Are you considering enrolling in an online teaching program instead of a classroom-based one? Well then, you’re in luck!
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, accredited 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 go opt for an accredited program, your degree will be just as valid as a degree earned through an on-camps teacher education program.
1. Getting your bachelor’s degree in education 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 do find a suitable online teaching degree program offered at the undergraduate level, be warned that while most of the coursework can completed online, you will 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.
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2. Getting an advanced degree in teaching online.
There are plenty of master’s degree programs in education you can apply for without any in-person component, but 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:
- MA in teaching
- MS in education
There are a select few online master's programs that are 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 accredited online teacher certification programs
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:
- Holds regional accreditation
- Is state approved
The most well known accrediting body for teacher training programs in the US is the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation(CAEP).
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. Be sure to check with your department of education regarding licensure requirements and whether any of these meet their criteria.
- Arkansas State University
Ball State University
Eastern Oregon University
Florida International University
East Carolina University
Online teaching degrees (concentrations in kindergarten and computer sciences, delivered in a 100% online, asynchronous format)
Appalachian State University
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Online teaching degree in elementary education(blended format)
The University of Alabama
Grand Canyon University
Online bachelor’s education degree programs(concentrations in elementary, early childhood and special education)
Indiana Wesleyan University
Can I get a teaching degree online fast?
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 notable exceptions including iTeach, Teachers of Tomorrow, TeacherReady and Teach-Now.
Why’s that? Well, online alternative teaching certification also typically require 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 over the course of 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 accredited 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 U.S. 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 an accredited 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!