywhere and at their own pace. Online or virtual foreign language teachers can teach through an app or online course.
Higher Education Online Teaching
There are many jobs available as online professors, instructors and adjunct professors at colleges and universities. In fact, there are many majors that are 100% virtual. Some may focus on specific subjects such as religious studies, Cybersecurity or business management, while others may teach a variety of courses.
High School Online Teaching
Many high schools now offer some 100% online programs. High school online teachers provide traditional classroom instruction to students who prefer an online setting. These teachers typically report to a local online classroom program director or traditional school’s principal.
Online Corporate Trainers
Some companies provide training to employees using virtual teachers as online corporate trainers. In many cases, it may be cost-effective for businesses to roll out new programs and provide online training to employees versus on-site.
Online Education Program Director
An online education program director, also called an online classroom program director or online education director, typically oversees online school programs at the local level in settings like high schools and community centers.
Both private and public schools offer online curriculums and these directors manage operations from placing online teachers to handling student affairs.
Salary Ranges and Expectations for Online Teaching Jobs
The average annual salary for an online teacher is $62,000, according to Payscale.com. Here are a few sample online teacher salaries:
|Average Annual Salary|
|Education Program Director||$61,876|
|Senior Instructional Designer||$79,116|
You’ll command a higher salary the more specialized you are as an online teacher.
Projected Growth Rate of the Online Teaching Field
The projected growth rate of career and technical education teachers is 4% by 2026 (slower than average) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The rate for high school teachers is 8% (faster than average) and 15% for college teachers (much faster than average). As online classrooms grow, the demand for online teachers will increase significantly.
Consider these facts from the Babson Survey Research Group:
- There are more than 6 million students enrolled in distance education courses at postsecondary institutions.
- Public institutions command the largest number of distance learning students with 67.8%.
- The number of students who study at traditional campuses dropped by over 1 million between 2012 and 2016.
How to Get a Job in Online Teaching
How do you get started as an online teacher? Here are a few helpful strategies you can try:
- Consult with an academic advisor. Check with your college’s career counseling office if you’re still in college or a recent graduate. Your college’s career office has built relationships with employers and may be able to help you find you a position.
- Become a teacher’s assistant or substitute teacher. You’ll gain valuable classroom experience when you serve as a teacher’s assistant or substitute teacher. In most states, you can substitute teach if you’ve accumulated 90 or more credit hours toward your degree. In-classroom experience will help round out your resume even if your goal is to be an online teacher.
- Get volunteer experience. Volunteering a few hours a week can help you build your resume. You can volunteer to teach at local schools, churches and other organizations.
- Network in various ways. Add contacts to your LinkedIn profile and join professional organizations such as the Association for American Educators and the National Education Association to get information about job postings and other job search resources.
- Register with a staffing agency. Sign up with an employment agency that specializes in placing teachers in jobs.
- Start your own teaching service. You can start your own tutoring or teaching company as long as you have the proper education and certifications. You can build a cheap DIY website using Weebly or Wix and create a Facebook page to spread the word so you save money on business expenses.
- Call local high schools and adult education centers. Many of these schools offer online courses, so see if you can snag a local gig.
- Apply online. Using keywords such as “online teacher” and “virtual teacher,” apply on mainstream job boards as well as niche job boards such as higheredjobs.com that cater to teachers. You can also apply to local community colleges and traditional universities.
Top 6 Skills to Be Successful in Online Teaching
Online teachers face different requirements and challenges than their traditional teacher counterparts and need certain skills to be successful.
1. Communication Skills
Online teachers have to communicate 100% virtually, so they need good verbal and presentation skills. Consider taking a communication course at a local community center to brush up on your abilities. Online teachers also need to be able to communicate assignments clearly and be available to answer students’ questions quickly using email or online messaging.
2. Technical Skills
Online teachers must be technically savvy because they have to present student lectures using online programs and devices. Be proficient in video conferencing, Skype, Outlook and other programs. You’ll also need a plan in place to come up with a solution if a technical glitch occurs.
3. Time Management Skills
Many students who study online take classes at night or on weekends, so online teachers need to be available outside traditional school hours. This requires good time management skills because you’ll need to prioritize assignments, juggle classroom schedules and respond quickly to student concerns.
4. Organizational Skills
Much like traditional classroom teachers, online teachers need excellent organizational skills to effectively coordinate the creation and distribution of syllabi, assignments, lectures and presentations.
5. Creative Skills
Teaching online doesn’t allow you to walk around a classroom and interact personally with students. Therefore, you’ll need to be creative in your teaching approach so you can effectively engage students and still manage to interact with them.
Online Teaching has Perks
There are many benefits to being an online teacher:
- It offers freedom and flexibility — you can skip the commute and work from anywhere as long as you have WiFi.
- There’s no dress code.
- You can be your own boss if you own your own teaching business or are an independent contractor. You can also set your own hourly rate and write off teaching-related expenses on your taxes.
- You can reach students who don’t do well in traditional classroom settings.
You can make a good living and plan for retirement if online teaching is your desired career. Whether you’d prefer to work as an online tutor, college professor or program director, you’ll have plenty of good jobs to choose from.