Online Teaching Tuesdays: What Are the Different Types of Online Teaching?

Got Wi-Fi? Online Teaching Tuesday is a series of resources for teachers who want to transfer their skills to an online classroom setting. Whether you're interested in full-time or part-time online teaching, explore this rapidly growing field with us every week!

So you want to teach online and work from home? Many people want to do this, but they have no idea where to start. I get the question all of the time, “where do I even begin to look for an online teaching job?” Most people think teaching online would be a great thing to do full time or to do on the side to supplement their incomes. They just need to know where to start looking and what to look for.

There are many different types of online teaching that can be done today. There is teaching for a college, teaching for a k-12 school and even tutoring in all kinds of different subjects. You have to meet certain criteria to teach in most of these areas. I am here to give you a background on what you need to know to pursue your dream of online teaching.

Post-Secondary Online Teaching

Many people want to teach on the college level. This is a great way to earn extra money and many colleges have online programs.

The first thing you need to do is to look at your college education. If you want to teach at the junior college level, you need a Master’s degree with 18 hours in the area in which you wish to teach. To teach at a 4-year college, you need the same thing, but most places really prefer you to have a PhD.

In addition to the junior colleges and four-year colleges, are the career colleges. These are kind of like a vocational school for high school graduates. The students have to have a diploma or GED to attend and they usually provide a diploma or an Associate’s degree in the area in which you wish to attend. Some of the programs that you might be familiar with in this area are medical billing and coding, medical assisting, paralegal, just to name a few. These colleges usually have courses that run every few weeks and so your pay is more frequent.

The best way to find these different types of schools is to do an online search. Begin with what you could teach and go from there and you will see a plethora of information available.

K-12 Online Teaching

The next area that many people are interested in is the K-12 area. These are fairly new to the online world but are beginning to pick up steam in different parts of the country. There are schools that might not be able to provide many electives due to financing and so enrolling with these online schools is the best way to meet this criterion.

Not all states have online schools, so you need to make sure you are certified in the states in which you wish to teach. For example, you might live in Wisconsin and be certified there and see that there are no online K-12 schools. You see that there are openings in other states and would like to pursue those opportunities.

The first thing you do is go to the state department of education and see what you need to do to get certified in that state. Many times it just involves paperwork and paying some fees, but in other cases, you might have to take a standardized test. Make sure that you ask all questions and get this figured out before you start applying because it can get costly in the beginning.

What if neither of the above is a good fit for me?

The last area that you can teach in is tutoring. There are numerous online tutoring programs. These range from elementary level to college. They usually don’t require a teacher certification, but they do require some sort of degree. There are even some programs that a student who is currently attending college can work in.

Most of the time you can set your own hours, but you do have set hours that you have to be online because you are essentially going to interact with the students you are tutoring. The hours can be flexible, just depending on the subject you are tutoring.

Don’t give up!

As you can see, there are tremendous opportunities in the area of online teaching. This field seems to be growing more and more each day. With its growth seems to come endless possibilities to earn a good income. Just remember when you start looking, there are numerous people looking for these jobs also, so figure out ways to make yourself stand out. Also, never give up! There are enough opportunities for everyone out there, just know that hearing “no” is not the end of the world and keep on going.

Kara Silvers has two Master's degrees in education. She has been in the education field for over 20 years and has seen tremendous changes in it. She currently teaches and tutors online and is getting involved in doing more writing. She lives in Auburn, Alabama and is the mother to a fabulous dog named London.