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Educational Requirements for Teaching Online Courses

Educational Requirements for Teaching Online Courses

18 February, 2016

Just like traditional teaching, online teaching also has some requirements to deliver effective learning.

Essential Information

Internet-based education gives students with a timely and effective way to gain their degrees. Online teachers provide many of the same duties as those who teach in classrooms, although they might not deliver lectures. These instructors use internet-based tools such as forums, social media and blogging sites to interact with students. Online teachers tend to work at the postsecondary level and therefore typically require a master’s degree in their field.

Required Education Master’s degree
Other Requirements Proficiency with internet-based technologies and teaching tools
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 19% (for postsecondary teachers)*
Average Salary (2013) $73,140 (for postsecondary teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Teacher Overview

Online teachers are educators who teach courses through online forums and other online media formats. They also correspond with students through e-mail, chat rooms or message boards. Online teachers can address different learning styles by incorporating technology, written work and other group assignments into coursework. These teachers may not have any face-to-face contact with their students because all discussions and assignments are given online.

Online courses are becoming a popular substitute to traditional courses, since it’s a more convenient way for busy professionals to advance their education. Online teachers frequently incorporate Internet activities involving blogs, social media, group activities or podcasts in their teaching.

Online teachers commonly teach at postsecondary schools, such as colleges and universities. In most cases, the teacher of an online course will also teach courses on-campus, in addition to conducting research or producing published work.

Education Requirements

In order to teach at the postsecondary level, teachers must usually hold either a master’s degree or doctoral degree in the field of study in which they wish to teach. The level of education necessary typically varies between a 2-year college and a 4-year university.

In addition to the basic requirements for teaching at the postsecondary level, these professionals need a comprehensive knowledge of Internet resources and how to use them. Like traditional teachers, online teachers must integrate engaging, active learning into their lesson plans and course material. There are educational programs that provide courses or certificates in technology-based learning for specialization in online teaching. Some skills that these courses or programs highlight for online teachers can include student group work, online assessment, copyrighted material, Internet resources and course mapping.

Online teachers should also be open to feedback from their students. Some online teachers survey their classes to find out which activities, assignments or projects work most for learning.

Occupational Outlook

Data specifically for online teachers isn’t available, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that employment of postsecondary teachers in general is expected to rise 19% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). This may be due to more faculties being needed as the number of students enrolling for higher education increases. As of 2013, the same source reported that the average salary of postsecondary teachers in non-specified fields of study was $73,140. Salaries for teachers at this level vary based on subject area. For example, postsecondary math teachers earned a median of $74,210 as of 2013, and postsecondary English teachers earned an average of $68,360, per the BLS.