How Do You Become an Online Educator?

Online EducationOnline teaching positions are now available at all levels, which means that if you want to become an online educator, you need to decide which level you want to teach first. Though some think that online teaching is less stressful and easier than traditional teaching, it still involves many of the same skills. You need to know how to get your point across to students, and some might find that they prefer the one-on-one method of teaching in a classroom. Find out more about teaching online and the steps you need to take.

Decide on the Level You Want to Teach

There is a big difference between teaching at the elementary school level and the college level. Though many people automatically think of online colleges, teachers now work with kids of all ages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage of college professors is nearly $69,000 a year. College professors need a minimum of a master’s degree, and professors working in some fields may need a Ph.D as well. Those teaching high school students or younger students online usually only need a bachelor’s degree.

Attend College

To become an online educator, you need to attend college. The only type of online teaching position that doesn’t require a college degree is that of a tutor. Tutors usually receive an hourly wage that they set themselves, but they usually don’t make as much as teachers. Some students find that attending an online college gives them more familiarity with the software used by those schools. Even if you attend a traditional university, you still have the chance to learn more about educating others, including how to present your information in a clear way and how to form good connections with your students.

Get the Necessary Skills

Many online schools now use Blackboard, which is a type of online learning platform. Both students and professors can log into the platform, post questions and answers on the discussion boards, download and upload reading materials and assignments and take or grade quizzes. In addition to knowing how to use that system, you’ll also need strong computer skills to email your students, grade and give them back tests and assignments and find new reading materials that you can link back to for your students.

Obtain a Teaching License

Students looking to become an online educator often don’t realize that they also need a teaching license. Though college professors usually don’t need a license, those teaching elementary, middle or high school students need a license. The steps to obtain that license vary from state to state, but you generally need an undergraduate degree and some teaching experience. Many students gain that experience as a student teacher in college. Most states also have a background component that requires you visit a local police station and submit to a fingerprint test. The state will generally verify your information and list your status as a license holder online within a few days.

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Online teachers work with students as young as elementary school age and as old as college age. They give students an alternative to taking classes in a more traditional school. If you want to become an online educator, you’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in education or another field and a license to teach in your state.