What Credentials Do Online Educators Have?

Working as a teacher requires a college degree and certification in the state where you teach. If you complete a degree program in New Hampshire, you can apply for certification in California or another state. Every time that you move to a new state, you must apply for certification in that state. Some people might assume that online teachers lack any qualified credentials, but those teaching classes online must still have the same certification as any other teacher.

Undergraduate Degree

Anyone applying for an online teaching job must possess an undergraduate degree in education. Students studying education can choose the type of teaching they want to do after graduation. They can choose a specialty, including math or science, and they can focus on teaching elementary school students or high school students. Those interested in teaching at a higher level must posses an advanced degree. You shouldn’t expect to teach graduate school students if you only have an undergraduate degree. Community colleges will often accept teachers with a Masters degree, while universities and graduate schools require a Masters or a doctorate degree.

State Certification

State certification is a must for anyone interested in online teaching positions. When you teach at a local school, you typically work with students from the surrounding area. When you teach online, you work with students from all across the country and even some foreign countries. Though you work with different students, you must still have a certificate to teach in your state. Most states ask that you complete a simple application and present a copy of your transcript. You must also pass a criminal background check before receiving your teaching license.

Experience in the Field

Online educators can often supplement time spent in the field with some of the educational requirements of the job. Those teaching military history often worked for the government or enlisted in the military, while those teaching business owned or managed a company for several years. Online schools look for teachers with experience as a way to introduce new elements and topics to their students. Students can learn more about what life is like in the field and the issues that they might face when working after graduation. Not all schools require real life experience, and some online schools hire recent graduates as teachers.

Experience with Online Tools

If you want to teach online, you need experience with the tools that you’ll use every day. Many online colleges now use the learning system from Blackboard, while others use similar systems. These systems let students send questions to their professors, post comments in an online forum, read weekly information and send in assignments. While some schools will take the time to train professors on the system, other colleges look for teachers who already know how the system works.

Online educators must have a license or certificate that allows them to teach in the state where they reside, and they must have at least an undergraduate degree in the field. Some schools also require that professors have experience working in a related field and that they understand the basics of working with any online tools.