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can i obtain a teaching degree online

Are you considering enrolling in an online teaching program instead of a classroom-based one? Well then, you’re in luck! You can get a teaching degree online.

As distance learning becomes more and more mainstream, the majority of public and private four-year institutions in the US now offer a wide variety of highly reputable online teaching degree programs, spanning the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels.

There are a ton of options out there that are well worth exploring and that offer the same rigorous training and virtually the same job prospects as regular classroom-based teacher training programs in your state. As long as you opt for a state-approved program, your degree will be just as valid as a degree earned through an on-campus teacher education program.

Your options include:

  1. Getting your bachelor’s degree in Education online.
  2. Getting an advanced degree in Education.

Let’s take a closer look at both options.

1. Getting your bachelor’s degree in education online.

college grad at a laptop sitting in a living room asking can i obtain a teaching degree online

Most online bachelor’s degree programs in education allow participants to specialize, either on a specific grade/age level or subject/content area. These programs will usually help you work towards obtaining a teaching license in the state you want to teach in.

However, online bachelor’s degrees in education leading to teacher certification are less common than online graduate degree programs designed for current teachers.

If you find a suitable online teaching degree program, be warned that while you can complete most of the coursework online, you’ll still need to complete a semester of student teaching in person before you can qualify for your teaching license.

It may, however, be possible to complete your student teaching in your local area. So overall, while online bachelor’s degree in education programs are not technically 100% online, these do offer much more flexibility than a traditional, in-person teacher preparation program. Not having to go to class at a set time each week is ideal for anyone already juggling work and family commitments or who lives some distance away from a school of education.

If you prefer to learn at your own pace, on your own time, getting a teaching degree online might be just the thing for you!

Admission requirements for online bachelor’s degree programs are similar to their on-campus counterparts (usually a high school diploma and admissions test) and take around four years to complete.

2. Getting an advanced degree in teaching online.

group of college grads at a big table learning how to become a certified teacher online

There are plenty of master’s degree programs in education you can apply for without any in-person component. Still, these are usually explicitly designed for people who already have their teaching certification and are looking for ways to advance their credentials and increase their salary. They typically take two years to complete and popular options include:

  1. MA in teaching
  2. MS in education

There are a few online master’s programs designed to give a pathway to teacher certification for people who have an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field or working professionals looking to transition into teaching.

There are also online doctoral degrees in education primarily geared towards working educators who are looking to:

  • Move into research or education policy
  • Teach at the college/university level
  • Pursue an administrative or leadership role

11 online teacher certification programs

woman at a laptop applying for an online teaching degree

Regardless of whether a program is delivered online or on campus, a traditional teacher preparation program or an alternative certification program, it’s critical to confirm it is state-approved.

Note: Most of the following state-recognized online teaching degree programs qualify graduates to apply for licensure in the state where the school is located. However, some of these may also be eligible for teaching license reciprocity in your home state. Make sure you check with your department of education regarding licensure requirements and whether any of these meet their criteria.

Can I get a teaching degree online fast?

certified teacher in a classroom full of working high school students

If you’re starting from scratch by taking the traditional route to teaching then it takes the same amount of time as it would in an in-class program.

But, if you already have a bachelor’s degree (in any subject) you can quickly become a teacher without a degree in Education through alternative teacher certification programs.

While an alternative teacher certification program will get you into the classroom as a working educator faster (in under a year in some cases), online options are less common, with a few exceptions, including Teach Away’s state-approved and AAQEP-accredited TCP.

Why’s that? Well, online alternative teaching certification also typically requires you to undergo a teaching practicum at a local school in the state you want to teach in, which you may need to arrange on your own.

Before you commit to an online alternative certification program, you’ll need to be sure that you can arrange your student teaching to take place close by – or be in a position to relocate temporarily throughout the student teaching component of your course.

Graduates who desire to teach in public schools in any state must be licensed. Specific requirements vary based on location, but generally, individuals must have a bachelor’s degree in addition to completing an teacher education program with student teaching. They must pass a teacher certification exam and, in some cases, additional assessments focused on particular content areas, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Final word of advice: 

If you’re looking to teach in a public school in any state, you must be licensed.

Requirements for licensure do vary state by state, but at minimum, will usually include a bachelor’s degree and completion of a teacher education program with a teaching practicum.

For more details on earning your teaching license after completing your teaching degree online, check with your state’s department of education.

Good luck!

Banner hyperlink will take you to the official alternative teacher certification page for more details on how to proceed hbspt.cta.load(2736097, ‘017a807b-af35-4dc1-bf81-02cdcf226faa’, {});

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