Teachers are the ones who help us learn and grow as we form our ideas, values, and skills. They often have a great impact on us because they assist in determining the educational path we will continue or the career we choose to pursue. Teaching is a fulfilling and practical career; teachers are in demand and salaries are often competitive to most professions. Online teaching degree programs are available for those considering a teaching career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wages for different teachers are as follows:
- Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools: $77,240
- Junior Colleges: $65,040
- Elementary and Secondary Schools: $49,840
- Other Schools and Instruction: $43,100
- Child Day Care Services: $27,700
Those wishing to have this rewarding career will have to complete several different requirements. The first step is to fill out a teaching degree program. This level can be through either an on-campus program or an online education degree program. There are several different options available to those wishing to receive a teaching degree online. Many different schools offer certificates, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorate degrees online.
In the U.S., all public schools require teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree and a valid teaching license. Certification is also required to teach in public schools.
Associate Degree in Teaching
Although bachelor’s degrees should teach in public schools, an associate degree can provide students with the base work they need to pursue a teaching profession. Associate degrees for teaching are a good option for those who are unsure if they want to teach but would like to explore the possibility. They are also ideal for those looking to complete general education courses at a community college before transferring to a bachelor’s degree program.
An associate degree in teaching prepares students with general education courses that build a foundation for future coursework. Students are required to complete courses such as English composition, math, history, social sciences, humanities, and fine arts. After these core courses are complete, students can take elective courses in early childhood education, special education, physical education, or other specialized areas of teaching.
Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching
A bachelor’s degree is the most traditional and convenient way to transition to a career in teaching. Most bachelor degree programs cover the foundational concepts needed to teach, nurture, and maintain students (ages 5-18) in a classroom. Many programs teach the history of the education system, child psychology, and teaching methods. Depending on courses and specialization, this degree typically takes four to five years of full-time enrollment to complete.
Bachelor’s degrees vary and allow students to pick a specific teaching area. All programs include educational methods, teaching theory, and social science, but they differ in instructional content. For example, elementary education majors take courses specific to teaching young children. Courses may include a history of elementary education, lesson planning, curriculum development, classroom management, as well as the core elementary studies: social studies, math, science, and reading. Teaching majors for middle school and high school education have slightly different programs than elementary education majors. They take similar base classes, but instead of taking all of the core studies, they concentrate in one subject area like math or English.
Many bachelor’s degree programs also include certification options. While enrolled in the bachelor’s program, students complete their student teaching and take any exams required to earn a state license. While this may include additional coursework or an extra semester, this is an excellent option for students wishing to become a teacher as soon as possible.
State certifications vary by each state and may require special education. For example, some states only allow bachelor degrees to teach kindergarten through sixth grade. Before beginning a program or certification, make sure to research your state’s requirements. If enrolling in an online program, verify that the degree offered is state approved for seeking licensure.
Master’s Degree in Teaching
Most master’s programs in teaching prepare students for educating preschool through twelfth grade. A master’s degree usually takes about two years to complete and requires approximately 15 courses. Students who want to obtain a master’s degree must have an accredited bachelor’s degree and experience working with children.
Master’s programs in education build upon knowledge gained in a bachelor’s program and focus on learning theory, a psychology of instructional approaches, and specialization courses. Curriculum heavily concentrates on an area within teaching, like a particular grade level and specific course of study. For example, a student who wants to specialize in elementary education would choose a focus, such as literacy, and would take classes in childhood development, language acquisition, and reading curriculum design.
In addition to courses, master’s degree students are required to have teaching experiences while enrolled. This experience refers to as teaching practicums which can account for up to 50% of the work within the master’s program. Teachers get a hand on experience teaching in real-world classrooms. Master’s students get the opportunity to use techniques they have learned in class and develop their teaching skills. Student teachers begin by observing experienced teachers and their classroom conduct. Later on, student teachers instruct courses and are observed by experienced teachers for feedback.
A master’s degree in teaching usually meets all requirements for students to become state certified to teach in public and private preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, and secondary institutions. Programs are also available to teachers who are already certified but want to continue their education to be eligible for post-secondary teaching opportunities.
Doctoral Degrees in Teaching
Those wishing to pursue a career in academic leadership or professorship need to receive a doctoral degree in education. To be accepted to a doctoral degree program, an applicant needs to have an undergraduate degree or master’s degree, teaching credentials, and GRE scores. Doctoral programs can take three to five years to complete and require up to 90 credit hours of study.
There are two different degrees available to students that want to study teaching at this level: a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Education (EdD). PhDs are more suited for those interested in curriculum design and research while an EdD is better suited for those who wish to work as school administrators or staff members.
Doctoral degree programs typically include courses in literacy education, instructional styles, and research methodology. Students are required to design and complete a research project and write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing. Online EdD students may be offered a fellowship at a traditional university to conduct and complete their research.
Certificates in Teaching and State Licensing
There are two popular types of certificates in teaching: graduate teaching certificates and post-baccalaureate certificates. Graduate teaching certificates are used to fulfill state requirements for the teacher licensing exam that is necessary to become a certified educator. Post-baccalaureate teaching certification allows teachers to instruct kindergarten through twelfth grade in both private and public schools. Most post-baccalaureate certification programs require undergraduate courses in math, communications, reading, and critical thinking, as well as Praxis I exam scores.
These programs take a year or two on average to complete and include 10 to 20 courses and teaching practicums. Teaching certificate curriculum is designed to cover state standards for teaching in public school. Specific coursework depends on your specialization or teaching area. Most programs, regardless of teaching area, require students to take common core classes. These courses include childhood literacy, a context of education, educational technology, instruction skills, student evaluation, and teaching mathematics. All online teacher certification programs require on-site, supervised teaching practicums in a real school setting.
Licensing varies depending on the state; however, there are certain core requirements for programs across the country. All states require the following:
- Proof of a 4-year degree from an accredited institution
- Student teaching experience
- Test scores from a general knowledge teaching certification exam, professional education teacher certification exam, and a content-specific test for the grade or subject the student wants to teach
- Background check
Teachers can also receive a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification (NBPTS). NBPTS certification does not replace state licensing but does complement it. This certification requires applicants to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a valid teaching license, and three years of teaching experience. Certification is known for being rigorous and is a voluntary assessment program with a peer-review process.
Many schools offer different teaching degrees online. Without further ado…
Here are the Schools Offering the
Best Online Teaching Degrees in 2017
Kaplan offers a variety of online graduate and undergraduate programs in education. The School of Education at Kaplan has created programs that are innovative and help prepare students for teaching kindergarten to college. A few programs they offer include:
- Master of Arts in Teaching-Iowa Certification
- Master of Arts in Teaching–Nationwide (not Iowa)
- Master of Science in Education
- Master of Science in Educational Psychology
- Master of Science in Higher Education
- Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology
- Single courses for certification
Walden University has created online courses to provide an engaging learning experience for working professionals for more than 45 years. They offer many bachelors, master’s, doctoral, and certification programs for those wanting to pursue a career in education. Some of the programs available at Walden include:
- Specialization in Special Education (K-Age 21)
- BS in Child Development
- MAT in Teaching
- MS in Early Childhood Studies
- MS in Education
- MS in Higher Education
- MS in Instructional Design and Technology
- Doctor of Education (EdD)
- Ph.D. in Education
- Education Specialist (EdS)
University of Massachusetts Online
The University of Massachusetts (UMass) has provided online education since 1995 and has one of the largest public university online programs in the country. UMass currently offers 20 different degree and certificate programs for teaching. A few of these degrees include:
- BA in Children’s Learning and Development Concentrations
- Educational Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction: Education of Diverse Populations
- Master of Education
- Master’s Degree in Educational Administration
Capella University has designed programs that fit into busy schedules. They have offered innovative courses since 1993. Programs at Capella help teachers integrate instructional technology into their classrooms, deepen their expertise, create effective learning environments, and master current and effective practices to improve student achievement. Capella offers an extensive variety of master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and education certificates. A few programs available at Capella include:
- MS in Adult Education
- MS in Early Childhood Education
- MS in English Language Learning and Teaching
- MS in K-12 Studies in Education
- MS in Special Education Teaching
- MS in General Educational Technology
- Grad Certificate in Education Leadership and Administration
- Grad Certificate in College Teaching
- Grad Certificate in Educational Leadership and Management
- Grad Certificate in Research
- Ph.D. in Postsecondary and Adult Education
- Ph.D. in Nursing Education
- Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction
- Ph.D. in K-12 Studies in Educational
- EdD in Reading and Literacy – EdD
- EdD in Teacher Leader in Digital Transformation
- EdD in Leadership in Educational Administration
- Eds in Teacher Leader in K-12 Studies
Other well-known online teaching programs include:
- Western Governors University
- Xavier University
- Liberty University Online
- The University of Nebraska at Kearney
- Concordia University
- Drexel University Online
- Rasmussen College
- Arizona State University
- Northcentral University